RBFF touts success of state grants program

The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation announced Wednesday the results of its new State Innovative R3 Program Grants.

In June 2015, RBFF awarded a total of nearly $75,000 to three state agencies to help them develop and implement new angler and boater recruitment, retention and reactivation programs. All programs focused on increasing fishing license purchases and/or boat registrations in innovative ways and concluded at the end of 2015, with program successes being shared through the following case studies:

  • Georgia Wildlife Resources Division’s Boat Registration Interactive Voice Response System tested 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 received a call before expiration, which served as a great reminder to spur boat owners to renew their registration. The agency plans to expand this program for hunting and fishing licenses.
    “This new interactive voice response system serves as a great reminder to our customers for renewing boat registrations. This has the potential to save money on how we remind Georgia boat owners by not having to incur the cost  of mailing a letter,” said Dan Forster, division director.
  • Nebraska Game & Parks Commission’s Auto-Trigger Customer Care Emails allowed the state to create a new, automated system, rather than a manual process, to send targeted emails to anglers thanking them for their purchase, providing useful information and encouraging license renewals through reminder emails.
    “We believe customer-focused digital communications will keep anglers engaged with Nebraska Game and Parks, remind them of their role in conservation, and that time outdoors is time well spent,” said commission director Jim Douglas.
    Additionally, emails were personalized and customized based on past license purchase and provided an opportunity for an upsell of licenses. The agency will continue to expand use of this system to send targeted messages and plans to send messages to upsell short-term license holders.
  • Vermont Fish & Wildlife’s Reel Fun Vermont campaign looked to capitalize on the recent trend of increased license sales among 20- to 30-year-olds in urban areas. The urban demographic and people who stay in Vermont state parks were targeted with “Reel Fun Vermont,” a campaign that utilized a combination of media strategies to increase participation in fishing. Using video ads, web, print, radio and social media, the state promoted “Reel Fun Vermont” and fishing opportunities in the local parks to reach new target audiences. The program also helped lay the groundwork for an annual loaner tackle program in Vermont state parks and fostered new partnerships within the agency to launch and promote the campaign. The agency plans to continue to expand the campaign.
    “The Reel Fun Vermont program brings together Vermont’s strong history of recreational angling and the fun of staying at our amazing state parks,” said Louis Porter, Vermont Fish & Wildlife Commissioner. “We appreciate RBFF’s role in making this new collaboration a success and expect Reel Fun will be a tradition for years to come.”

“It’s encouraging to see such pioneering programs being developed by our state agency partners,” said RBFF President & CEO Frank Peterson. “Now, with the help of these case studies as a base, we hope that agencies across the country can adopt similar strategies in order to increase fishing and boating participation, providing critical funds for conservation along the way.”

RBFF is currently soliciting proposals for the 2016 State Innovative R3 Program Grants and encourages all state agencies to submit their innovative and sustainable marketing initiatives focused on increasing fishing and boating participation for consideration.

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