I'm trying not to feel too wounded. We got a call from World Wildlife Fund WWF today. I've been a contributing member and ardent promoter of their work since I graduated from college and got my first full time job in 1980. After 31 years of enthusiastic support, they called me today to tell me that I'm not allowed to mention their name on my Vermont Woods Studios Furniture website anymore.
See… we recently launched a Save the Tiger campaign to raise awareness of the fact that all species of tigers are endangered and some are on the brink of extinction. Their habitat is being destroyed and to some extent it's because corrupt timber conglomerates are clear-cutting the forests they live in and using the wood for cheap imported furniture and flooring that's sold in the US and Europe. We oppose that and so does WWF. We support their Save the Tiger fund and we encourage furniture shoppers to buy American furniture made from sustainably harvested American wood.
Well I guess they don't like their name being connected to a commercial venture. I understand their concern about the fact that there are dirt ball websites out there that might use their name dishonestly, but really. I asked WWF to spend 5 minutes on our website and tell me we're one of those guys. They agreed that our committment to conservation seems genuine but then noted that in order to be considered WWF partners and refer to them on your website, a minimum "6 figure donation" is required annually along with a long list of other things. Actually, I think we would be OK with the other requirements but $100,000 is equal to 1/6 of our total revenue (not profits) last year. So now I have to face the fact that I've been summarily rejected by my all time favorite charity– an organization that had a profound influence on the whole concept defining Vermont Woods Studios Furniture. How sad is that?
I'm going to finish crying in my beer tonight. Tomorrow I'll be over it and moved on to other issues. But tonight I can't help feeling a bit jaded about WWF and their corporate partnership program. What do you think?