As we wrap up a year of in-person fundraising unprecedented in its challenges, I want to first say thank you to our volunteers, members, donors, and staff for staying strong and resilient throughout 2020.
Field operations spent the first ten weeks of 2020 setting records at nearly every event. We appeared to be on course for another record fundraising year. Then came the weekend of March 14th and the lockdowns from Covid-19.
We scrambled to find a way to mitigate the shortfall in revenue due to the restrictions on in-person gatherings. Early on, we found out what this team is made of this year, as team members rose above the challenges. We launched local sweepstakes and online auctions to augment our fundraising activity. Most important, and paramount to this year’s success, were the continued grassroots fundraising efforts. We sold raffle tickets, sponsorships, memberships and retained revenue from much of the pre-banquet-purchased event tickets.
Volunteer leaders and Regional Directors were working the phones day in and day out. One chairperson sold more than 50 of the $300 sponsors in just two weeks. I could give endless examples, but would hate to leave anyone out, as everyone contributed to the success.
There is no question we fell short of our original 2020 fundraising goal in Field Operations. However, as a team we set some short-term, year-end goals in July, and I can proudly say the preliminary numbers show we achieved that goal. This was accomplished through a variety of means, but most importantly, it was done on the very foundation that built this fundraising machine, with grass roots fundraising and a positive team approach.
As we put 2020 behind us and look forward to 2021, I ask each of you to help us continue the great success for elk country and the mission of RMEF. As we begin to hold a few small in person events in the spring and ramp up early summer, I challenge each of you to recruit a new volunteer to join your local volunteer team. Volunteers are essential boots on the ground, working the frontlines for conservation and hunting. It is because of your dedication and leadership that we are successful.
Now more than ever, the public needs access to the great outdoors to refresh their souls. We will continue to provide the opportunity for all outdoor enthusiasts. So I ask you to pick up from where we left off back in early March of 2020. Let’s shoot for the stars and shatter the records that were set in 2019. I have no doubt that this team can accomplish great things in 2021.
Yours in Conservation,
Chad Franklin, Managing Director of Field Operations