President Kay Mitchell at 2016 Potluck – Photo Credit: Linda Winnie

by Kay Mitchell, FAS President

Flathead Audubon is finishing another year of activities and programs. Thanks to you, our supportive members, we have made great strides in many areas and exceeded our goals for the year. I invite you to come to our May meeting at the Whitefish Community Center on May 14 and hear the list of accomplishments.

I also want to remind you of a promise we made when this year began. We pledged to make all of our meetings, especially the May business meeting, much shorter. We’re keeping that promise. This May’s meeting will include a Conservation Achievement Recognition carried over from our April meeting; besides that, however, there will be NO tributes, special recognitions, announcements from the floor, or lengthy reading of histories. We will put our announcement boards around the room with lists of field trips and other events. So you will get a very short business meeting sandwiched between our world famous potluck and a great program. See you there!


We have been chosen to participate in a fundraising challenge called “Flathead Gives,” which is sponsored by the Flathead Community Foundation. This is a once-a-year event for many Flathead Valley nonprofits to raise money to fund their operations and programs for another year. Throughout the 4 weeks, there are contests, prizes and fun activities to advertise this drive and keep it in the public eye. 

     Flathead Gives is open for donations right now, as you are reading this. Last day to donate is Tuesday, May 15. To contribute, you can type into your browser and put Flathead Audubon in the search box. Another way to donate is to come to the FAS booth in Kalispell Center Mall the afternoon of Thursday, May 3 or all day on May 4.

Since this is a new concept for us, read on for some answers to basic questions you may have.

Q)   Why don’t the nonprofits just go out and earn the money, like I do when I go to my job?

A)   Because nonprofits exist to provide free services to the community. As the word says, we are not in the business of making a profit. For example, Flathead Audubon offers services like field trips, education about birds, volunteer work such as Hawk Watch that contributes to science, interesting programs, and information about birds, bird habitat and current issues affecting birds and nature. But we don’t charge for any of them, so our activities don’t produce any income to help operate Flathead Audubon. We want to continue to keep all activities free of charge and open to the public.

Q)   Why do nonprofits want to be participants in Flathead Gives?

A)   Three reasons:

  1. The advertising. We are always looking for ways to put our name and good programs in front of more people.
  2. We wanted a way to ask just once a year for contributions, instead of constantly doing little fundraising activities that devour lots of our time and energy and raise little money.
  3. The visibility. We don’t want to operate in a vacuum. Sharing face time with people in the community helps them understand what Flathead Audubon is about and what it does.

Q)   Is this a fundraising telethon? Will I get robocalls asking for money?

A)   No and Yes. This is not a telethon and you will not get phone calls from us. You will probably continue to get robocalls, but they won’t be from FAS or Flathead Gives. (And if you can find a way to stop robocalls, we want to know about it, too!)

(Q)   What’s in this for me?

(A)   Besides the satisfaction of helping birds and seeing your Audubon chapter thrive, there is a special bonus that may help make your life easier. We will still remind you to keep up your membership in the chapter, but if you donate at least $25 to Flathead Audubon during the Flathead Gives campaign, we will remove your name from our end-of-the-year appeal mailing. It’s just our way of saying Thank You at a time of year when you always get oodles of requests for money and are trying to stretch your dollars to cover holiday expenses. 

We hope you will support Flathead Audubon Society on  and be one of our generous donors!