Verna Simpson has used her business and marketing expertise to benefit wildlife conservation. In 1981, while managing the largest mail-order company in Australia, she became Director of the newly-founded Fund for Animals Australia (FFA). Within a few years, FFA became the largest membership group in the country, renowned for its work on endangered species, wildlife trade and conservation work in Antarctica. While still at FFA, she raised the funds to set up a TRAFFIC AustralAsia office and a small-grants programme for other non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
In 1983, she bought Australia's environmental magazine Simply Living, which under her guidance flourished and received two Media Peace Prizes from the UN Association of Australia.
As a consultant to the country's premier environmental NGOs, e.g. the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Wilderness Society and Greenpeace Australia, she brought their membership and fund raising capabilities to unknown success. She set up Greenpeace's Friends of the Rainbow Warrior scheme, which is today the backbone of the organization's finances.
Verna produced two bestseller books: Environmentally Friendly Household Hints and Australia's Endangered Species. She was a founding-director of the Australian Bush Heritage Fund, now Australia's largest non-government purchaser of land for conservation, and the country's most financially prosperous NGO. In 1994, she set up Humane Society International (HSI) and in five years made it one of the largest and most successful NGOs in the country.