FUNDING IS POWER...
I’d like to raise the topic of ‘money’ and ‘funding’ and ‘working for free’ versus ‘being paid’. It’s a contentious issue, when it shouldn’t be, so I wanted to share my thoughts on it…
WHAT IS ‘WORKING FOR FREE’?
Firstly, even though I too use the words ‘working for free’ or ‘put in time for free’ as a way to best explain the actions of anyone who has not received a MONETARY reward for their actions, really, there is NO SUCH THING really as doing anything ‘for free’…. There is always a payment, of some sort…
In my case, the payment of all of the time that I have invested in UKWT thus far is every wild life that I have helped get to a potential second chance (or just an end of being in pain). I found great fulfilment in every case, even the very upsetting ones where at least I helped to end suffering, and I loved connecting and getting to work with other wildlife loving people. I love the community that UKWT makes up, of wildlife loving Drivers and other Volunteers. I have found great reward and contentment in the celebrations when a baby creature (for example) survived to be rehabbed and released, just because we got it to an incredible Rehabber in time.
So, what about having a ‘monetary reward’?
WHAT IS MONEY?
Let’s look at what this actually IS for a minute… Money is just a tool that we humans have created to help us to invest in the lives that we want to live and to invest in what’s important to us.
What is important to me is a fair world and a fair chance. That is what I am fundraising for, now, stepping UKWT up a gear: a chance for every wild life to get a helping human hand, as and when required.
The more money UKWT has, the more we can help. It’s that simple. (It is then our responsibility to use it well & carefully, to help the most number of animals)...
I think that every Wildlife Rescue and Rehabber (and every other possible wildlife professional) should be paid for their time, as and when possible. I think that they should be paid a fair wage to live comfortably on (not wondering whether they need to prioritise paying a water bill over an electric bill, for example). What does this lifestyle offer a Rehabber, for example? It offers them the opportunity to focus fully on the wildlife that come into their care, with the energy and focus that comes from enough sleep and good food. As an empowered human, they can offer even better care. Our wildlife deserve the greatest level of care.
As I said in a comment to someone yesterday: “All that money does is enable more people to help more animals. Money is a powerful tool when put behind loving efforts. Getting paid doesn’t mean that you stop caring. It means we can help more.”
WHY DO WE DEMONISE MONEY?
As a UK society, we have a tendency to demonise money. If you want money you are ‘greedy’ or you ‘don’t care enough to do it for free’. This is nonsense. Why we want money and what we do with it is just a reflection of what is important to us. As I have said, what is important to me is every life in our planet having a wild, free, fair chance. That is what I actively invest all of my own money into. I have even chosen to fund UKWT’S website and phone lines over food for myself sometimes, not because I am a ‘good person’ but because it was UKWT, at that moment, that was more important to me. I am highly motivated by enabling the well being of all of us and so that is what I use money for. ‘Money’ itself is a blank, neutral ‘force’. Funding is power: and in the case of UKWT, it’s the power to reeeeaaaally be of service to help wildlife.
Since I announced that I am fundraising for our first wave of staff I have had 2 types of response… One type is when I have been accused of not caring enough about wildlife to do it for free (this accusation has also often been linked with how I am diverting money away from other more important causes who need it more than UKWT). The second type of response is from people who recognise that money is power and that, in fundraising for staff, ALL that I am doing is setting ourselves up to help more wildlife.
AN IMPORTANT STORY…
Here’s a bit of a story for you…. I have an acquaintance who set up a mental well being charity about 8 years ago. He didn’t do a bit of work without getting paid first. His first priority was bringing in the funding to ensure that they had funding for at least a few years to pay for premises (to offer the services) and to pay himself and whatever staff were needed to meet the demand that he anticipated.
At the time, I remember being surprised. I remember wondering why he did all of that in advance instead of offering a single bit of ‘help’ to a human being first.
Now I understand that he was just way ahead of me in knowing what was needed to be a reliable, professional set up.
He made sure that he had what he needed to pay his rent and bills and that he was able to hire the right people, with the right skill sets, to really help those in need. He made sure that his organisation was always able to be relied upon by everyone who grew to use it and attend sessions regularly. He has never closed the doors due to lack of funding and he has never withdrawn a service that local people became used to receiving, just because of lack of funding.
COMPARE THAT STORY TO UKWT…
Compare that to me and UKWT. I ticked all of the boxes of being a ‘nice person’ by ‘running on a shoe string’ but what did I really do? I got UKWT up to a point where we were so in demand that we collapsed under the many calls for help. I got Rescues and Vet Practices used to relying on our service for 2 years before suddenly withdrawing it, because we had no funding to cope with the increased demand.
We have been treading water for 8 months now, while I learn what my acquaintance seemed to understand all along, that funding is power and money - when used lovingly - can empower our planet and ourselves and all planetary lives on a massive level.
So that is what I am doing now. I am fundraising for UKWT to be the reliable, professional organisation that it needs to be, to help up to 1,000,000 wild lives consistently by 2028 (See HERE for info on how we can do that). That’s my goal. And our service will be extremely high welfare and efficient, because we will have the staff to make it so. And what do these staff represent? They represent human beings who love wildlife and who have bills to pay and their own lives to lead, so I am enabling them to live their lives while dedicating their working hours to giving a second chance to furry, feathery, scaly, spiky lives.
My funding plans are not whimsical or a flash in the pan: https://www.ukwildlifetransporters.org/wildlife-care-effort
My plans are extremely well thought out AND I have ongoing funding plans so that UKWT not only never has to close again but so that we can grow and be of even greater service.
It is my opinion that in fundraising for staff, I am proving how much I care BY stepping up into an even greater commitment for our wildlife.
There’s that phrase, “Money flows where attention goes.” Well, our UK wildlife are my focus and I think that we, as a nation, need to start investing a lot more money in caring for them.
I keep hearing the words, “our Wildlife Rescues are on their knees.” Yes, a lot of them are. Why? Because it is normal for us, as a society, not to properly fund them and to take the efforts of incredibly caring, skilled wildlife professionals for granted.
If you love wildlife, fund your nearest Wildlife Rescue. When we humans - any of us - struggle (when we are under appreciated and under supported) we are unable to be of proper service to anyone else. I think that we need to stop this ethos that people only really care if they are not receiving a monetary wage. People can actually REALLY care when they have the support, energy, focus and resources to do so. Our wildlife deserve for us to REALLY care about them. It’s that simple.
If any of this post has resonated and you would like to support us, here is how: https://www.ukwildlifetransporters.org/2023-fundraiser