A Birthday Present to Ourselves

Chris Braunlich

Conservation Volunteers International Program: The name really does not easily roll off the tongue. It is way too long. What were our founders thinking ten years ago when they chose a name for our nonprofit?

They jotted down some ideas

It is not easy to come up with a new name.
A name needs to be unique and memorable.

They started with the idea that the name ought to give people a clue about what the organization does. Sure, lots of companies prefer alphabet soup, but for those of us who are name-challenged, hints are appreciated.

They jotted down some words that came to mind:

The Core Concepts

Next they whittled down the list to the core concepts:

  • Conservation of the environment is at the heart of our mission
  • Volunteers are the key ingredient
  • International destinations like Torres del Paine in Patagonia, our first destination, were most in need of boots-on-the ground help


ConservationVIP is born

Then came the Aha! moment

If they added the word Program at the end – – after all, they planned to organize volunteer programs – – the nickname could be:


YAY! We don’t have to say the whole long name every time we talk about ourselves.

Plus, “VIP” captured other important parts of our vision:

Volunteers are Very Important People

Our Destinations are Very Important Places

We usually use the long name Conservation Volunteers International Program when we first mention our activities, but after that we usually shorten it up to ConservationVIP.

Then, after becoming very attached to the nickname ConservationVIP, we started worrying “what would happen if someone else liked the name as much as we did?” Yikes!

To make a long story very short, we spent a lot of time studying the training materials on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website. To keep costs down we did as much of the registration work ourselves as we could, . . . then we called in a specialist when we needed some expert help. Now, we are happy to announce that we have trademarked the name ConservationVIP®. So, you may notice the registered trademark symbol now when ConservationVIP® writes to you.

Conservation Volunteers International Program was incorporated in June 2007, so June 2017 is our 10th anniversary. If we weren’t so darn busy, we would be throwing a birthday party for ourselves. For me though, trademarking ConservationVIP® is a sweet birthday present. It seems like just the right present for an organization which is growing up.

Happy Birthday ConservationVIP®

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Stephen Crossman

Congrats on the trademark and 10 years. You do amazing things in amazing places. Last falls’ trip to Peru opened my eyes to the conservation issues elsewhere in the world. I used to volunteer two weeks a year domestically, but after that trip I changed to one domestic and one international with your group. Looking forward to this year’s Costa Rica trip.

Paul Adams

Thanks, Stephen! It’s People like you that make our Places so special and give us Purpose!

Tom Young

Met Gene and the team in Torres del Paine, Chile.
Y’all do incredibly important work and it’s hard.
Somehow, it seemed they were also having a great time!
Warmest regards,
Tom Young

Thanks Tom, I agree that Gene and his team have been doing a great job in Torres del Paine.

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