Supporters Survey: What You Told Us

A few months ago, we launched a survey to ask our supporters a few questions about themselves and what they would like to see the charity doing more of in the future, to help us shape our plans.

Well over 250 supporters took part. We were surprised by some of the responses we got, and really heartened to discover just how much you are all doing and contributing to protect wildlife and the environment. We found out why you continue to support our charity, and we got a clear steer on what activities Hen Harrier Action should concentrate on in the future.

Huge thanks to everyone who took the time to answer our questions. Your views are always welcomed, your generosity is much appreciated, and we are committed to delivering the goals that you want us to achieve.

About our supporters

We weren’t surprised to learn that our supporters are almost exactly split 50/50 on gender, reflecting the demographics of the wider population. More remarkable was the age make-up of our supporters – more than half were over 65 (54.5%), and altogether over 85% were 55+. Given the age profile, it makes sense that 65% of supporters are retired, with just 23% employed full or part time.

Perhaps this is telling us that our concern for wildlife grows as we get older, seeing the declines that have happened in our own lifetime. And after the busy years of paying mortgages and raising families, in later life we feel able to engage with organisations like Hen Harrier Action and participate more actively in the fight to restore nature.

Pie chart showing the gender of our survey respondents
Bar chart showing the age groups of our supporters

Support by Region

We also asked where in the country our supporters lived. The answer was for the most part a broad spread, with a slight rural bias, the most populous regions being the South West (14.6%), East of England (12.5%) and the South East (11.6%).

The big surprise was to discover that only 4.3% of our supporters live in the London region. But perhaps living in a big city, with less exposure to wildlife generally and Hen Harriers in particular, means you might be less likely to consider the challenges for nature.

Pie chart showing where our supporters live

Supporting a wide range of other charities

Bar chart showing other charities supported

We discovered just how proactive and generous our supporters are when we asked what other conservation charities they supported. A whopping 86% of our supporters also support the RSPB, and just over three quarters also support The Wildlife Trusts.

More than 40% of the survey respondents support The National Trust and The Woodland Trust. Greenpeace, WWF and the Wetlands & Wildfowl Trust (WWT) were also popular charities to belong to or support.

And we gave respondents the chance to tell us about other conservation charities they supported, and more than 80 of you told us about a huge range of other worthy causes. Wild Justice, the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and Butterfly Conservation were common ‘other’ answers, alongside a raft of other large and small charities working on Bugs, Beavers, marine and worldwide wildlife projects, such as Animals Asia.

One supporter told us about their own small charity, the Scottish Tree Trust, established to buy land and set up nature reserves for conservation and education in Scotland.

Your involvement with Hen Harrier Action

We asked how you had first discovered Hen Harrier Action, and by far the most popular answer was that you found us online while searching about conservation issues. Some respondents saw us at an event or watched a Skydancer Day broadcast, and over a third had discovered us elsewhere. The most common ‘other’ answers were through a connection with Wild Justice or Raptor Persecution UK, or more directly from Chris Packham or Mark Avery.

Well over 40% of the respondents had also donated to Hen Harrier Action in the past, and another 13% or so were considering it.

Pie chart showing how supporters first discovered Hen Harrier Action
Histogram showing why supporters first connected with the charity

We asked what prompted you to subscribe to, donate to or follow the charity. All of the seven answers we provided – with the option to select all that applied – were ticked by more than half of the survey respondents. The desire to see greater awareness of raptor persecution, and to help protect Hen Harriers and other birds of prey, were uppermost in your minds, with over 90% choosing both responses.

And a massive 80% of you want to see an end to all wildlife persecution, as we do. Considering just how many other wildlife conservation charities you support, this is a clear testament to your passion to protect all wildlife. One respondent said “I want a sustainable future for all life”, and another told us “You are a very proactive charity that is not afraid to speak out and bring about change”.

The biggest conservation issues we face

From a selection of 16 conservation issues that UK wildlife and habitats face right now, we asked respondents to select just three that they felt were most important for the UK. Over half of you chose to highlight Climate Change and Loss of Suitable Habitat for Wildlife as the issues that keep you awake at night, very closely followed by Loss of Biodiversity.

Almost a third chose Declining Water Quality in UK Rivers as a major concern and, as you’d expect from Hen Harrier Action supporters, Illegal Raptor Persecution made the top three for more than 1 in 4 of you, closely followed by Intensive Farming Practices.

Bar chart of the most important conservation issues for our supporters
Histogram of what actions our supporters are taking to support wildlife


When asked what steps you had personally taken to help wildlife thrive, over 90% of respondents had birdfeeders, 85% have donated to wildlife charities, and over 78% leave part of their garden wild.

Encouragingly, almost 80% have written to their local MP or council to demand action on a conservation issue.

What should Hen Harrier Action be doing?

We asked how you would like to engage with the charity in the future, and it was encouraging to see that, overwhelmingly, you want to receive regular news on Hen Harrier and upland conservation. A vote of confidence in our regular emails and social media activity.

And almost 40% appreciate the regular stream of new video content on our YouTube channel and would like to see more.

Finally, we asked all our respondents what they would like to see Hen Harrier Action doing or doing more of. By far the most important, chosen by almost 80% of you, was for the charity to do more campaigning and lobbying for better protection of raptors and their habitats, with over two thirds wanting to see us continuing to raise awareness of raptor persecution online and through social media. We have been steadily increasing our reach through social media throughout the last 12 months, and plan to maintain this momentum.

Almost half of you also want to see more fundraising for satellite tagging Hen Harriers, as we did at the end of last year with our Christmas Appeal which, thanks to your generosity, raised enough to fund 4 satellite tags. These are being put into action in the coming weeks by our partners at the RSPB.

Chart showing how supporters want to engage with the charity
Bar chart of what supporters think Hen Harrier Action should do more of

Many of the respondents also took the time to give us more specific – and very useful – answers. One respondent wants to see the charity work more with schools. Their primary-school-age daughter pointed out that UK children are more likely to recognise elephants and rhinos than our own native species!

We feel the same, and it is why we run our annual Young Wild Writers competition, to encourage schoolchildren to think about the issues facing UK nature, and why this year we launched a Young Wild Photographer competition. After all, it is this generation that will feel the loss of biodiversity and habitat most keenly.

And we were encouraged to see comments like “larger high-profile events to raise awareness”, “working with other wildlife/environmental organisations” and “more partnerships with performance artists and musicians” among your answers.

Because we have been working on exactly this for the last few months, and last week we announced Hen Harrier Action for Wildlife Day, a large, high-profile event that we are sponsoring, in partnership with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, Wild Justice and Protect the Wild. What’s more, the agenda includes performances by the Sing It Bold Gospel Community Choir, and the legendary English folk musician Martin Simpson.

One final thought

Two of our respondents commented on a subject that we are also acutely aware of. The need to “engage with new audiences” and the “danger of preaching to the converted”. It’s not a surprise that most of our subscribers and donors share our views about wildlife and conservation issues. It is one reason why we put a lot of effort into connecting with schools and schoolchildren through our Young Wild competitions.

And it is the very reason why we have opted to make the August event at Carsington Water an Action for Wildlife Day, rather than purely a Hen Harrier Day (although there will be plenty of raptor-relevant content). We hope to attract conservation-minded attendees well beyond our traditional Hen Harrier Day audience, with speakers from the Campaign for National Parks and Protect the Wild.

We aim to attract families, with a wide range of family-friendly activities. And by including wonderful performers in the programme, in the shape of the Sing It Bold Gospel Community Choir and folk musician Martin Simpson, we hope to attract some audiences that won’t have previously considered the threats to nature and the environment.

We want to ‘preach to the unconverted’ too!