The Link — Fall 2020 Newsletter

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 you are reading this, refuge staff are wrapping up their work under the current fiscal year (FY 2020) and beginning to implement their plans for this next year of work (FY 2021). Most visitor centers remain closed due to COVID-19, yet visitors are flocking to refuges to recreate, bird watch, hunt waterfowl, and get outside. Last year, over 59 million people visited wildlife refuges, and I’m sure that number is up dramatically due to the lockdowns.

Here in Washington, DC, Congress will be in recess the entire month of October to campaign in their states and districts before the election on November 3. Not only is this year a presidential election, but all members of Congress are on the ballot and 33 Senators are up for re-election. Please remember to get out and vote either by absentee/mail-in ballot or in person!

This year has seen some enormous successes for wildlife refuges. With your help, and the help of many partners, we got the Great American Outdoors Act passed. This act provides full and dedicated funding for land acquisition through the Land and Water Conservation Fund plus Refuge System backlog funding of $475 million over 5 years. This bill is one of the greatest conservation accomplishments in many years, and we appreciate all your help in getting it across the finish line!

Refuge Friends continue to be a critical part of the work we do. Last year, 56 Friends groups donated to the Refuge Association. As you know, a nonprofit is constantly fundraising, so we appreciate your support! We held our first quarterly Friends call on September 16 and are planning our second call in December 2020. Stayed tuned for a date and time! In February, we will be asking Friends groups to submit testimony to Congress on the state of their refuge—we need all of your voices to be heard!

I hope everyone is enjoying the fall weather!


Articles in the fall edition of The Link*

A Budget – All Friends Should Have One
Budget—it’s not always a favorite task but is one that Friends boards are responsible to undertake on a regular basis. Creating a budget and regularly reviewing it allows members, donors, prospects, and grant-makers to review your strategic priorities and gauge the health of your organization.

So You’ll Be Meeting with a Donor
Regardless of your Friends organization’s fiscal year-end, you will likely want to solicit donations as 2020 draws to a close. Why focus on year-end campaigns?

Creative Fundraising – Virtual and Otherwise
Successful organizations, including refuge Friends, must be nimble and able to pivot should circumstances require them to adjust to new or unexpected circumstances. We are pleased to share some ideas that are allowing Friends to continue raising funds, pay their bills, and support refuge projects as the pandemic continues.

*Articles are hosted on the NWRA website, just follow any of the article links above to access them all.

Raffling a Porsche Boxster Online: Missing the Bumps in the Road

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.

Resources for nonprofits on raffles:
National Council of Nonprofits
https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/tools-resources/games-of-chance-raffles-and-charity-auctions

Guide Through the Legal Jungle
https://www.guidethroughthelegaljungleblog.com/2013/04/why-your-non-profit-may-not-be-able-to-sell-raffle-tickets-online.html#:~:text=Raffle%20laws%20vary%20from%20state,raffle%20tickets%20across%20state%20lines

Fundraiser Help
https://www.fundraiserhelp.com/?s=raffle+rules

NWRA Fundraising Webinar for Friends

 

NWRA Fundraising Flyer

Click image to go to registration form.

Date: May 12 or May 14, 2020 (two sessions to choose from)
Presented by: Courtney Lewis, NWRA Director of Development

The National Wildlife Refuge Association is sponsoring a webinar exclusively for refuge Friends groups to discuss various fundraising strategies in response to the effects of COVID-19.

The topics of discussion are: Fundraising during COVID-19; Fundraising Events; Foundations, Individual Donors, and Major Donors. If time permits, we will have questions at the end.

Go to the online form to choose the date and time for the session you wish to attend. Connection information will be sent to you the day before the webinar.

“In fifty minutes, Courtney conveyed more useful, practical information on effective fundraising than I’ve heard in sessions many times that long.”  —Mike Baldwin, Ding Darling Wildlife Society