Traditionally, August is a time for members of Congress to head home and work in their district or state. This year because of the need for a fifth coronavirus relief package, those plans are in turmoil.
When your legislators are in the district or state, it is a perfect time to get them out to your refuge or hatchery to thank them for the recent passage of the Great American Outdoors Act. The Act boosts funding to reduce the maintenance backlogs on public lands and fully funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The Land and Water Conservation Fund is a tool to conserve landscapes and invest in parks and outdoor recreation.
If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to discuss with your board and Service staff about inviting your members of Congress to your site. It’s an opportunity for you to show them why you give your time to your refuge/hatchery and why it is an asset to your community.
If you have never requested a meeting with your members of Congress then check out the advocacy webinars created by the National Wildlife Refuge Association and Coalition of Refuge Friends.
The second webinar in the advocacy series addresses how to make and prepare for a meeting with legislators. Friends, check out the weinar and if you have questions or need advice let us know.
Prior to COVID-19 had you ever attended a virtual fundraising event? I hadn’t. When the Nonprofit Association of Oregon offered a webinar on how the Dougy Center transitioned their largest in-person fundraising event to a virtual event, I registered.
My family became aware of the Dougy Center when we lived in Oregon. They provide support for children and young adults dealing with grief. A fantastic organization that has loads of community support. For 23 years one sponsor has made the raffle of a Porsche Boxster possible.
Taking that raffle online required navigating bumps in the road.
To buy a raffle ticket online, the purchaser had to check a box verifying that they were in the state of Oregon. Why?
Raffles are gambling. A raffle involves pay-to-play, a prize, and a random drawing. Gambling is illegal, however most states and localities allow nonprofits, 501(c)(3), to conduct raffles for fundraising purposes. The rules governing raffles are determined by the state and locality where the nonprofit is located.
Usually it is only legal to sell raffle tickets in the state the nonprofit is located in. So even though the Dougy Center is just across the Columbia River from Washington state, it is not legal to sell tickets in Washington. Selling tickets online can be problematic and some states ban it. Many nonprofits avoid it or do as the Dougy Center did and require the purchaser to verify that they are physically located in the same state as the nonprofit.
If you are considering holding a raffle and want to avoid the bumps in the road then here are some things to consider:
Raffle are not allowed on Service-managed property (633 FW4)
Adhere to the local and state laws
Acquire the necessary permits
Follow the IRS regulations on Charitable Gaming
Ensure proper records are kept
File appropriate taxes that might include: excise, UBIT, and withholding
Ensure proceeds are used according to state regulations
Understanding the rules your nonprofit has to operate within will make your raffle successful. For us, we’ll have to take a trip to Oregon to purchase a raffle ticket for the Porsche Boxster.
Buying a Federal Duck Stamp (Stamp) is one of the most effective ways you can conserve wildlife. Approximately 98% of the $25 Stamp directly funds land acquisition and easements that provide critical habitat for wildlife. These lands are part of the National Wildlife Refuge System and you can access many of them!
At the turn of the 20th century, America’s wildlife was under immediate threats. Market shooting to supply restaurants; bounty hunting and unregulated sport hunting; and feather-collecting for the fashion industry contributed to the loss of millions of birds and other wildlife. Additionally, millions of acres of wetlands were drained for agriculture and development, greatly reducing waterfowl nesting habitat
By the 1930s, America had entered the Great Depression and many in the Great Plains regions suffered the added economic and ecological effects of the Dust Bowl. During this time President Herbert Hoover signed the Migratory Bird Conservation Act in 1929 to authorize the acquisition and preservation of wetlands as waterfowl habitat. Unfortunately, the law did not provide a permanent funding source to purchase and preserve these wetlands. In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act (or “Duck Stamp Act”), which did!
The Duck Stamp Act requires anyone 16 or older to purchase a Stamp for waterfowl hunting. But you don’t have to be a waterfowl hunter to purchase a Federal Duck Stamp! If you care about wildlife and habitats they depend on, help conserve these critical lands by purchasing a Federal Duck Stamp!
Artists and stamp collectors are important stakeholders of the Stamp. In 1949, the first Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest was held. Today, 71 years later, the tradition of hosting a government-sponsored nationwide contest continues. In 1989, Junior Duck Stamp Program was initiated to encourage education and participation for students Kindergarten through 12th-grade nationwide! Junior Duck Stamps are available for purchase for $5.
In addition to serving as a license for waterfowl hunting, benefits for conservation, appeal to collectors and an opportunity for competing artists, the current Federal Duck Stamp also grants you free entrance into any National Wildlife Refuge that charges an entry fee!
Federal Duck Stamps are available online, in post offices, and in many sporting goods and large-scale retail stores that sell hunting and fishing licenses and equipment. Check your local refuge to see if they sell Federal Duck Stamps, as well. The Stamp is also available from Amplex Corporation, and if you are interested in selling Federal Duck Stamps, they are the organization to contact.
The Migratory Bird Conservation Fund announced that the 2020-2021 Federal and Junior Duck Stamps will be available for purchase on Friday, June 26. These Stamps will feature the winning artwork of Eddie LeRoy of Eufaula, Alabama, and 13-year-old Madison Grimm of South Dakota, winners of the 2020 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest and 2020 Junior Duck Stamp Contest, respectively. This year’s First Day of Sale ceremony planned for Spanish Fort, AL have been canceled.
Please be a part of this American tradition, and more importantly, be a part in conserving America’s future by purchasing a 2020-2021 Federal Duck Stamp.
The Link is a quarterly newsletter produced in coordination between the National Wildlife Refuge Association and Coalition of Refuge Friends & Advocates.
Letter from Caroline Brouwer, VP of Government Affairs, NWRA:
As COVID-19 continues to restrict normal warm-season activities, we know that Friends organizations across the country are redirecting their energy to find new ways to support their refuges and fish hatcheries. Spring events have gone virtual, nature store managers are trying online sales for the first time, and boards and volunteers are using Zoom and other online tools to connect, plan, and complete work safely “from a distance.”
Here at the Refuge Association, we want to invite Friends who can’t pursue their usual on-site volunteer activities to direct efforts to advocacy—whether this be by contacting their legislators about issues affecting the Refuge System or by taking time to develop their advocacy knowledge and skills. With this in mind, we will be offering a summer webinar series about communicating with Congress members, focused on their district and state offices. We’re also planning quarterly calls to keep you up to date on important issues here in DC. Our first call will be in September. And of course, our Action Alerts and letter “sign-on” requests will continue when your virtual voices are needed to support actions that will fund and protect refuges.
We hope you’ll enjoy this issue, which focuses on examples of Friends who have been making the best of these pandemic days to continue their work in creative ways.
The National Wildlife Refuge Association (NWRA) and Coalition of Refuge Friends and Advocates (CORFA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), to formalize our long-standing partnership. The MOU outlines plans to work together to provide Friends organizations with information and materials they seek to strengthen and enhance the effectiveness of their organizations. So what does this mean – we will work together and with you to gather information to help Friends continue to be successful. We’ll work on creating an updated resource center, webinars, a quarterly Friends newsletter, and share information from and for Friends. NWRA is providing its expertise and assisting with the financing of this effort and CORFA is providing their experience and volunteer labor. We are doing this because we believe Friends bring an unmatched level of knowledge, skills, and dedication to the National Wildlife Refuge System, and together we make a formidable team. To support this effort please consider a donation to NWRA and let CORFA know what materials, information, discussions, etc. will help you and your organization.