Evolution of Philanthropy in the National Park System

Point 6

This is an issue between Cooperating Associations, Friends Groups, and concessionaires. Park-based Cooperating Associations and some CA-Friends hybrids have a history of merchandizing and generating earned income through sales of park theme-related materials and field seminars. There has been a growing realization that expanded income streams can help: provide stable operational budgets; launch and support park programs that add value; build capacity, and; launch new initiatives including fundraising campaigns.

Some earned income streams are used to improve the park experience, assist resource restoration, and create a stronger awareness and branding of the park. Today, earned income streams include such initiatives as: sale of bottled water, park personalized car license plates; a voluntary $1/night guest donation check off; park-themed merchandise and graphics, and; self-guiding park audio tour rentals.

In parks with concessionaires, there are limits on duplication of sale products and services and the challenge is to ensure that both concessionaires and nonprofit park support organizations can thrive to provide quality visitor experiences and protect park resources.