The two polls for your favourite and least favourite UK wildlife NGOs are now closed. Thank you for voting.
Across the two polls, over 2400 votes were cast: 1330 in the poll for the favourite organisation and 1085 in the poll for the least favourite. This seems to show that despite a few voices saying that only praise will work, when it comes down to a secret ballot, 80% of people are just as keen to express their lack of enthusiasm as their enthusiasm.
Some argued that the list should have been even longer than the 14 organisations listed by me – it could have been two or three times as long but I wanted initially to have 10 organisations in the poll and found that I couldn’t bring myself to reduce the number below 14. There is a plethora of wildlife conservation organisations around in the UK and the interested public are faced with a choice of where to put their money, volunteering time and emotional support. Are there too many organisations out there – that’s a subject discussed in Chapter 16 of my book, Fighting for Birds – 25 years in nature conservation, which will be out in August? It’s a subject that you may want to comment on here too.
Do the results of more than a thousand people add up to anything at all anyway? That’s for you to judge but I think some interesting things come out of it. My strong impression is that the readership of this blog is a strange mixture of wildlife conservation professionals, keen amateurs and people who visit this site just to be amused or irritated. I suppose I am saying that you are a slightly strange bunch of people but then you would be entirely entitled to say that it takes a slightly strange person’s website to attract such an audience. You may be given a readership survey to complete over the coming weeks so that we can all know a little more about the readers of this blog.
There are at least (at least!) three ways of looking at these numbers. First there is the performance on the traditional poll of which organisation do you like the most – the favourite wildlife NGO. There are some interesting results here – not least the poor showing of some large organisations and the excellent performance of some smaller ones.
Then there is the performance on the second poll of least favourite organisation – again there are some surprising results here but there is also a very clear ‘winner’.
And lastly from me, there is some value I think in looking at the net favourite in polling terms – the organisation that has the most votes when its negative votes are removed from its positive ones. That has some interesting things in it too.
So, here are the results;
1. Which of the following nature conservation organisations would you be happiest to see receive public support (1330 votes cast)?
Gold medal: RSPB 289 votes
Silver medal: The Wildlife Trusts 251 votes
Bronze medal: The Grasslands Trust 105 votes
and at the other end of the scale…
Cardboard medal: The National Trust and National Trust for Scotland 40 votes
Plastic medal: WWF UK 33 votes
Wooden spoon: BASC 30 votes
2. Which of the following nature conservation organisations would you be least happy to see receive public support (1085 votes cast)?
Butterfly Conservation 2 votes
Marine Conservation Society 4 votes
Bat Conservation Trust 7 votes
and at the other end of the scale…
RSPB 131 votes
GWCT 151 votes
BASC 506 votes
3. The performance of nature conservation organisations when negative votes (1085) are taken from positive votes (1330) to provide a net vote.
1. The Wildlife Trusts 223
2. The RSPB 158
3= Butterfly Conservation 95
3= The Grasslands Trust 95
5. Buglife 88
6. Marine Conservation Society 68
7. The Wildfowl and wetlands Trust 47
8. Plantlife 44
9. Bat Conservation Trust 39
10. The Woodland Trust 6
11. The National Trust and NTS -32
12. The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust -53
13. WWF UK -57
14. BASC -476
I will come back to these results in this blog over the days and weeks ahead – but not all the time! Here are a few thoughts for now.
Even if you have the word ‘conservation’ in your name, being associated with shooting of wildlife (BASC and GWCT) is unpopular with this readership. These two organisations have mountains to climb to be recognised as conservation organisations by the wider conservation community – despite the examples of very good work that I know that both do in this field. If either wants to be seen as a nature conservation organisation then they will have to think about how they get their messages across – but it is quite possible that they are entirely happy with their strong positioning on the edge of nature conservation rather than at the heart of it. That’s for them to decide.
Some very large organisations did very badly – i don’t think there is any other way of putting it. For WWF UK and th National Trust (and NTS) to receive so few positive votes and more negative votes is somewhat surprising. And the Woodland Trust only just scraped into positive territory too. It may be that despite their admirable qualities these organisations are not seen as nature conservation organisations in their UK work. That’s my guess – and it is not a million miles away from my view either. Do they mind? Are they doing fine with a different audience?
The Wildlife Trusts and the RSPB are the ‘Big 2’ of UK nature conservation.
But what do you think? I’ll be commenting more on these results after more thought over the next few weeks and days. But do have your say now.[registration_form]