Taking aim comes naturally to Ducks Unlimited. As an organization founded by hunters and supported by sportsmen for nearly 75 years, it's only natural that DU sets its sights on a target—its mission to conserve habitat
for North America's waterfowl. By maintaining a steady focus on that mission, Ducks Unlimited has become the world leader in wetlands and waterfowl conservation
While DU's mission will never change, our strategies constantly evolve. Just as a marksman adjusts his sights, Ducks Unlimited adjusts its work to meet new challenges, address emerging threats, and account for ever-changing conditions. Such recalibration is imperative to ensuring that DU's programs are efficient, effective, and directly aligned with our conservation mission
Fiscal Year 2011 (FY11) was a demonstration of DU's unique ability to stay on target and deliver its mission, while also monitoring conditions, fine-tuning programs, and building a strong foundation for the future. The result was a good year, both in terms of revenue and conservation, and we thank Ducks Unlimited's supporters for that.
Ultimately, DU's ability to conserve habitat depends on the generosity of our supporters. It's our honor and responsibility to ensure that every gift entrusted to Ducks Unlimited is used efficiently and effectively. That's why, every year, DU's goal is to spend at least 80 percent of every dollar we raise on our conservation mission.
During FY11, Ducks Unlimited exceeded that goal, putting 81 percent of our revenue in waterfowl conservation. That means more marshes for waterfowl visiting our coasts, more potholes for breeding ducks on the prairies, and more wetlands to sustain migrating waterfowl in every flyway. In total, DU permanently protected more than 50,000 acres with conservation easements last year, and restored or enhanced nearly 215,000 acres for waterfowl and other wildlife. That brings DU's tally to more than 12.4 million acres conserved since 1937.
Under any circumstances, that's a significant achievement, but considering the challenges many of our supporters faced over the past year, it's more than an achievement. It's a demonstration of the fortitude, commitment, and strength that all DU supporters possess. Without a doubt, your commitment has been tested recently—by the recession and a host of natural disasters—yet you rallied behind DU's mission with an energy that would make our founders proud.
Ultimately, DU's ability to conserve habitat depends on the generosity of our supporters. It's our honor and responsibility to ensure that every gift entrusted to Ducks Unlimited is used efficiently and effectively.
Last year, DU volunteers hosted more than 4,000 events across the country, resulting in 9 percent growth in grassroots revenue—the largest percentage increase since 1996. Our state partners also showed solidarity with DU, contributing $2.8 million to our mission. Ducks Unlimited matches these funds, which are matched again by grants from the North American Wetlands Conservation Act
. When Canadian resources are finally added to the mix, that $2.8 million results in almost $14 million for conservation work on the breeding grounds. With healthy habitat to support waterfowl populations, our partners see a return on their investment in the form of ducks and geese migrating to their states each year.
As we prepare to begin Ducks Unlimited's 75th anniversary year, we hope you'll find time to get outdoors and enjoy the fruits of your labor. In 2011, duck populations soared to record highs, thanks to exceptional wetland conditions across the prairies. There could be no better confirmation of our work or inspiration for DU's mission.
So the next time you see a flock of ducks or geese overhead, remember that Ducks Unlimited says "thank you." And with your continued support, we aim to keep waterfowl in the sky, wetlands on the landscape, and Ducks Unlimited on target for many years to come.
John W. Newman, President
Dale Hall, Chief Executive Officer
View the annual report in PDF format.