First Thing Tuesday

Five for Five at Five

Posted by on Oct 17, 2017 in Donor Cultivation, Featured | 2 comments

Five for Five at Five

“Mary” was 92 years old when I met her. She was giving the land trust $25,000 each year and was the largest donor by far. And she knew it. She was naturally worried about what would happen to the land trust when she passed away. So I suggested that she endow her annual gift. “Five for five at five,” I told her. “Give five times your annual gift – $125,000 – each year for five years. The land trust will pull the first $25,000 each year as a continuation of your annual gift. And they’ll invest the rest. After five years, they will have a...

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Because Words Matter

Posted by on Oct 10, 2017 in Communication, Featured | 0 comments

Because Words Matter

Back in June, I wrote about two words – Educate and Protect – that we use all the time and should probably reconsider. You can find the full post here: Othering. “The underlying frame of reference is that the public doesn’t know what’s good for them or what solutions might be out there for their particular issues and problems. We do! We have science and technology and GIS, and together with two scoops of hubris, we’re well positioned to show them exactly what to do in their own best interest. They just need to be educated.” This week, I’ll...

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Fundraising Planning is about Process, Not Form

Posted by on Oct 3, 2017 in Featured, Plans and Budgets | 0 comments

Fundraising Planning is about Process, Not Form

Well-Meaning Tom: Nothing seems to be working. DA: What’s not working? Well-Meaning Tom: Fundraising! DA: Not working how? Well-Meaning Tom: Not working like we’re not where we should be by now. Not working like when I ask the board members to help they just stare at me – or worse say they will and then don’t. Not working like I can’t do this all by myself. DA: You sound overwhelmed and frustrated. Well-Meaning Tom: You can say that again. DA: It also sounds like a problem of buy-in. Let’s see your Development Plan. Well-Meaning Tom: Plan?...

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Three Short Takes to Get You Thinking This Fall

Posted by on Sep 12, 2017 in Communication, Featured, Foundations | Comments Off on Three Short Takes to Get You Thinking This Fall

Three Short Takes to Get You Thinking This Fall

Short Take #1 – Crafting newsletter headlines and email subject lines “On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy.” – David Ogilvy   In a blog post from last February, Claire Axelrod listed five ideas for writing more effective headlines and email subject lines. I suggest you read the entire article, 5 Proven Content Strategies to Convert More Nonprofit Customers to Donors, but here’s the gist: Testimonial – use a direct quote from a donor or a landowner to draw the reader into the article or...

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A Sweet Spot

Posted by on Sep 5, 2017 in Donor Cultivation, Featured, Membership | 1 comment

A Sweet Spot

Quick Question: How would you go about doubling your operating revenue in the next five years or so? In a recent Learning Center thread, a writer asked for information about membership numbers and growth rates. She explained that she was “not wanting to promise wildly inaccurate numbers and also want to know what type of growth rate for which to realistically aim.” Several people, including me, responded with experience and ideas – all of which were helpful for the question she asked. But was she asking the right question? I was reminded of...

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The Hidden Fact That Will Change the Way You Write Appeal Letters

Posted by on Aug 15, 2017 in Communication, Featured, Membership | 3 comments

The Hidden Fact That Will Change the Way You Write Appeal Letters

If you’re smart, you won’t wait until November to write your end-of-year appeal. If you’re really smart, you will have already written it. OK so most of us aren’t that smart. But the fact still remains that it’s not too early to get a good start on it for 2017.     It’s fall! Time to give. So, here’s my general advice for approaching the task of getting to that first draft of the appeal letter: Start with a story. Return to the story at several points in the letter. List your board members down the left-hand side of the first page....

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Don’t Overdo Renewal Letters

Posted by on Aug 8, 2017 in Featured, Membership | 3 comments

Don’t Overdo Renewal Letters

Many land trusts renew their members in the Fall and many are now scrambling to produce renewal letters. Some I’ve seen, and they lead me to make the following recommendation to everyone: Don’t overdo it! Renewal letters need to do three things: They need to remind me of WHY I’m a member. They need to remind me of what I gave last year. And they need to suggest an increased level of support this year. And they need to do all that in an emotional – not data-driven – way. The most common way to overdo it is to try and resell the donor on the...

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Fundraising Net Versus Fundraising Gross

Posted by on Aug 1, 2017 in Featured, Plans and Budgets | Comments Off on Fundraising Net Versus Fundraising Gross

Fundraising Net Versus Fundraising Gross

What would it be like for you if your fundraising work was measured by the net instead of the gross? Actually, let’s start with a different question: In times of financial stress, would you cut the fundraising budget? I read an interesting article just before the recession of 2008 and 2009 in which the writer was pointing out that the majority of money managers in the U.S had never seen a bear market. (That’s not true any longer.) I reflected at the time that the same was true of fundraisers. When we’ve never had to deal with fundraising in a...

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What Makes a Good Letter of Intent?

Posted by on Jul 25, 2017 in Featured, Foundations | Comments Off on What Makes a Good Letter of Intent?

What Makes a Good Letter of Intent?

Many foundations use a pre-proposal system called a Letter of Intent, Letter of Inquiry, or simply LOI. They do this to save themselves – and you – the time preparing and reviewing complex proposals that are going nowhere. It’s a good system, but it places a heavy emphasis on the LOI – if you are successful, the foundation will invite the full proposal. But hey – no pressure, right? The LOI should be written to communicate at least three things: That you have researched the foundation and know the project fits their guidelines; That this is a...

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Make Plans to Give AND Get This Year

Posted by on Jul 18, 2017 in Board Development, Featured | 2 comments

Make Plans to Give AND Get This Year

It’s July 18. This is a challenge to Give AND Get at least $2,000 between now and the end of the year. This post is for all the board members who might be reading this blog. It’s also for the other volunteers and staff who might be looking for something to pass along to board members who don’t read this blog. So OK. I get it. Some of you are giving and getting a LOT more than $2,000. Thank YOU!! I’m not really talking to you. I’m talking to all the other board members who are not even close to this number. You’ve heard of Give OR Get? This is...

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