Who We Fund
Most SDTWS sponsorships fit into two categories:
(1) Projects or programs that have a direct benefit to South Dakota.
a. In many cases, funded requests are for programs that provide educational and outreach opportunities for the people of South Dakota. Past projects that have been funded under this category include Bald Eagle Awareness Days, SD Furbearer Trading Cards, Birding trail Guides, Huron Prairie Fest, and educational traveling trunk about endangered species of SD, educational videos for use at SD State Parks, the SD Junior Duck Stamp Contest, Becoming an Outdoors Woman, and many more.
b. SDTWS also funds projects that enhance understanding, information sharing, and/or advancement of SD’s wildlife professionals and educators. Therefore, conferences or workshops that specifically address SD’s wildlife and natural resources are supported. Examples include the Dakota Society of American Foresters Conference, the Prairie Grouse Technical Council Meeting, and the Northern Great Plains Workshop, which demonstrated recent advances in bird capture, banding, and marking. A related example involves travel support for SD’s wildlife educators to attend unique national programs, such as Pheasant Forever’s Leopold Education Project, that show teachers how to foster a positive relationship between our younger generations and the earth’s natural resources.
c. Finally, SDTWS supports other SD umbrella groups for which SDTWS is a member, such as providing start-up funds for the SD Conservation Alliance.
(2) TWS-related endeavors.
a. SDTWS sponsors the endeavors of TWS’ student chapters, Central Mountains and Plains Section, working groups, and national chapter. Examples include financial support for the Annual TWS conference; TWS special initiatives such as the Farm Bill Implementation Campaign, Endowment Fund, and IT Support; SDSU Wildlife and Fisheries Travel Grant to attend the TWS national conference; and annual conference of the Wildlife Damage Management Working Group.
When funding requests are denied, it is most often because the request did not have direct benefits to South Dakota or TWS. One example of this was a proposal for support of an endangered species outside of South Dakota. Although this was a good program, SDTWS board members felt that the scope of the proposal lacked applicability to our organization and therefore would be difficult to justify. Another common request that typically falls outside of SDTWS’ funding areas are from natural resource organizations that are planning to hold their national meeting in South Dakota. Again, although the outcome of their meeting will have a positive benefit on our nation’s natural resources, the organization is not TWS related and does not provide a direct benefit to South Dakotans.
The SDTWS Executive Board meets five times during the year.
Typically, those meetings take place in early January, the day before the annual SDTWS meeting in March, late May/early June, early September, and November.
Therefore, time your funding request appropriately. If you event is in May, you may miss your funding window if you do not submit your request in time for the March board meeting.
Requests should be sent to the president of SDTWS and are accepted electronically or hard copy.
Recommended Content of Funding Requests
There is no set application form by which to submit a request for financial sponsorship. Rather, requests should be submitted in the format of a letter. The following are some general guidelines to follow when submitting a request.
1. Address the request directly to SDTWS
- Directly address the organization or the president of the organization
- Avoid generic addresses such as “Dear Friend of X Organization”
2. Provide information on your other partners
- SDTWS is more supportive of requests that involve as many partners as possible and tends to shy away from request where SDTWS is one of the only organizations being targeted as a partner/funding source.
3. Provide a breakdown of your financial need
- Requests that can justify the financial need by itemizing each of the expected costs and providing a sum total of those expenses at the bottom are viewed favorably. In contrast, requests that ask for a large sum of money with no explanation of what that funding will go towards are not likely to receive sponsorship.
4. Provide as many specifics as possible
- Fully describe the project or program so that the board can envision what the final product will be like. For example, if it is an event, provide an agenda; if it is for educational material, include an example or mock-up.
5. Describe how the program or project will benefit South Dakota or TWS
6. Keep the request formal
- This seems like it should go without saying, but SDTWS does occasionally get flippant email requests such as, “Hey, does this sound like something you guys might sponsor?” Typically these requests to not fare well.
7. Provide a timeline
- If the request is time sensitive, please indicate that in your request. On occasion, the board may discuss a funding request via email between board meeting IF a quick response is warranted, the request is very beneficial to SD or TWS, and there is adequate justification for why the request could not be submitted prior to a board meeting.