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Generating Interest

Money for human rights work is scarce. For the past ten years, Cultural Survival has spent eighty percent of its' budget directly on projects for indigenous peoples, and reports which publicize their plight here and abroad. The organization has restricted its overhead expenses - salaries, offices, supplies, telephone, etcetera - to 20% - of its annual budget, an extremely low figure for any human rights group, public or private. Average yearly expenditures from 1974-83 are as follows:

Projects 51.8%

Publications 14.5%

Conferences/Seminars 3%

Educational Events/Informational materials 9%

Library/Archives 1.7%

0Overhead 20%

Since 1979, when Cultural Survival began to finance projects and publications regularly, membership and contributions to CS have increased tenfold. But even with this increase, we can only sponsor a fraction of the projects urgently needed by tribal groups throughout the world. It is painful to decide which of the 200 tribal groups in Brazil alone most needs our assistance, or which of some 40 nationalities in Ethiopia faces the most imminent persecution. Because of budget limitations, we are not able to investigate and expose most of the human rights violations occurring daily throughout the world.

Last year, the number of CS members doubled from the year before. We believe that with your continued financial help, and perhaps more importantly, a contribution of some of your time and energy, we can continue to double our membership annually for the next four or five years.

The following list suggests some of the ways that you can help CS reach others and maximize the impact of our work. In addition to helping CS, undertaking some of the activities listed below will put you in touch with people who share your ideas and concerns.

* Prepare a list of 10 people who might be interested in CS. Either ask us for information you can give to them or ask us to send them information. A person who gives $25 will continue to give for years to come, and in turn, may know other people who would like to join. This is the least expensive and most effective way to increase CS's ability to work with tribal peoples.

* Ask your library - city, county, state, university or church - to subscribe to Cultural Survival Quarterly. More than 50% of that contribution goes directly to projects with tribal peoples.

* Ask your local bookstore if they would like to carry the Cultural Survival Quarterly or other CS publications and tell them how to contact us.

* Invite a group of friends to your home to see the CS slide show and learn about the organization. We can provide you with the names of other CS members in your area if you would like to undertake a joint activity.

* Ask an organization to which you belong - social, cultural, youth, adult, religious, etc. - to make Cultural Survival a focus for the group's activities. You can undertake a membership drive or bakesale, lobby on one of the issues CS has raised, or form a research, study or discussion group which focuses on a specific issue or tribal group.

* Sell CS T-Shirts, posters, cards or publications.

* Send us the names and addresses of individuals or organizations that you think should see a specific publication. CS is a non-profit organization and cannot lobby government officials directly, but members can send our publications to whomever they want.

* Teachers can use CS publications for their courses. This helps us to offset the costs of sending free publications to indigenous peoples and organizations throughout the world.

* Give a CS membership as a gift.

* Finally, remember to contribute each year so we will not have to remind you.

Each of the suggestions listed above has been undertaken by a number of CS supporters or organizations. Such activities allow CS to reach a wider audience, broaden its base of support, and increase the number of projects while reducing the overhead of the organization.

We are thankful for the financial and moral support each of you has given the organization. As a result, Cultural Survival has been able to expand its activities both with tribal people and on their behalf.

If you could, before you forget, give us a bit more of your time, our work would go that much farther.

Article copyright Cultural Survival, Inc.

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