Audubon North Carolina: Carl the Traveling Cardinal

Kickstarting monthly giving with a little plush, a lot of imagination, and a sprinkling of fun.

We have a confession. We’re nature nerds. Dawn can identify just about any bird that shows up outside our windows. We’ve loved working with Audubon North Carolina on their social media and communications, so we jumped at the opportunity to flex our creativity on a year-end fundraising campaign.

From our experience interacting with the Audubon Facebook community we knew they loved taking and sharing photos. From there we worked with the staff at Audubon NC to create the Carl the Traveling Cardinal campaign to promote new monthly giving sign-ups.

The premise was simple, arm the staff, researchers in the field, and supporters with a plush Cardinal we named Carl and let them take and share photos with him as they travel beautiful North Carolina.

The fundraising message was simple, too. “Cardinals don’t migrate, they stay with us all year long. Just like Carl and the rest of his cardinals, year-long donors make a huge difference for Audubon NC.” We simply asked our fans to support the organization’s monthly giving program, the Cardinal Club.

It was so effective, we repeated Carl’s travels across the state for two more years. In the final year, Carl and Caroline, found a forever community to nest after engaging our fanbase to vote on where they should live.


Carl rocked! After just one month Cardinal Club members grew 500% and exceeded the campaign goal by 30%. That equaled thousands in extra annual funding for Audubon NC. We received photos from the Appalachians to the Outer Banks. We even got a Carl photo from the Audubon national president at their New York City headquarters.

We can’t wait until Carl goes traveling again!