Reef Check is a totally volunteer activity so all teams need to be self supporting. Don't despair, there are many innovative ways that teams have devised to support their surveys. Good public relations can also help you to raise funds, as well as helping Reef Check meet an important goal of raising public awareness about coral reefs.
Don't be shy about raising funds! Use your network of friends, and ask for support from standard and non-standard sources. You may be surprised at the results.
Many teams have been sponsored by large companies, others by local dive shops and small businesses. Remember that support comes in many guises, not just financial. Use your imagination. This list should give you some ideas.
- Dive industry - shops and clubs may provide equipment and volunteers; manufacturers may provide sponsorship and equipment.
- Tourism industry - large and small businesses may provide sponsorship, hotels, travel, etc.
- Government organizations, environmental groups - a good source of experienced fund raisers, contacts, media lists, equipment and technical support (e.g. data handling).
- University facilities, students - volunteer help, space, equipment, technical support.
- Large corporations - sponsorship, especially those involved in sports or projecting a "green" image, media coverage.
- Small businesses - sponsorship, accommodation, travel arrangements.
You need to show these potential sponsors that they will reap rewards by actively supporting Reef Check:
- Enhancing "green" image
- Reef Check teams can advertise the sponsors by using the company logo on equipment and clothes
- Free publicity -- lots of media coverage; local and international
- Free training
- Sponsors can use the Reef Check name. If any group would like to use the Reef Check logo for a commercial enterprise, please seek permission from the Reef Check Coordinator.
- Reef Check is worthy of support because it is a global project concerned with conservation of the environment.
One of Reef Check's two goals is raising public awareness about coral reefs. To do this we need to spread the word to the local media. You should plan ahead for your local, regional, national and international media interactions. Consider using the following channels:
- Radio stations
- Television stations
- Dive club
- Newsletters and magazines
- Local personalities
- University students involved in the project
- Offer the media the opportunity to cover the actual surveying, follow up with results when available.
- Live coverage from the survey
How to handle the media
Read "Getting the most from the media"
- Be aware that each type of media has a different angle. Try to prepare information that is most useful for each. For example, TV will be looking for visuals, so they will want to see people in action. Local media will be looking for the local angle, local personalities involved, etc. They will be less interested in the global perspectives. On the other hand, international media will be very interested in the global view.
- Take media planning seriously. Be prepared to answer questions and have handouts ready. Printouts from the Reef Check website are good background. Feel free to contact Headquarters if you need an update on total number of teams and countries, etc.
- Promote stories about coral reefs incorporating details about the Reef Check project leading to your Reef Check activities.
- Stress that it is totally voluntary, with both scientific and public relations value.
- Plan to do a press release 4 to 6 weeks before your activity and again one week before. Don't forget to invite the media to view the activity and see the results.
- Any media coverage you can arrange will help towards sponsorship.
- Coordinate with Reef Check's annual press release.
Reef Check's key selling points:
- Reef Check was the first ever global reef survey, it's size and coverage are huge.
- The involvement of both hard core scientists and recreational divers is not new, but it shows a growing interest of both groups to work together.
- Celebrity involvement.