First Thing Tuesday

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 | 0 comments

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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Do You Have Enough Prospects? – A Fresh Take on Gift Charts

Posted by on Jul 11, 2017 in Featured, Membership, Plans and Budgets | Comments Off on Do You Have Enough Prospects? – A Fresh Take on Gift Charts

Do You Have Enough Prospects? – A Fresh Take on Gift Charts

Or – How will we ever raise $100,000 this year?!? If you can make a goal tangible, it will help you imagine it being real, and if you can make it real, you can make it possible. (And frankly, if it’s not possible, you’re better off finding that out early, right?) A gift chart can help. Here’s how. Most of us are familiar with the basics of a gift chart – a list of gifts needed to make a specific goal with higher-level gifts listed first and smaller gifts listed below in descending tiers, sometimes called a donor pyramid. Gift charts are...

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Got Story?

Posted by on Jul 5, 2017 in Featured, Staff Development | 2 comments

Got Story?

One of the problems with field trips is that groups of people make too much noise. “Shhhhh,” the Naturalist said for the third time. “Listen.” For the life of me, all I heard was the wind in the leaves, and the people behind me clomp-clomping on the boardwalk. Wait – back up. Wrong time of year and wrong type of leaves. What was making that sound? Slowly, various members of the group looked down, below the boardwalk, and they showed everyone else where to look. The ground was moving in a way that nearly gave me vertigo. Fiddler crabs....

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Fish Ladders and Project Prospecti (or Maybe Prospectuses)

Posted by on Jun 27, 2017 in Donor Cultivation, Featured | 1 comment

Fish Ladders and Project Prospecti (or Maybe Prospectuses)

We were talking fish ladders. The problem was that many of the culverts on the river were set up too high. The culvert did a great job of moving water under the roadway without damaging the roadbed. It did a lousy job helping fish get upstream, because most of the year, the outlet was a full four feet above the surface of the stream. “We finished the ladder and within five minute a rainbow trout made its way up the ladder.” Whoa. Back up. Within 5 minutes? “Yeah. It’s like that fish had been waiting decades for this spot to get ‘fixed’ so it...

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How Much Does Fundraising Cost?

Posted by on Jun 20, 2017 in Board Development, Featured, Plans and Budgets | Comments Off on How Much Does Fundraising Cost?

How Much Does Fundraising Cost?

Imagine a day when someone walks in the door of your land trust and offers to pay for everything you need to accomplish your mission. Not an invitation to be extravagant, and not crazy stuff, but if money weren’t a barrier, what would it cost to run your land trust? What would you include in your calculations? Your ED salary would be included as well as your program staff. But the fundraising staff would no longer be necessary. You’d probably hang on to your communications staff, too. The newsletter, eNews, social media, and news releases...

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Educating about Protection

Posted by on Jun 13, 2017 in Communication, Donor Cultivation, Featured, Uncategorized | 6 comments

Educating about Protection

Last week, I wrote about how two words – “educate” and “protect” – are used by land trusts in describing what they do but that serve to further distance themselves from the some of the same people they wish to serve – or at least partner with. (See Othering.) In response to the post, Carol asked, “Great article but what’s the solution?” This week’s post will help answer that question. One alternative to the word “educate” was offered by Lisa in another comment, “We use the term ‘engagement.’ How do you engage with your members, with your...

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