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We Talk To…Barbara

1)Traditionally conservation hates business!  What do you mean by Conservation Business and how is it different from an NGO say? Can you also explain more about Biodiversity Business
I think it’s a shame that conservationists generally dislike engaging with business, since their work is affected so much by corporate and economic impacts such as deforestation, pollution etc. That is why I called my social enterprise Biodiversity Business, because business has to be part of the solution, not just the problem. To understand the debate, I recommend reading this article on Mongabay
It explains the ‘new’ human-centric conservation vs the ‘traditional’ species centric conservation. I believe we actually need both approaches to achieve any progress in stopping mass extinction and habitat loss in the world.
2) Why do NGO’s need marketing?
The reality is that everyone needs marketing, as it represents the process of communicating to your audience what you have to offer or what you stand for. Unlike commercial marketing, NGO’s generally are trying to achieve fundamental behaviour change, which is even more challenging than selling ‘stuff’. So, actually they need to be better and more effective at communicating their message to achieve results.
3) What 5 tips would you give to any aspiring Eco business or NGO in terms of marketing and funding

1. Make full use of the new and often free online tools and techniques that now available due to technological advances via the internet.These are great if you have only a small budget and want to get exposure. However, make sure you pick the right one.  For instance, Facebook is great for volunteer based groups and word of mouth, but less effective for fundraising.

2. Know your audience groups and where to find them i.e. what media do they use, their likes and dislikes.

3. Offer something which is unique and appealing. Why should they support or fund you, and not any other green NGO? You must have a very clear and convincing case for support or even purchase, if you are a social enterprise.

4. Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound) GOALS –  like any professional organisation. If you are fundraising, then how much do you need, what is it for, how much time will you take.

5. Just like any new venture, Remember the 4 P’s for entrepreneurs: Patience, Perseverance, Persistance and Passion.
4) Your internships, can you tell us more about the opportunities you have?
The non-profit marketing internship offers a great opportunity to develop marketing skills for conservation and wildlife. Firstly, it includes both professional and practical training, as the first 3 months are spent in the UK studying for the CIM Chartered Institute of Marketing’ s diploma qualification and the second 3 months are in the field in Malaysia, gaining experience and developing a fully integrated marketing plan for a chosen wildlife project. So it offers an attractive combination of study and practice plus a chance the visit one of the most beautiful countries in the world. This should appeal to conservation graduates who want to gain valuable marketing communication skills.
5) Where are your favourite conservation tourism programmes?
Well, Malaysia remains my all time favourite destination, because of the amazing wildlife and the awesome people trying to save it. But I do have one long term aim to visit India to see the Bengal tigers there, since they are currently the only tigers with a future.