Volume 8
Issue 3

Those of us who care about wildlife and the environment often wonder what we can do to help the cause of bat conservation. At BCI, we have numerous answers to that question. Nearly three-fourths of our funds are used for education and conservation programs. There are many opportunities for giving, which can have a significant impact on our abilities to protect bats and their habitats.

Winston Churchill may have said it best: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Philanthropy is a way for you to make a strong statement about what we are doing at BCI, and, even better, a way to become an active partner in our programs.

Membership. Your membership provides a vital portion–42%–of our operating budget. If you enjoy being part of our mission, why not share your experience with others by giving gift memberships to friends or family?

Annual Appeal. BCI depends on special gifts, over and above annual dues, to provide funding for operations and special programs. The generosity of our members makes an enormous difference in what we can–and cannot–accomplish.

Corporate Matching Gifts. Many corporations will match their employees’ contributions to philanthropic causes. If your company has a Matching Gift Program, you may be able to double, or even triple, your gift to BCI. Your Personnel Office will provide you with the forms to send us along with your contribution.

Planned Gifts. Gifts of stocks and bonds, tangible personal property, royalties, and trusts can all be very beneficial to both the donor and BCI. Another way to ensure the continuance of our mission is to create a charitable bequest to BCI in your will. What could be a more fitting legacy than to support efforts to preserve a vital part of our natural environment for future generations?

Honorary or Memorial Gifts. Gifts given as a tribute to others can be especially satisfying. We often receive gifts honoring a friend, a favorite professor, a colleague, or loved one. The following letter from BCI member Caroline Simmons tells a wonderful story about memorial gifts.

Dear Bat Conservation International:
This past Christmas I purchased as a present for my husband, Barnard, an official BCI bat house. We exchanged other presents, but I knew this one would be special, especially coming from a former “paranoid” about bats.

When we moved to the country, I saw my first bat whiz by the space between my house and garage as I headed for my kitchen door. What if it got in my hair? What if it had rabies? What if it sucked my blood? I remember my husband laughing gently, and then explaining that none of these things were real problems and that the bat was one of my best friends in the garden. As time went on my husband and I would watch the bats from our own perch by an upstairs window. And to our great delight, we realized they spent part of the night, and sometimes the next day, resting under the eaves of our front doorway. Year after year it became an event to go on “bat alert” to watch for the first signs of our visitors. Our friends were quite astounded…the Simmons’ had gone bats about bats.

My husband died suddenly and without warning of heart failure and other complications. Because Bernie was such a special individual and because ours was a close marriage and friendship, the loss was and is very difficult for me. During the blur of events of funeral week I tried very hard to remember all the right things. I failed at some, but at others I achieved some success: one example was to ask for donations to BCI in lieu of flowers and in memory of Bernie. I remembered BCI especially at this time because of the great joy my husband showed, not only at receiving the bat house as a Christmas present, but also in our subsequent membership.

Now that I’ve lost my best friend, I do hope his love, care, and concern for nature and for bats can be turned into something positive and helpful. I hope that in my explanations to people about bats and why donations to BCI are important, I will achieve a little of what Bernie achieved in converting me, a former bat paranoid, into a wonder-filled admirer of bats.
Thanks to your organization for its good work!

Caroline Simmons