Ducks Unlimited's (DU) Montana state chairman Jim Daugherty, has a passion for DU that keeps him on the road, traveling to hotel lobbies, restaurants, sporting goods stores and more to raise money. He volunteers for DU's Sealed Bid Auctions (SBA) program, and last year Daugherty brought SBA to new heights when he raised about $40,000 and became America's top SBA fundraiser.
"I run this SBA program like I would my own business," he said. "I work at it very hard."
SBA has Daugherty visiting various businesses in and outside of Montana, where he sets up easels with framed wildlife pictures and small bidding boxes. Passersby bid on the prints, and every two weeks, Daugherty collects the boxes to determine the winners.
"The minimum bid for a print is $150," Daugherty said, "but I have had successful bids as high as $2,500."
Daugherty started doing SBA November 2013 with three easels. He now has 52 and plans to add even more. As of June, Daugherty has raised about $51,000 for DU through SBA.
Daugherty also uses SBA as a chance to recruit new volunteers.
"For local successful bidders, I try to arrange a hand delivery, which provides me an opportunity to interact with them and see if they would be interested in becoming a volunteer," Daugherty said. "This also lets me see if enough volunteers can be generated to start a new event in the area."
Last year they were able to re-establish one town's DU event after a 20-year hiatus. Daugherty first got involved with DU in 1974 while living in California, when a local businessman asked him to help underwrite the cost of a gun for a DU dinner. The next year, he was given tickets to the dinner as thanks, and he has been involved ever since. It was not until he and his wife moved to Montana in 2005, however, that he heavily involved himself at the state level.
Daugherty plans to become SBA chair, and despite having retired, he has started working as the North American sales representative for a few companies whose products he used to help distribute.
Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, DU is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, with special events, projects and promotions across the continent. Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 13 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org. Connect with us on our Facebook page at facebook.com/ducksunlimited, follow our tweets at twitter.com/ducksunlimited and watch DU videos at youtube.com/ducksunlimitedinc.
Jennifer P. Kross