The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation, the group that developed the award-winning “Take Me Fishing” and “Vamos A Pescar” campaigns, continues to create innovative programs aimed at bringing more participants into recreational boating and fishing.
Last week, the RBFF introduced its latest campaign and named the first three recipients of the new State Innovative R3 Program grants. The grant winners are the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.
"The programs we will be funding in Georgia, Nebraska and Vermont are paramount in our effort to grow the number of boaters and anglers in the United States," RBFF president and CEO Frank Peterson said. "We look forward to sharing the results of these programs with the expectation that similar initiatives can be implemented in other states to further help with our goal of getting more Americans out on the water."
Specifically, the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division will test a program to increase boat registration renewals and shorten the lapse period by providing boat owners an easy and convenient telephone Interactive Voice Response (IVR) option for registration renewal. Boat owners will receive a call before expiration and after expiration (if no action was taken) and allow owners to register over the phone. Additionally, the program will include message-testing and will be promoted through social media, websites and radio PSAs.
Meanwhile in Nebraska, the Game and Parks Commission will establish an automated email system to replace their current manual process. The goal is to establish better relationships with customers by providing useful materials that can improve their boating and fishing experiences. Timely and targeted emails will be sent to boaters and anglers with information and resources available to them and, very important, license expiration reminders. The emails will be personalized and customized based on past license purchases and short-term license buyers will be encouraged to buy an annual or multiyear license.
In the Green Mountain State, the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department’s program will rely on a combination of media strategies. Themed "Reel Fun Vermont," it will include video PSAs, web, print, radio and social media to promote increased participation in fishing.
The big target is the urban demographic of Chittenden County, which includes Burlington, the most populous city in Vermont and home to nearly a quarter of the state’s total population. In addition, other campaign targets will include people who stay in Vermont state parks. "Vermont offers some of the finest fishing in the Northeast," Vermont Fish & Wildlife commissioner Louis Porter said.
At the conclusion of these programs, the results will be shared so that successful programs can be replicated and implemented as sustainable programs in states across the country, Peterson said.
The RBFF received 19 program proposals featuring a wide variety of ideas. The requests were reviewed and selected by a Proposal Review Working Group that included industry board members, federal agency and NGO representatives and RBFF staff.
Since RBFF was established in 1998, it has been a loud voice for boating, fishing and conservation. Its wide variety of programs and products are all targeted to make it easy for people to get involved in boating and fishing. The RBFF is a strong ally of the marine industry.
Information about all the RBFF's programs can be found at TakeMeFishing.org/corporate.