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December 18, 2018

Fundraising at the World Wildlife Fund

by Anne Paddock

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is a major fundraiser for environmental conservation. Based in Washington, DC, WWF, a 501 (c) (3) raised $226 million in 2017 from three sources:

  • $156 million (69% of revenue):  contributions, gifts, and non-governmental grants
  • $ 58 million (26% of revenue):  government grants
  • $12 million (5% of revenue):  investment income, investment gain, royalties, list rental, etc.

Key information related to fundraising are summarized as follows:

$34 million (15% of revenue) was spent on fundraising, with the majority of the funds used for compensation-related and office costs. Included in these numbers is the compensation to Julie Miller, the SVP of Development who received $358,544 and Christine Singer, the VP of Individual Giving who received  $289,636 in compensation.

WWF uses mail, internet, e-mail, phone, and in-person solicitations to raise revenue. In addition, solicits government and non-government entities for grants. The nine highest paid entities used for professional fundraising were reported to be:

  • $313,092:  Givebridge
  • $283,312:  M & R Strategic Services, Inc.
  • $257,444:  PMX
  • $135,000:  Gift Strategies
  • $ 34,638:  Public Interest Communications, Inc.
  • $ 22,775:  Grassroots Campaign, Inc.
  • $ 55,933:  Plenty Consulting
  • $ 44,550:  The Sharpe Group
  • $  33,100:  Open America, LLC

As illustrated above, $1,179,844 was paid to the above fundraisers, who were credited with raising $156,942.  WWF states the information above “only shows the income related to this year and not the multi-year income generated. As a result, this schedule significantly understates the income generated from the expenses shown.  Companies described above …provide advice and consulting regarding solicitation of contributions but do not engage in direct solicitations on WWF’s behalf.”

It is also important to note WWF paid 15 independent contractors more than $100,000. The five highest paid independent contractors were:

  • $8.9 million:  PMG, Inc. (direct marketing services) of Hanover, Maryland for print, product, and mail
  • $2.5 million:  Blackbaud (software company) of Atlanta, Georgia for CRM consulting
  • $0.7 million:  Public Interest Communications (calling stations) of Falls Church, Virginia for telemarketing
  • $0.6 million:  SISK Fulfillment Service, Inc. of Federalsburg, Maryland for premium management and mailing
  • $0.5 million:  Plowshare Group (media outreach) of Stamford, Connecticut for communications consulting

Several of the organizations listed above appear to be related to fundraising. It is unclear why funds related to PMG, Inc.(for direct marketing services) and Public Interest Communications who operates calls stations, are not specifically reported.

To read the IRS Form 990 (2016) for the year beginning July 1, 2016 and ending June 30, 2017, click here.

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