Let's face, in this day and age of instant communication and instant online memberships there are numerous agencies, non-profits, and "friends of" groups that are all vying for any expendable (and at times not-so expendable) income that you may have. I know personally I have supported a wide variety of groups over the years, and tend to stick with those that produce results, whether is it a newsletter, preservation of ground, or any other method that shows the membership tangible outcomes. The Civil War Trust is one such organization that engages its membership and helps to preserve massive amounts of battlefield ground. They are rated very high within the charity world, and one can feel very good about donating to the Trust, knowing that a huge percentage of their dollars goes directly to land preservation.
At the other extreme, I have joined a couple of friends groups that promised newsletters, events, and in general progress. A lack of communication and a disconnect in direction led me to not continue to support those groups from a monetary perspective, and hence also resulted in a disenchantment of their brand and mission.
One has to make a decision from the myriad of choices that are available. I would imagine, just from the Civil War alone, that there are dozens upon dozens of organizations that you could support from national, to regional, to local, whether it is a national park group, to a local battlefield or historic home, or a small battlefield. And let's not forget Civil War round tables that also can take time and financial investment. And if you are like me, you have interests beyond the Civil War, which of course again adds more potential strain to the purse strings.
Why is the Cynthiana Battlefields Foundation different? Perhaps in many ways we aren't - we are a local group, vying to be a regional group, that is working on preservation and interpretation of two relatively small engagements out of the hundreds of battles and engagements that took place during the Civil War. But in one aspect, we are different than most...there is a passion to tell the story, and realistically the Cynthiana sites are like a chunk of clay waiting to be shaped. While there are some areas that have been "lost" due to subdivision and even a hospital, there are also several sites that are pristine, or relatively easy to fully interpret. In this case, your support of the CBF really becomes a way to help mold the story. In a sense, you are getting in on the ground floor and your dollars and input can really help drive our direction and success.
Also, on a local level, your dollars do have an immediate impact. The money isn't held in D.C., it isn't sent for something other than what you intended, and in a way it is shopping local as the money is used for things that improve the local economy via tourism. If we buy tour signs or split rail posts, you can see your money at work. And adding to our tour stops and enhancing the tour experience brings more visitors into Cynthiana. Our budget is strictly for developing the immediate area. You can make a difference!
So, yes, this in effect, is a plea for you to become a member or donate. Online it is easy to do, using PayPal (and if you do not have a PayPal account you can still support using a credit card on PayPal's secure site). The link to our "shop" is HERE. Please consider our grass roots group, one filled with passion for telling a local story of the war, and one that you can really make an impact not only financially, but by also attending an upcoming event or volunteering your talents (we can use all sorts of folks to assist us).