A few weeks ago I wrote about the concerns that some conservationists have that NGOs are not critical enough of each other. Well, here goes…
I recently came across a crowd funding website (Indiegogo) that lists a project to reintroduce a type of wild water buffalo that lived in Europe after the last Ice Age.
According to the Wild European Water Buffalo page on the Indiegogo site, a Dutch organisation plans to crossbreed Wild Asiatic Water Buffalo with a European primitive 'domestic' Water Buffalo. The offspring of the crossbreeding will be de-domesticated and used in rewilding projects throughout Europe.
Now I haven’t had any contact with the people involved, so I am not familiar with the project. But my first impression of the campaign web page was entirely negative. To start with, a range of ‘free’ gifts are on offer according to the level of donation (“perks” for donations are a feature of the Indiegogo site), but as everyone knows, there is no such thing as a free lunch, so why offer gifts?
When I tried to find a link from the campaign page to the organisation behind it, Megafauna Foundation, I was unable to do so.
I found Megafauna Foundation’s website, and one thing conspicuously absent was any information about its funding and any annual reports.
Poor fundraising and lack of links to the organisation behind it, and no financial transparency: on the basis of what is on the internet, I am prepared to criticise this particular NGO.
It is perfectly possible (likely, even) that the people behind the project are not only well intentioned, but also very capable and sincere. But if that is the case, they certainly need to improve their web presence.
A Dutch colleague tells me that the people behind the foundation are scientists (and ‘ok’), and agrees that they have no idea about communication or fundraising. My Dutch colleague supports the views I have expressed here. I wonder what Mark Avery would say?