Habitat & Conservation  |  08/23/2022

Finding the Silver Lining

Staff Photo // Alberta Environment and Parks Minister Jason Nixon (far left) and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney (far right) congratulate Gold Patron donors Stan Grad and Neil MacKenzie at the Pheasants Forever Canada Director’s Invitational Sporting Clays Shoot.

Rather than lie down, the board stepped up, helped in large measure by the Call of the Uplands® campaign

By Ken Bailey, Pheasants Forever Canada Board of Directors

The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted life for all of us, including the Calgary Chapter of Pheasants Forever Canada. Government restrictions on how and where people could gather imposed what could have been a crippling blow: The annual gala event that generated the bulk of the chapter’s annual operating revenue had to be cancelled. Without the income generated by their dinner, the chapter board, like all PF chapters, was looking at some difficult decisions about what programs and projects they’d be able to deliver.

Pick your favorite expression, but let’s go with, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Rather than lie down, the board stepped up, helped in large measure by the Call of the Uplands® campaign.

“The prospect of launching a campaign during a pandemic was scary, but in hindsight it turned out to be the best thing we could have done,” says Perry McCormick, chapter executive director. “Recognizing that we could find ourselves with financial challenges, our supporters responded to the call, in part because of the campaign objectives and in part because, without the gala, they were seeking a way to stay connected.”

Thus far eight Gold Patrons have come on board, and 22 supporters at the Patron level. “Beyond the obvious benefits of the funds we generated,” says McCormick, “there have been some positive unintended consequences from engaging in the campaign. It forced us to pivot from event-generated revenue towards securing individual large gifts. As a result we’ve become much more mature fundraisers. Diversifying our revenue streams will help us down the road.”

The Calgary chapter didn’t stop with the Call of the Uplands campaign when it came to replacing the income they’d normally have generated at the gala. They became much more active in sourcing and securing grants, they sponsored a casino night, they hosted online auctions and raffles, and they expanded their shooting program by adding a new sporting clays event to their schedule.

“Knowing we needed them, our supporters responded,” McCormick says, “and that’s testament to the passion they have for pheasants, pheasant habitat, and our chapter’s ability to conserve and grow what’s important to them.”

In what could have been their poorest financial year in recent memory, the Calgary chapter of Pheasants Forever Canada generated more revenue for upland bird habitat programs than they have in any other single year. Silver linings do exist.

Ken Bailey is on the Pheasants Forever Board of Directors in Canada

This story originally appeared in the 2022 Summer Issue of the Pheasants Forever Journal. If you enjoyed it and would like to be the first to read more great upland content like this, become a member today!