First Thing Tuesday

Cultivating Top Donors

Posted by on Jan 16, 2018 in Donor Cultivation, Featured, Plans and Budgets | 2 comments

Cultivating Top Donors

I’m working with three clients right now who are each planning for 2018 cultivation of top prospects. January is an ideal time to do this exercise. Most of these prospects (not all) will be solicited in the Fall, and right now we have 9 or 10 months in which to plan meaningful engagement that will help them say Yes! later. My top prospects include just about anyone who will be singled out for special cultivation attention. In other words, not treated simply as a group. One client is working with more than 100 such prospects. The other two are...

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Board Members and Donor Stewardship

Posted by on Jan 9, 2018 in Board Development, Featured | 1 comment

Board Members and Donor Stewardship

When I ask land trust Board members to name the individual donor or family who has contributed the most over the last five years or so, about four of five can answer correctly. (I typically exclude land donors.) If I restrict the request to non-Board members, the rate drops a little. And if I ask for the top three or five, the rate drops a lot. But then I show them a list of the land trust’s top 20 donors (over the most recent five-year period and ask, “How many of these people have you met or talked with over the past five years?” The...

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And that brings us ‘round to Do, oh, oh, oh……

Posted by on Jan 2, 2018 in Featured, Staff Development | 1 comment

And that brings us ‘round to Do, oh, oh, oh……

Start again. January of another year. 2017 is over. History. Fa, sol, la, ti, Done. And January brings us ‘round again “to Do.” 2018 yawns before us. It could be anything. What will it be for you? January is a good time for reflection. Where have we been? How did we get here? What could we have done differently? What have we learned?   *     *     *     *     *     *     *     * For example: Do you hold on to your email? You shouldn’t. It clogs up the server, and someone once told me that claiming they have to go through your email is a...

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How will Tax Reform Affect Donor Giving in the Future?

Posted by on Dec 26, 2017 in Donor Cultivation, Featured | 3 comments

How will Tax Reform Affect Donor Giving in the Future?

First of all, I hope that your holiday celebration was warm and cheerful and surrounded by family and good food. Mine certainly was, and I am grateful. I’m getting more than a few requests for help thinking through the potential changes in the charitable giving landscape due to the tax reform package Congress passed last week. Before I attempt to do so, let me first disclaim that: I am not an attorney, and I have not actually waded through the 500-or-so-page tax document (the same could likely be said for many members of Congress). So, what...

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Planning for Year-End

Posted by on Dec 19, 2017 in Donor Cultivation, Featured, Membership | Comments Off on Planning for Year-End

Planning for Year-End

Happy Holidays everybody! I hope that the season finds you warm and comfortable, surrounded by family and good food. I spent the past week sending out Holiday messages to land trust friends and clients all over the country. A lot of them by email. And I was impressed by the number of emails that came back right away with Out-of-Office replies. It reminded me of a post that I wrote in2015.   It is still relevant today, so I’ve reprinted it, only slightly updated, here.   *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *   Let’s...

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The Search for Renewal

Posted by on Dec 5, 2017 in Featured, Fundraising Letters, Membership | Comments Off on The Search for Renewal

The Search for Renewal

Among the data points I get back from my website each week is the number of “page hits” I get from the top twenty or so most popular pages. The most popular page right now is a 2015 post of Writing Renewal Letters. And it has been for about the last month. If the popularity of that page somehow reflects how many of you are spending your time in November and December, let me point out that one of the points of that post was a recommendation to write your renewal letters for the year in February. Get that activity out of the end-of-year flurry!...

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Gratitude and Gratefulness

Posted by on Nov 28, 2017 in Donor Cultivation, Featured | 2 comments

Gratitude and Gratefulness

I hope you had a fun Thanksgiving holiday weekend. It was an interesting Thanksgiving for me, set up by a Circle Practice discussion last Wednesday morning. Circle Practice is a ritualized weekly gathering of friends to discuss questions that come up for us in our lives. The question that came forward last week was “How does gratitude show up for you?” Not the more traditional, “What are you grateful for?” but rather “How does gratitude show up in your life?” The best Circle questions stay with me a while, and this one lasted all weekend. A...

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How’s that YouTube Channel Coming?

Posted by on Nov 21, 2017 in Communication, Featured | 7 comments

How’s that YouTube Channel Coming?

If you have not done so recently, go to Google (the number one search engine in the world) and type in the name of your land trust. See what comes up. Were you first on the resulting list? Were you on the first page? Now go to the number two search engine in the world. Do you know what it is? Hint: it’s YouTube. Repeat the exercise: type in the name of your land trust. See what comes up. Were you first on the resulting list? Were you on the first page? The fact that YouTube is second should not come as a surprise to anyone by now. If you were...

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Fundraising Horses and Scarcity Mentality

Posted by on Nov 7, 2017 in Featured, Plans and Budgets | 2 comments

Fundraising Horses and Scarcity Mentality

I made an interesting connection the other day, and it feels important. I would be interested in your thoughts. For years, I’ve been preaching that so-called “support services,” including fundraising, should be separated from mission work in the Strategic Planning process. But the failure to do so may be connected to scarcity mentality and may even feed the concern about overhead. First – strategic planning. The mental model Nancy Moore and I (working as Conservation Consulting Group) use to guide organizations through strategic planning is...

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Getting Your Money’s Worth from Rally

Posted by on Oct 31, 2017 in Board Development, Featured, Staff Development | 1 comment

Getting Your Money’s Worth from Rally

I returned yesterday from the Land Trust Alliance’s Annual “Rally” Conference in Denver. It was easily one of the two or three best Rally’s I’ve attended. The venue was terrific. The workshops were engaging and increasingly inclusive of difficult topics such as Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and Gender Bias. And Denver turned out its glorious best weather for us. Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation Vice President Anita O’Gara and I conducted a four-hour seminar on Annual Giving strategies that drew a sold-out audience, and I reprised my...

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