Hidden conservationists

Behind the scenes at WILD with Maddy Miller, Development and Administrative Associate

We are all conservationists when we use our unique skills to help protect the natural world around us.

That’s why we’d like to help you discover the different nature conservation professions that help make the world a better place but aren’t always in the forefront of the environmental world.

Meet Maddy Miller, WILD’s Development and Administrative Associate.

What does your work actually entail?

My work entails a lot of salesforce! I work on the fundraising side of WILD, so I do a lot with tracking donations, entering data, and planning for fundraising campaigns and grant writing. I am a firm believer that every donor is an active participant in our work, and I want to make sure that they feel that way and understand our mission. So if you donate to WILD, expect a handwritten thank you from me!

A big part of this is also learning about what our projects and initiatives are doing, so I can translate these stories for our donors and for our “fan club”… making sure that the good work we are doing doesn’t go unnoticed. Keeping track of what everyone is doing here at WILD really is a big job, since there is so much going on 24/7 and so many moving parts.

What do you like about your job?

Definitely, my team. A big part of fundraising is being able to translate the passion for the work we do to the outside world, and that is so easy to do here because every single person on our team is brimming with passion for conservation and for raising the voices of Indigenous Peoples. I am an incredibly mission driven person, so it was so important to me to find a place where I could translate my “boring” skills like data collection and email writing, to something I could get excited about intrinsically, and WILD has been the perfect intersection of that. Also, our slack channels make me laugh all the time.

Can you tell us about a moment/story that stood out to you with your work?

So to go back in time a little- when I was growing up, I was a “gorilla girl.” Like you know how some girls are horse girls? Well I was obsessed with gorillas. I read every book I could find on gorillas. I would hold little lemonade stands in our neighborhood to raise money to “adopt” a gorilla and donate to the Jane Goodall foundation. At one point my dad almost turned my room into a gorilla forest and painted the walls with gorillas. This was the level of obsessed I was. So the first time I walked into the office, I turned the corner and saw a thank you card from Jane Goodall herself, thanking WILD and our president at the time for the work we were doing and encouraging WILD in their work. It was a pretty surreal experience for me, thinking about 10 year old Maddy and having this moment of, “I am actually doing the job I dreamed about as a kid.”

What advice would you give to others who are searching for a job with purpose?

This is going to be a really boring answer, but a really important one: ask a TON of financial questions about any organization you’re interested in working in. This is probably because I work so much on the funding side of things, but I have been in organizations before who are not exactly transparent about their funding sources and what they are doing to secure money. There are a TON of organizations who are incredible and function with so much integrity and transparency, and I’m proud to say that WILD is one of them.

But there are a ton that don’t. And as people who truly care about the mission, care about what you’re doing and your impact, it is incredibly frustrating to get to the work and realize that there’s all this shady stuff happening behind the scenes. I want to be clear too, that not all organizations with purpose are nonprofits, but if they are, some great things to check out: find the organization’s 990. See how much their CEO is making compared to the annual income of the organization. Ask if there are third parties who ensure financial transparency. Ask what grant reporting looks like if you didn’t quite accomplish everything you set out to do with grant money (you’d be surprised with how many purpose based organizations are fine with lying about this!). Lastly, read the revolution will not be funded by INCITE to understand more about the impact of the nonprofit industrial complex.

There are plenty more, but just to start. If you can find somewhere that is TRULY doing what YOUR purpose is, literally don’t let go!!!

Learn more about Maddy and WILD’s staff.

Connect with Maddy on LinkedIn.

Maddy Miller - WILD Foundation
Maddy Miller - WILD Foundation
Maddy Miller - WILD Foundation


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