Recent trends and strategies for state nongame checkoff funding in the United States


  • Associate Editor: Grado


Growing stakeholder expectations along with decreased traditional funding have prompted state fish and wildlife agencies throughout the United States to develop alternative mechanisms to fund nongame programs. During March–May 2010, we collected responses from 42 state natural-resource agencies to assess characteristics of nongame checkoff initiatives, evaluate recent levels of funding procured, and identify marketing efforts used during fiscal years 2004–2008. We found that 32 of the respondent states used tax checkoffs to secure nongame funding, and that the total donations they received exceeded US $7 million/year. Annual nongame checkoff contributions declined from 2004 to 2008. Reported levels of nongame checkoff funding varied among states, ranging from about US $20,000 to >US$ million in annual donations. Number of tax checkoffs per state ranged from 1 to 27, but we found no evidence of a significant relationship between the number of checkoffs in a state and nongame funding procured. Additionally, we failed to observe a correlation between nongame checkoff funding and per capita income or population density among states during 2008, but we did find a positive correlation between nongame checkoff funding and state population size during 2008 (R27 = 0.54; P = 0.002). The most widely used marketing approaches reported by states were Internet and print advertising, press releases, tax outlets, and television or radio advertising. States that included nongame checkoff logos on their income tax forms received greater average donations (US $400,877/yr) than did states that did not list logos (US $194,919/yr). We developed a list of funding recommendations for states to consider for enhancing nongame funding. © 2012 The Wildlife Society.