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Free Advice 1: Sponsor a Puffin

Every so often (by which I mean about three to four times per week), I come up with a great business plan for an existing establishment or organization, and I share these ideas with Josh at around 11:34 pm when he is trying to fall asleep.  He suggested that I stop holding in these ideas and instead share them with the world.  So that’s what I’m doing.  You’re welcome.

When my idea only works for a single organization, I’ll send them the idea directly.  But the ones I put up here are free for the taking for any enterprising, forward-thinking organization.

So while this first idea is for the National Audubon Society or Oceana (or really, let’s include RSPB, the National Wildlife Federation, and the World Wildlife Fund), there is no reason why another organization couldn’t put this plan into motion.

Background information for this idea: I decided to sponsor a puffin.  I went online to look at my puffin sponsoring options.  For $100 per year, I could sponsor a puffin through the National Audubon Society.  I would get a photo of a specific puffin that I would name Cromarty after the estuary listed in the Shipping Forecast.  (We fall asleep to the Shipping Forecast every night.) For a one time fee of $50, I could sponsor a puffin through Oceana.  I would not get my own real puffin, but they would give me a stuffed animal puffin as a gift.  Very appealing.

Or I could make a donation through the RSPB, choose the amount, and get a stuffed animal AND postcards.

Let’s just say that there are many, many, many puffin sponsoring options out there if you Google enough.  But none of these options give you the chance to sponsor your very own immortal puffin.

Hear me out.

Cromarty the Puffin

Let’s say that you are the type of person to get attached very easily and love very deeply.  You want to sponsor a puffin, but you hate the idea that said bird will one day die.  Yes, you know puffins easily live into their twenties, but still, let’s say you don’t want to think about your sponsored bird’s death when you’re in your sixties.  You could go the general route with Oceana, sponsoring any and all puffins, but you really relish the idea of knowing that your puffin, Cromarty, is somewhere in the world.

This is where an organization could appeal to this very niche population: people who want to be lied to about their puffin.  For a set yearly price, that organization would tell the person they were sponsoring an immortal puffin.  (This idea works for other animals, too.)  They would take hundreds of pictures of the same puffin but only mail one per year.  They would give the person an update on the whereabouts and activities of their immortal puffin.  The location and activities do not need to be real; the person is fine believing anything told to her about her immortal puffin.  The person could make an additional lump sum donation so they could bequeath this immortal puffin to someone in their will once they’re gone and the new person would receive the yearly update and photo of the immortal puffin.

Which organization will jump at this idea to create a fictitious set of immortal puffins open for sponsorship?  My promise to that organization (as long as you have a decent rating on something like Charity Navigator) is to continuously promote their program via blog and social media and get those immortal puffins to good homes.  National Audubon Society?  Oceana?  RSPB?  National Wildlife Federation?  World Wildlife Fund?

You all have programs for mortal puffins, but which one will be the first to start a sponsorship program for immortal puffins?  Talk to me.

Do you think this is a good idea?  Are there any holes in the plan I haven’t considered yet?

Image: David Klaasen via Unsplash


1 a { 01.17.18 at 8:34 am }

The hole in your plan is that people who enjoy being lied to is a VERY small niche market. In fact, people generally get irritated when they find out that someone is not telling them the truth. But, good luck! I hope you find your immortal Cromarty.

2 Mel { 01.17.18 at 1:41 pm }

No one enjoys being lied to when they don’t know they’re being lied to. But think about magic shows — we pay magicians to lie to us, and we’re in on the lie. That’s what makes it enjoyable. I’m thinking this plan is more magical than irritating.

3 Cristy { 01.17.18 at 12:54 pm }

I see where you are going with this. There are people who get deeply attached and would be willing to live the lie of immortality over the truth of mortality. Small niche yes, but still.

But I also wonder if a way around this is to ultimately sponsor a colony. But instead of signing up for the whole thing, you start with one puffin, then add the mate. Then he offspring, the parents, the grandparents, etc, etc. Basically dilute out the attachment so that the loss isn’t as devastating. Thoughts on that one?

4 Mel { 01.17.18 at 1:40 pm }

Maybe… that could be very expensive and our refrigerator has finite space for puffin pictures. (Since I assume I’ll end up with pictures for all of our puffins!). Think about how many names I’ll get to put into play…

5 Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal) { 01.17.18 at 3:16 pm }

Hmmmm….would it work to sponsor a puffin family? And just not get updates if one of the members dies? You could go on assuming that Cromarty still is living his life off-camera somewhere, while you continue to receive photos of Cromwell and Crumpet and their kin.

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