NPO Profile: The RBFF

Category: article

 Nov 11th, 2008 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Nov 11th, 2008 at 12:00 AM

BassFIRST features the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) today in our NPO Profile. The President and CEO of the RBFF, Frank Peterson, provides us with an inside look into this unique foundation. In part 1 of the profile Peterson discusses why the foundation was formed, how it’s funded and the various programs the RBFF uses to achieve its mission.

RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson (Photo RBFF)

BF – What is the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation?

FP – The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase participation in recreational boating and fishing and thereby increase public awareness and appreciation of the need for protecting, conserving and restoring our nation’s aquatic natural resources.

BF – When was your organization formed?

FP – RBFF was created in 1998.

BF – Why was your organization created?

FP – The Sportfishing and Boating Safety Act of 1998 required the Secretary of the Interior to implement a national outreach and communication plan to address participation issues associated with recreational boating and fishing, while ensuring public support for aquatic resource conservation. Through the efforts of the Sportfishing and Boating Partnership Council (SFBPC), RBFF was created as an independent 501(c) (3) non-profit organization to implement the plan.

BF – How is your organization funded?

FP – Funding for RBFF is provided through the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, and is administered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) according to a Memorandum of Understanding between RBFF, the SFBPC, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the USFWS.

BF – What does your organization do to increase the participation in sport fishing?

FP – RBFF has several initiatives and programs in place to increase participation in boating and fishing.

• Our Take Me Fishing™ campaign, which was re-launched in April 2008 with a new look and feel and stronger call to action includes year-round local and national advertising, customizable campaign materials for stakeholders and a state-of-the-art Web site – TakeMeFishing.org – that has attracted 1.6 million unique visitors in six months (up more than 102 percent from the same time period last year). TakeMeFishing.org is on track to reach three million unique visitors this year with boating and fishing how-to and where-to information and a new online community called “Fishington,” that allows boaters and anglers from across the country to share tips and advice and swap stories.
• Our Anglers’ Legacy™ program, which asks avid anglers to “Take the Pledge” to take someone new fishing, has signed on nearly 75,000 Ambassadors nationwide since 2006. According to a 2008 survey of Ambassadors, most take more than four people fishing each year and purchase an initial $140 in fishing equipment, $153 in boating supplies and 3.1 fishing licenses. At 75,000 Pledges this could mean 289,000 new people have been introduced to the sport, $19 million has been generated for the boating and fishing industries and 127,000 new fishing licenses have been sold as a result of the program. Our goal this year is to recruit 85,000 new Ambassadors.
• Our State Direct Mail Marketing Program, which was launched this year in partnership with 30 state fish and wildlife agencies, has already tracked the sale of 150,000+ new fishing licenses in response to the program in 18 states, and that number is expected to grow substantially as results from 12 more states are finalized. With a goal of selling 375,000 fishing licenses this year, the program has the potential to generate $5.6 million for state fish and wildlife agencies when you take into account a $15 average license price. Ten more states are expected to join the program in 2009. Additionally, RBFF has partnered with the Oregon State Marine Board to launch a program aimed at increasing boat registration renewals that will develop into a nationwide effort in the years ahead.
• RBFF expanded its education initiatives in 2008 to include the National Youth Boating & Fishing Initiative that includes seven new boating and fishing education grants nationwide. With total funds of $782,000, our goal is to put 125,000 kids and their families through two existing boating and fishing education programs with the National Recreation & Park Association (NRPA) and Future Fisherman Foundation, and the seven newly funded programs.

BF – How do you personally work at increasing sport fishing participation?

FP – Under the direction of RBFF’s board, I work with the staff to develop programs that measurably increase participation in boating and fishing. I promote these programs with advertising, marketing and communication outreach through speeches and meetings at industry events and interviews with trade and consumer media outlets. Partnerships are key to our success, and we rely on stakeholders like the state fish and wildlife agencies, American Sportfishing Association and the National Marine Manufacturers Association to help us get the word out to their members and customers.

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