2020 was a tough year with planned face to face events cancelled and corporate partnership development delayed. However, building on improved individual donor engagement in 2019, CCF UK grew the value and number of donations in 2020, with a net gain of 18.5% individual donors, 46% increase in subscription payments, and over £5,000 donated from our Conservation Circle members. These gains were underpinned by a series of virtual events that were launched from May to November, raising over £12,000. Our volunteers (growing from 20 in 2019 to 49 in 2020), some organised into geographically distinct Cheetah Communities, were, along with the Senior Management Team, phenomenal in creating and delivering these events. CCF UK also increased members of our Young Ambassadors programme from 4 to 9, which will feed into our school education project in 2021.
We increased awareness of the plight of the cheetah and gained more followers across all social media channels, with an increase of 24% on Facebook, 21% on Instagram and 20% on Twitter. Social media has also been instrumental in recruiting new volunteers and participants for the virtual events, and supporting donor engagement and growth.
CCF UK won grants from UK Trusts & Foundations, including the Rufford Foundation for genetics research to identify the country source of cubs confiscated from the illegal wildlife trade in Somaliland and the Anglo-American Foundation which funded the development of a virtual classroom in Namibia that engaged over 2,000 students in conservation and ecology workshops. We supported the Remembering Cheetahs virtual event in October which raised £40,000 for the Livestock Guarding Dog programme, and also built partnerships with small corporates to be developed further in 2021.
CCF UK is an integral member of the international CCF IWT team and the DEFRA IWT Challenge Fund project team, and a member of the DEFRA CITES Liaison Group which includes the Big Cat Task Force. CCF UK also funded International Cheetah Day on 4 December at the Hargeisa Cultural Centre in Somaliland (where we are working hard to reduce the illegal trade in pet cheetahs, in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Rural Development, where schoolchildren along with government officials, participated in conservation awareness events.
Despite being a very different year than envisaged, we gained valuable experience and engaged more with our international affiliates. Crucially we were able to send £190,000 to CCF Namibia and CCF Somaliland plus £11,000 in-kind products to support the conservation programmes that are helping to save the cheetah.