Economic Impact Statement - Conservators Center

Our Economic Impact

At the Conservators Center, we believe that educating the public about exotic animals—and introducing the next generation to the importance of protecting rare species that they may otherwise have never heard of—is a noble and necessary cause. As a nonprofit organization we are proud of our mission, our goals, and the community that supports them.

Two of the most important hallmarks of a high-functioning nonprofit are the active participation in (and benefit to) a global industry, and the presence of an effective business model.  Both of which ultimately provides the resources necessary to care for our animal resources.

With every ticket purchase and gift shop sale, visitors to the Conservators Center help support our animal residents and our educational mission. We have hundreds of amazing Lifetime Adopters, volunteers, and donors who help ensure that our animals have everything they need to be safe, healthy, and happy.

We are proud to sustain most of our operations by serving as a popular education and tourism destination that reconnects people with wildlife.  In addition, the Center provides a positive economic impact at both the the local and state levels.

Driving Resources to Our Local Community

The Conservators Center attracts more than 16,000 visitors annually from across the region, state, and country; we also welcome international visitors. Some make their visit part of a day trip, others stay in the area for the weekend.

According to TripAdvisor, the Conservators Center is the top-rated tourist attraction in Burlington, a city that acts as a geographic and economic hub between North Carolina’s Triangle and Triad regions. The positive economic impact of our programs to both Caswell and Alamance Counties is substantial. Many tour participants patronize a wide variety of businesses. When asked about other things to do nearby, or the best places to eat or shop, we always suggest locally owned businesses in the area.

Over one hundred volunteers, staff members, donors, and interns from across the state also make regular trips to the Conservators Center via Highways 119 and 62, and similarly patronize local businesses in the process. Some highly dedicated individuals have even relocated locally and now live, eat, shop, and pay taxes in the area.

Though the postal service has given us a Burlington address, the Conservators Center is proud to be located in southern Caswell County. The Department of Commerce has defined Caswell County as a Tier 1 economically distressed county, and it is ranked as 95th in total expenditures by travelers according to a study prepared for the North Carolina Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development by the U.S. Travel Association in 2012. The Conservators Center brings economic value to a rural, agricultural county that is home to just under 24,000 residents.

This is the perfect location for our organization and we love being an integral part of this community. Our local officials, state representatives, and neighbors are supportive of our mission, and the relationship we have with our wonderful first responders ensures comprehensive cooperation in the event of an emergency at our facility.

Our integration into this close-knit, rural area enables us to purchase materials from local businesses whenever possible—especially as animal care requires enormous amounts of material. We also have the privilege to develop relationships with our incredible suppliers and our business and community outreach program, Partners of the Pride.

Our emphasis on cross-promotion with other local business entities helps ensure the Center’s place as an active participant in, and ongoing contributor to the economy of the surrounding areas.

Contributing to the State's Economy

In 2016 alone, over 16,000 visitors chose us as a destination. Sometimes we are their sole purpose for travel, and other times we are part of a day trip or a longer traveling tour, which often includes visiting other sites and businesses in the state.

According to the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits, nonprofit organizations have a $38.5 billion annual impact on the state’s economy. One out of every 10 jobs in North Carolina is in the nonprofit sector, and overall nonprofit employment grew by 18% between 2007 and 2013, a period when overall employment in North Carolina declined.

In addition to supporting a robust workforce in a rural setting, the Center contributes to the regional economy by employing local contractors and businesses specializing in areas such as construction, carpentry, fencing, auto repair, landscaping, and veterinary services. And while exempt from certain taxes because of our status as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, we create revenue by paying sales tax and payroll taxes generated by our business.

The total annual direct outlay by the Conservators Center and its visitors generates an economic impact of roughly $1.8 million.* The Center has experienced growth in visitorship every year since opening to the public in 2007, bolstered by enhanced educational offerings and ongoing improvements to the park and visitor experience. This growth allows us to enhance the services we provide to our local and state economy, and it allows us to further support our animal residents and increase the reach of our mission.

The citizens of North Carolina have shown us incredible generosity with their visits, volunteer efforts, and direct donations to our nonprofit. We are honored to show our gratitude by being an integral economic part of our industry at the local and the state level.

*As calculated with multipliers using the standard model employed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).