The Language of Conservation: How to Effectively Build Support for Conservation (2009)

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The following recommendations for communicating effectively to build support for conservation are based on extensive qualitative research and a representative national survey of American voters commissioned by The Nature Conservancy and conducted by a bi-partisan research team: Democratic polling firm Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates and Republican polling firm Public Opinion Strategies.

While the research had multiple goals, this memo seeks to provide language and messaging recommendations in a list of easy-to-follow, broad “rules” for communication. Some of these rules reinforce long-standing communication guidelines we have tracked over time, while others were tested to reflect today’s changed political and economic context. We found few exceptions to the guidelines presented, although we note that it is always prudent to test language and messages to ensure their effectiveness in a specific state or local area prior to investing in public communication.