Answer by Marie Stein:
I find, on Quora, that sometimes the best way to answer a question is to refute its premise.
I think Rory Young's anti-poaching fundraising campaign has been tremendously successful, in a very short period of time. Fundraising movements take time to build, and are often contingent on finding repeat, consistent donors, as well as accessing corporate donations and grant programs and the like to develop a sustainable source of income and support. No matter the hullaballoo one might hear about the success of this or that cause or particular issue or individual tragedy that gives rise to a brief and temporary hit on the internetz, real success in philanthropy and the charitable process is measured over time, and requires perseverance, dedication, and a long-term build. It's measured in year-over-year results; not in the time it takes to compose and send a tweet.
Rory has been on Quora since about March of 2013. That's almost a full year. In the course of that year, he has proven himself to be a prolific and exceptional writer, revealing to the Quora global community a dedicated, wise, and inspirational hero of the anti-poaching movement. In that year, he managed to align himself with fantastic and committed supporters, who were so moved by his words and stories that they have contributed money and volunteered their time and founded a non-profit to support his life's work. How is that not successful? How is this not an indication of success?Do you really think that it's so easy to reach 125,000 people?
I've been on Quora for almost 3 years, and nobody's given me a dime to go walking across the African bush and making a very real difference in the future of our world. But somehow, Rory and his amazing team (calling out, here, especially) have stepped up and put themselves on the line to preserve, nourish and cherish Africa's wildlife, and gotten me to GIVE THEM MONEY to do it.
Not everyone can give money; not everyone can give time. In the course of the past year, Chengeta Wildlife was established. This is what they are trying to do:
Chengeta Wildlife is a group of people from around the world who formed a nonprofit organization to support Rory Young and the work he does. He has skills and knowledge that the teams protecting wildlife badly need to protect themselves and wildlife. If enough funding is generated we would like to purchase tactical equipment needed by the teams. Things like night vision goggles, thermal sensing equipment and motion sensing cameras. Chengeta Wildlife is run by volunteers. So far 100% of funds raised have gone directly to the field where it is desperately needed. WE HAVE ZERO OVERHEAD COSTS!
I like elephants and rhinos. I've been to Kenya and Tanzania, and the Masai Mara. I've been fortunate enough to glimpse, for just a moment, some of the extraordinary beauty and grace that is Africa. I want my children, my children's children, and you to be able to experience that too.
But I had never heard of wildlife protection teams or anti-poaching activities, had never heard of Rory Young. Now I know. Rory's activities and the work of Chengeta is something that is accessible and real to me, through Quora. I may not always be able to give money; and I may not always be able to give time. There are other "causes" and movements where I contribute some of my time and money, too. But I, and hundreds of thousands of others, are now familiar with his work – in less than one year's time. And more are hearing about it every day. I think that is tremendously successful.
This particular campaign, no doubt one of many over time, might not meet its goals, especially if it's only relying upon Quora for donors. Many "causes" use a variety of outlets and sources for funding, repeating campaigns over time, and developing a donor base. It's still early in Chengeta's life. Whether or not this campaign is successful is not any indication that Rory's work, and Chengeta Wildlife, is not or will not be successful in its mission. Quora is a free Q&A site; it's about knowledge, not fund-raising. Quora has proven itself to be very effective (for Rory and Chengeta) to raise awareness; and the connections made through Quora have already yielded results. Quora may not be the best or most effective place through which to raise money; it's not the only space that's available to do that. But, through Quora, we've learned that there's an articulate, dedicated tracker in Africa who has amazing, real and powerful stories to tell about the on-going battles for Africa's wildlife.