On the heels of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump announcing a “donor wall” to feature the etched-in names of supporters, an environmental organization is hoping that the same concept can fetch them two much-needed boats.
Leaders at Wounded Nature –Working Veterans have launched dueling crowd-funding campaigns for two, 30-foot boats necessary to helping organizational clean-up efforts. The boats will be named “Hillary” and “Donald.” Those who donate at least $20 will have their name placed on a skin that will be displayed on the side of the boat of the candidate of their choosing, according to Rudy Socha, CEO. Donors will also be identified as honorary crew members, with ranks proportionate to donation amount.
“We needed two boats and we thought that it was election season and it seemed that both groups were extremely passionate, so we thought may they’d put their money where their mouth is,” Socha said, adding that the fundraising strategy is intended to be playful.
Wounded Nature, which employs veterans re-entering the civilian workforce, has been in operation since 2010. Based in Charleston, S.C., the organization cleans wildlife refuge areas and marshes – many of them never before cleaned. The organization also fields request from government agencies. Crews will often find tires, grills, television sets, crab traps and treated wood – wood treated with pesticides that harm marine life – during their cleanups.
In addition to wildlife cleanups, Wounded Nature also clears trash such as accumulated beer cans off of “party islands” and more heavy-duty materials in disaster responses such as Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Matthew. The organization receives a good amount of interest from those seeking to participate, some even taking water taxis to clean-up sites, but there is little means to haul away larger items without additional boating reinforcements, Socha explained.
The “Hillary” boat led the “Donald” boat by a margin of $45,150 to $190 as of Friday afternoon. Socha opined that one of the reasons the “Donald” campaign is not doing as well could be a donor preference to have his or her name etched on a wall inside Trump Tower as opposed to a side of a boat.
Considerable work is left to be done between now and the election, Socha said. The total cost including purchase, modifications, gas and insurance is $320,000 per boat for the first year. If the campaign proves unsuccessful, Socha said that the organization will look into the used-boat market that might or might not fit Wounded Nature’s needs.