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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 volunteers, with the public? It’s a two-way street. It...

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Othering

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

Othering

Three weeks ago, Vu Le (formerly Non-Profit with Balls, and now Non-Profit AF) wrote a critique of donor-centric fundraising. In his post, he complained about the whole idea that donors should be in the center of what non-profits do, “I just don’t believe that donors should be in the center of non-profit work, or even in the center of fundraising work.” I’ve spent the past two weeks analyzing his post and making the case that the center is where everyone else is and that donors should be at the center also. (See What is a Donor? And What is “Donor-Centric”? and More Counterpoint on...

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Untying the Budget Knots

Posted by on Apr 25, 2017 in Featured, Plans and Budgets, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Untying the Budget Knots

Untying the Budget Knots

I am working with an organization right now that needs to reboot their fundraising systems. They sent out their fall appeal last year and their renewal notices this year using email. It was a well-meaning but misguided attempt to save money – because their fundraising hasn’t been all that good lately. They didn’t even send renewal notices to everyone on their list because they didn’t have email addresses for everyone. I suggested that they mail a sequence of renewal letters, using paper and envelopes and stamps. Their initial answer was that there wasn’t money in the budget for stamps. I’ve...

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How Much is Your Obsession with Overhead Costing You?

Posted by on Apr 4, 2017 in Donor Cultivation, Featured, Plans and Budgets, Uncategorized | 6 comments

How Much is Your Obsession with Overhead Costing You?

Let’s say you get fundraising letters from two different land trusts with similar missions and similar geographies. The first raises $150,000 per year and brags that 95% of every dollar goes to programs. The second raises $500,000 per year, and you learn from Guidestar that they have a 25% overhead. Which one are you more impressed with? Which one should you be more impressed with? Which one would you give to? Would you support the land trust that is actively using $142,500 to protect land every year or to the organization that is using $375,000? Now turn the scenario around. Compared with...

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Is Your Acknowledgement Process like a Torn Seat Cover?

Posted by on Mar 21, 2017 in Communication, Donor Cultivation, Featured, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Is Your Acknowledgement Process like a Torn Seat Cover?

Is Your Acknowledgement Process like a Torn Seat Cover?

Picture this: Small land trust organization, but large enough to have staff. Executive Director is terrific but does everything and lives some miles away. Sometimes works from home and is often out of the office. Part-time Administrative Assistant (AA) – 15 hours a week. No other staff. AA picks up the mail twice a week from the post office and separates out the envelopes that obviously contain checks. Those envelopes will need to be opened in the presence of a second individual. They go into a locked file drawer. Most weeks, on Friday, the AA is joined by a volunteer. Any checks not...

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Can Strategic Planning Help You Raise Money?

Posted by on Mar 7, 2017 in Donor Cultivation, Featured, Plans and Budgets, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Can Strategic Planning Help You Raise Money?

Can Strategic Planning Help You Raise Money?

You bet! And here’s how: FIRST, strategic planning quantifies what you want to accomplish in the next five years. That means you can take a stab at what it will actually cost to do all that. As a general rule, the costs will roll-up into two separate fundraising goals. The first goal is the capital goal. It includes all the expenses that will be one-time expenses. Land acquisitions, endowment, equipment and vehicle purchases, and trail building all fall into this category. You need to raise a specific amount of money over a specific period of time. You get that thing done, and move on. The...

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