The Association of Retired Fish and Wildlife Service Employees is soliciting proposals for projects that align with both the Association’s and the FWS’s conservation goals. They are currently seeking to award four grants in the range of $10,000 for direct project expenses. Ideally Friends proposals should be for a project supported by a partnership between Friends and the Service. Awarded funds will be donated directly to a Service account. Click here for detailed information.
This is the third and final blog on what we learned from our recent survey about webinar topics. Thank you to the 88 people who responded to the survey and for all your thoughtful comments. CORFA is all about Friends helping Friends so if you see a topic listed that you or your Friends group has some experience and expertise with, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org, we’d love your help.
The graphic above depicts some of the most common topics that Friends mentioned in the tell us more section of the survey. These topics are listed in order of the number of times they were mentioned. What we hear is the Friends are looking for information on:
- Fundraising with specific requests for training on capital campaigns and bequests as well as virtual fundraising.
- Board and Volunteer recruitment along with community outreach. The survey tells us that we have work to do to build the boards and organizations that represent our communities and reach out to all members of those communities and welcome them to our refuges/hatcheries.
- Strengthening partnerships with the refuge was mentioned several times. One goal of our webinars is to provide opportunities to learn more about our partners’ program, don’t forget there are other resources as well. The FWS Friends Mentoring program is targeted at strengthening partnerships. The next round of applications for Mentoring is expected right after Labor Day and we will be doing a webinar on mentoring and the application process closer to that date.
- Finance, earlier this year two webinars were presented. You can access the recordings of those and all the webinars we’ve presented in the Resource Center tab on this website.
- Stores, online stores, and inventory were also mentioned. Are you aware that CORFA has a Facebook group for retail that is very responsive to questions. We have also talked about starting some informal discussion groups one of which could center around topics related to stores. We’re looking for volunteers to help with this effort.
- Collaboration with other Friends groups, we don’t get together often enough at the regional or national level. We are cooking up some ideas for Friends gatherings—probably virtual for now.
- And finally what time of day should the webinars be offered? People who work during the day are not able to attend live. We are at a loss as to when we could present the webinars so that everyone who wants to participate live, can do that. Our refuge and hatcheries Friends groups span 9 time zones and the International Dateline. If you have suggestions, let us know.
While we try to provide a wide range of training specific to Friends groups, again, we are not the only resource. Someone asked for training on wildlife and environment. Someone else was concerned about hunting on refuges. That is not in our wheelhouse but there are many workshops and trainings available through FWS’s National Conservation Training Center, most of which can be paid for by FWS scholarships. Talk to your Regional Friends Coordinator about training in the topics you are interested in.
We are searching for Friends groups with expertise in all of these topics. If you are interested in sharing your experiences and expertise please contact us at email@example.com.
You gave us so much valuable information and we are trying to make good use of it to provide you with the training you want and need. Thank you!
Thank you to all the Friends and Service members who attended the webinar, Engaging Local Communities. Below is the link to the recording.
We would like to thank the amazing and knowledgeable presenters Angelina Yost, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Coordinator for the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program, and Angie Horn National Wildlife Refuge Association, SoCal Regional Refuge Partnership Specialist.
Roles of Respondents
We asked respondents to give us a little bit of information about their Friends group and their role within the group. We realize that many of you play a lot of different roles in your group, so we tried to let everyone give us as much information as you wanted to about that. Over one third of our respondents identified as Board Members, although many of them also selected other ways that they are active with Friends.
Over half of respondents serve on boards with 6 to 10 members with the rest on boards that were bigger or smaller than that.
Size of Membership
Almost a third of our respondents were from Friends groups with over 200 members and over a quarter were from groups with 101-200 members but well over a third of our survey-takers are in groups with fewer than 100 members or don’t have memberships for their group.
Age of Friends Organization
Thirty-seven respondents came from groups that have been in existence more than 20 years while 10 came from groups less than 5 years old. We really love that diversity!
What else should we have asked about the people taking the survey and the Friends group(s) they are affiliated with? I wonder if we had respondents from any Fish Hatchery Friends groups. Were their survey-participants from community partners or groups that don’t have a Partnership Agreement with a refuge? How about people in groups that support programs like Friends of Duck Stamps or Friends of NCTC? There are so many ways that you all support the refuge and fisheries system, and we all know that no two Friends groups are alike. The more we learn about each other, the more support we can provide in making sure that each Friends group is strong, resilient, and accomplishing everything they can to support our fragile environment.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like it when I take part in a survey and then never hear anything about the survey results. So, for the 88 of you who generously gave your time to provide us with answers to our questions and for those of you who didn’t but would like to know what the respondents told us, here you go with the results of our recent Friends Webinar Survey.
I’m going for the focus of the survey first, specifically, what webinar topics seemed to be of most interest to the respondents of our survey. Look for information from other parts of the survey in coming blog posts.
We provided 11 general subjects that we thought might be of interest to Friends and asked them to rate their interest in each topic as High, Medium, Low, or No interest. Here’s what you told us:
The winning topic in both “High” plus “Medium” interest and with the most “High” interest votes was OUTREACH & COMMUNICATIONS. We need to dig deeper now and find out exactly what kinds of things you are interested in but be sure to check out our Webinar on June 9 at 2:00 Eastern, with Angie Horn the NWRA Southern California Regional Refuge Partnership Specialist and Angelina Yost, The FWS Urban Programs Coordinator. They will be telling us about successful ways of building community partnerships, no matter where your refuge is located. To register click here.
No surprise that the second most “High” plus “Medium” interest votes was FUNDRAISING, followed closely by GRANTS. We have one fundraising webinar planned for the near future and will continue to seek presenters and subjects related to these two high-demand topics for additional presentations in the future.
The last topic we will highlight was GOVERNANCE & LEADERSHIP. Again, this is such a broad topic that we will be looking for some guidance from you as to what aspects of governance and leadership you would like more information about.
A couple of the remaining topics are areas that we have already provided webinars on, specifically, ADVOCACY & LOBBYING and FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT.
The remaining topics were Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI), Organizational Planning, Technology, Volunteer Management, and Sales/Retail. While these topics did not receive as many “High” or “Medium” interest votes as the ones mentioned above, none of the suggested topics received fewer than 54% “High”/”Medium” votes. It looks like we have our work cut out for us. If you have ideas for a webinar in one of the categories listed or know of a Friends member/supporter who might be a good presenter on one of these topics, please reach out to Cheryl Hart or Joan Patterson. Thanks for your hel