We get it, the world’s bombarding you with New Year’s resolutions right now. But how about an easy change you can make that promises to be fulfilling all year round? If you’ve got as little as 30 minutes a month to help the wildlife you love in 2022, read on…

Pick up a pin badge

Pin badges are a vital fundraiser for the RSPB. Pin badge collection volunteers play an important role in placing and checking on charity pin badge boxes in places like cafés, garden centres and shops in their local area.

Last year Covid-19 sent shock waves through the RSPB’s pin badge scheme, and in some areas reduced donations by 90% on the previous year’s income, affecting our work to save nature.

This year we’re looking to rebuild the scheme having sadly lost valued volunteers and pin badge box placements in local communities as a result of the pandemic. The role involves restocking boxes with beautiful enamel wildlife pin badges, and banking donations. It is really flexible, and works around people’s lifestyles, be that studying, working or retirement. What’s more, it can take as little as 30 minutes a month to help make a difference.

Image: just a selection of our popular wildlife inspired pin badges

Get bucket collecting

Bucket collecting is another great way you can volunteer to help raise funds for the RSPB while also engaging with local communities about how wonderful wildlife is. Carol Knott, one of our bucket collectors who has raised over £14,000 for the RSPB over the past 15 years, tells all about her experiences of volunteering for us:

It all began about 15 years ago, with the RSPB’s “Love Nature” fundraising week. I spent a couple of mornings out on the street collecting and that was it – I was hooked. Since then I’ve taken my bucket out onto high streets, into supermarkets and garden centres, to country parks; in fact, anywhere I think I can raise a few pounds to help nature!


Insert image: Carol donning her fantastic starling costume while bucket collecting. 

A very talented employee at the RSPB’s Brighton office made a wonderful starling costume and suggested I might like to try it out to see if attracted attention. Well, that was the understatement of the year!  People often come over just to find out what kind of bird I am and children are fascinated by my sparkly plumage and big yellow beak. I’ve had all sorts of guesses, from peacock (I’ll take that) to turkey (not so sure about that one). One lady even thought I was a mermaid (do they have feathers)?!

It always surprises and delights me how friendly and supportive people are. I’m often blessed to hear tales of people’s encounters with nature; it could be the first sighting of a golden eagle in Scotland, or the arrival of a flock of long-tailed tits on the bird feeder. I sometimes get asked questions, ranging from the sensible - “Why don’t I get many birds in my garden in autumn?” – to the frankly bizarre – “Can I keep a turtle in my bath?”

I’ve heard some sad stories, such as requests for a particular badge that was a favourite of a lost loved one, but some amusing moments too. On one occasion I was having a long chat with a lady about how gulls are under appreciated, when a herring gull made a low flypast and left a large deposit on her head! Luckily she saw the funny side and I found her an appropriate pin badge to wear with pride.

Over the years I’ve collected thousands of pounds but it’s not just about the money. It takes our message out to the general public and brings the RSPB to the notice of people who’ve probably never thought about us before. Most of all, though, it’s great fun to be chatting to people about my passion for nature whilst raising money for the RSPB. I can’t think of a better way to spend a day!

Image: A girl peers through a magnifying glass. Credit: Phil Barnes 

Want to help?

Our conservation work spans a range of species far wider than birds. From mammals to insects and reptiles to birds, here at the RSPB we work to help protect, maintain and restore special places and species, but we couldn’t do this without your help.  

To get involved with either bucket collecting or to look after a pin badge pot near you, simply contact our friendly team of local fundraisers at ComFundraisingEng@rspb.org.uk to get started. There are a wealth of other volunteering opportunities available across the country too - head to rspb.org.uk/volunteer to find out what activities you can get involved in!

After something you can do right this moment?

Joining us in our mission to ensure nature and wildlife are here to enjoy for generations to come can cost as little as £5 a month, with our members already helping us to reverse the fortunes of many of our treasured species and wild spaces.

Donations and memberships help to fund our work:  

  • Maintaining, restoring and growing our network of nature reserves for wildlife and for people 
  • Finding practical solutions to the most pressing conservation problems, whether it's working out how to save a species on the verge of extinction or restoring a destroyed rainforest, through our centre for conservation science 
  • Providing inspiring nature-rich experiences for a range of local community groups including the next generation of conservationists and nature lovers 
  • Working with farmers, landowners and local communities to advise them on how their efforts can help nature through land management practices 

Whether you’re completely new to experiencing nature or you’re already an avid explorer of all things wild, becoming a member of the RSPB means that you can grow your nature connection at any of our 220 reserves across the country for free, as a thank you for regularly supporting our nature conservation work. What’s more, you’ll receive our fantastic Nature’s Home magazine four times a year, packed with stunning photography, nature-watching tips and advice on wildlife gardening for when you’re looking for more inspiration. 

Whatever your New Year’s resolution this year, we’d like to thank everyone for supporting us on our mission to save nature, be that through being a member, one-off donations, visiting our reserves, volunteering or taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch.