by Natalie Richárd
The International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC) couldn’t exist without fundraising or the support of the host city. This year, IMCC4 will be hosted in St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada, which is a special place indeed; friendly, caring and genuinely supportive. When I recently moved here this past fall to attend Memorial University, I was welcomed with open arms and I believe the open arm welcome pertains to IMCC as well. One of my jobs as Fundraising Chair is to bring attention to the cause and the first step to action is awareness. Through a collaborative effort from the Fundraising Committee I feel we have achieved awareness for our cause and many local business are not only supportive but have given graciously. We have received many contributions from the city, government, and local businesses in St. John’s.
Fundraising doesn’t end with soliciting contributions, it is about bringing awareness and a community together for support. With the use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook awareness to IMCC has been a local success. For example, VisitStJohns.ca captured one of my tweets and got involved in our cause by publishing an online call for abstracts in the science section. Although this is not a monetary contribution it was a gracious gesture for making IMCC relevant in the community.
Through the countless emails and contacts that go unanswered the only one that matters is the ‘YES’! My motto in fundraising is and will always be ‘they can only say no’ and through this motto we have successfully approached our goal. Fundraising can be difficult and frustrating, but very rewarding. When you discover a corporation, small business, or a government willing to contribute it makes all of the hard work worth it. One of our contributors told me through an email, “I have been involved in fundraising and I know how difficult it is; what can I do to help?” I believe to be a successful fundraiser there is one constant element, passion for what you believe in. The ocean is a special place and I hope through the efforts of the fundraising committee we have shared the importance of our cause.
Natalie Richárd is IMCC4 Fundraising Chair and a member of staff at Memorial University. IMCC4 continues to seeking funding support in order to help it achieve all of its impact goals. If you or your organisation would like to support IMCC please visit our sponsorship webpage or email Natalie.