How the NWTF Pays for Conservation:
FAQs on the Hunting Heritage Super Fund
by Barbara Baird
We asked several NWTF employees to help us define and describe the Super Fund. Four people who work on a daily basis with funding the NWTF mission weighed in on our questions:
- Bob Fountain, vice president of field operations
- Mark Hatfield, director of eastern conservation planning
- Joel Pedersen, director of western conservation planning
- Scott Vance, assistant vice president for conservation
Q: What is the Super Fund?
A: The Hunting Heritage Super Fund, aka Super Fund, is only one source of funding the NWTF uses to deliver its mission — “dedicated to the conservation of the wild turkey and the preservation of the hunting tradition.” Historically, banquets served as the primary source of conservation and hunting heritage delivery, but today, with successful partnerships and money received from grants and foundations, they play a lesser role.
The Super Fund is derived from states’ splits of revenue from banquets. Those funds are 20 percent of all net revenue, including membership, and are deposited into an account at NWTF headquarters only accessible by the submission of an approved request signed by the state president with the approval of the state boards.
Q: What is the history of the Super Fund?
A: The NWTF established the Super Fund in 1985 to support wild turkey restoration management and other NWTF projects. The Super Fund pools money generated by NWTF chapters, primarily through fundraising banquets, to deliver the most important conservation and hunting heritage work in each state. Since 1985, more than $372 million has been raised by chapters and cooperators and spent on projects to support the organization’s mission.
Q: Who oversees the management of the Super Fund?
A: Each state or provincial chapter, state or provincial wildlife agency and the NWTF administer this account jointly. This policy gives chapters the ability to generate funds in support of the NWTF mission with the assurance they will also have a major role in spending the money on quality wild turkey projects in their area. The accounting and daily administration is handled by the staff at the Wild Turkey Center in Edgefield, S.C., and is designed to ensure accountability and maintain consistent management of the Super Fund.
Q: How has NWTF fundraising changed over the years?
A: As mentioned earlier, the Hunting Heritage Super Fund and small, restricted donations for projects in a state used to be the primary funding for us to deliver our mission. In the last decade, we have been very successful in diversifying our funding sources. Now, much of our conservation delivery comes from contracts and agreements with the state wildlife agencies, USDA Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. Grants from charitable organizations and foundations also make up a large portion of our conservation funding.
Q: Have there any other changes that affect fundraising?
A: In the early days, we saw limited opportunities to identify, target and successfully solicit grants. We gathered some grants, but not to the level we do now, or have the potential to do in the future. Between 2003 and 2007, we had very few regional biologists and our regional directors focused on chapters and banquets. We made a monumental step toward improving our abilities to secure grants with the decision to expand our staff of biologists. Had we made this decision in the 1980s or 1990s, we would surely be well ahead of where we are today.
Q: How does this organization make the most of fundraising opportunities?
A: The NWTF has a great track record of matching the funding raised with outside dollars. We have a better than 3:1 partner-dollar to NWTF-dollar match ratio. In some projects, this ratio exceeds 20:1. If we tell a partner, or a funding source, that we can do something, we exceed expectations.
Q: What are some of the benefits of partnering with the NWTF?
A: Companies in the outdoors product business or that have a concern for protection of habitat and green spaces are critical to our conservation mission. We have a proven record of conservation/habitat sustainment and improvement and, with the support of more partners, we can leverage our position to maximize our impact on the wild places.
Q: What’s in the future? Are there new money streams somewhere?
A: Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. This new initiative will focus NWTF efforts and better allow us to leverage partner dollars. We believe it will also attract new funding sources that want to be associated with the NWTF because of our larger conservation footprint and emphasis on creating new hunters.
Learn more about the NWTF Hunting Heritage Super Fund at www.nwtf.org.