From time to time I am asked why there aren’t more celebrities associated with WLT. My answer is that the Trust really only wants to be associated with people who are famous for having done something relevant – i.e. demonstrated a real commitment to conservation and the environment.
People such as Steve Backshall, Chris Packham, Bill Oddie and David Attenborough, who have all put their head above the parapet in giving their views and sharing their beliefs. Those are the people that WLT encourages to get involved in what we do.
Sometimes people ask me why we haven’t gone for any sort of Royal patronage. Again, this is a conscious decision. WLT is a relatively small organisation and key members of the Royal family are usually aligned to a much bigger one, which would dilute impact. Some Royals are also controversial in their attitudes to hunting and field sports and being involved in such a controversy would simple be a waste of time and effort.
In years gone by I have taken a few celebrities to our projects areas when I’ve been persuaded that this will raise both funds (from them) and profile for the organisation. My experience has been that such celebrities wax lyrical about the value of the project and feign shock horror at the devastation of the environment and its wildlife, but once home more often than not it is forgotten.
To be really cynical I believe that many celebs get more benefit from their association with a Charity, than the Charity does from their association. However, the support we have from well-known conservationists, who often lend their support in the form of speaking at events as well as directly supporting appeals, does make a huge difference.
I wonder what our supporters think? Would you like to see us associated with more celebrities?