Cause Marketing Older than Your Grandfather

Years ago I worked with the American Legion and I heard a side of the story about the development of the groundbreaking GI Bill that's not commonly known. Namely, that the American Legion that had agitated and lobbied for the bill and Harry Walter Colmery, a lawyer and former American Legion National Commander, drafted it. President Roosevelt signed the bill into law on June 22, 1944.

Now thanks to a timely email from Laurie Shaffer of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, I’ve learned about a campaign that has generated more than $750 million since 1934 and thereby helped preserve some 5.3 million acres of waterfowl habitat in the United States.

The effort is called Federal Duck Stamps. Perhaps like me you’ve heard the name but aren’t familiar with its ins and outs. Here’s how it works:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service produces an annual limited-edition illustrated stamp, similar to a postage stamp, although it can’t be used as postage. The price for 2010 edition is $15. A healthy secondary market in former stamps has developed over the years. Prominent wildlife artists vie to illustrate the stamp.

The money is used by the Service to purchase or lease important waterfowl habitat.

Now a new envelope and stamp set, called a silk cachet, has been released for $25. The extra funds will be used to augment the acreage of more than 38 National Wildlife Refuges along the Gulf Coast.

The first edition of the silk cachet was underwritten by Bass Pro Shops, a big-box retailer and outfitter. The silk cachet was unveiled at the Ducks Unlimited headquarters on July 27 in Memphis at a ceremony featuring the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar.

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