When it comes to making an impact, the size of an organization is not always directly related to their effectiveness. When it comes to igniting a movement, or pursuing the slightly controversial issues, it is very often the small non-profits that take the lead. And they do it without wasting time or effort on strategic brand building. They do what is right because they are fueled by passion. They push on through some of the toughest obstacles not because it makes sense or will make them popular, but out of sheer willpower.
This is not to say that larger NGO’s are not effective. They form the very foundation for the conservation movement. But sometimes they are not able to “poke the bear” or charge up a community exactly because of their well-established positions.
You may not hear much about individual advocates or small non-profits, because they do not have the funding to be high profile. Their names may not be familiar. But the fact remains, that both entities, the Bingos (big NGOs) and the grassroots groups are essential parts of an advocacy ecosystem. Just like different species of animals, they manage specific areas of an ecosystem. In this case it is the system of advocacy.
A good example is the Turtle Island Restoration Network, one of the groups that has projects featured on SandDollar. They have people actively working on the ground to pursue the ban of driftnets in California. They support shark and turtle research in several locations around the world and they help push legislation on a variety of commercial fishing topics. That’s a lot for a relatively small group. www.seaturtles.org
The same is true for Shark Allies. It is always tough to brag about your own organization, but for a tiny group we have made a significant impact on the Trade of Shark fins in recent years. You can read more about that on our site www.sharkallies.org