Fundraising During a Pandemic: Consulting that May Help


These times are challenging for all of us. There’s no sugar-coating that. But we WILL get through this – come out the other side. The land trust community (explicitly including donors and volunteers!) and even the larger nonprofit community are part of the new normal that is being forged right now.

We are part of the solution.

Development for Conservation may be able to help your organization raise money, even without being there in person. I have streamlined several processes and adapted others for use in a virtual environment. The following is a list I have already considered. Perhaps there are other ideas. Feel free to reach out.


Just Call or Email

Got a question? It costs you nothing to call me, and if I can help you, I will. Most consultants are like that, by the way. They stay in business because they answer their phone. If your question is quick, most are happy to render an opinion.

Just call.



I’ve done two types of assessments in the past. The Development Assessment is a quick analysis of your fundraising program based on a standard approach to fundraising metrics generally accepted as best practices. I look at some of your materials and analyze five years’ worth of giving data to generate a 3-4-page Findings Report.

For most small to medium-sized organizations the analysis runs around $2,000. It was designed to be conducted virtually.

Development Audit is a deeper dive into the data and materials. I interview staff and Board members about their relationship to and involvement in fundraising. And I not only report on what is happening, but also why it is happening. The Development Audit report is much more extensive and is intended to serve as a strategic guidance document for several years.

My Development Audit process has been redesigned to be conducted virtually and runs between $5,200 and $6,500 for most organizations.


Strategic Fundraising Planning

Most fundraising planning efforts start with what was raised last year in gross receipts. Strategic Fundraising Planning starts with what the organization needs to raise in the future – what its mission programs will actually cost. Then it looks carefully at current activities with an eye to return on investment. In other words, what are the activities actually producing in net receipts.

As is true with most planning efforts, the more important deliverable is consensus. Therefore, it has been important to involve as many Board members in the planning exercise as possible. That is still true in a virtual environment.

Strategic Fundraising Plans are five-year plans designed to deliver required net results to fund program activities. If I have been involved in the Strategic Planning work, the Strategic Fundraising Plan can be developed for another $5,200-6,500. If not, it adds another $650.


Organizational Strategic Planning

Yes, I can also help with Strategic Planning work. In fact, now is a particularly good time to talk about redoing your Strategic Plan. I work with a partner for organizational development work, including Strategic Plans. The process we recommend is inclusive and engages members, funders, partners, and volunteers in addition to all staff and all Board members. We are fully prepared to conduct the entire exercise virtually, even the planning retreat!

Being inclusive means that the work tends to take a little longer and cost a little more than some other consultants, but we bring three elements to the table that make it worthwhile:

  • We specialize in conservation groups,
  • We set up the process so that fundraising for the plan is one of the expected outcomes, and
  • We keep it moving and fun for those most heavily involved.


And so far, we’ve been able to do that in a virtual environment as well.

Strategic Planning fees are highly variable depending on the number of people involved, and the specific role defined for the consulting work. Let’s talk about what might be appropriate for your organization.


Board Giving Campaigns

Do your Board members all give? How are they asked? Is it left to chance, or are they asked to support every fundraising activity your land trust engages in?

I can help you structure an annual Board Giving Campaign that both honors their position as organizational leaders and keeps them from feeling “nickeled and dimed.” And I will do so in such a way that is replicable in future years as part of the organizational board culture.

The service can be easily conducted virtually and runs about $2,000 for most organizations.


Fundraising Program Development

Need to set up a giving club or a planned giving program? Want to design a coordinated Annual Giving Campaign for the Fall? Need to hire staff, develop gift policies, or charter a Development Committee?

I can help. I get paid based on deliverables, not time. I will propose a specific fee for a specific deliverable. Let’s talk.



My coaching service is still available and still relevant for those who might need a little structured help every month or so. You can find a full description here.



DonorSearch is an electronic screening service that includes both philanthropic and political giving information in addition to wealth. The benefit of electronic screening is that an organization can see what its members give to other organizations.

I used to recommend against such services for small to medium-sized land trusts because it was hard to justify the cost. However, I now have a Master account with DonorSearch and the annual subscription for any sub-account is a quarter of the normal fee. The demo is free and the support desk is my phone.


David Allen
Development for Conservation
608  two-three-nine  5006
David (at) DevelopmentForConservation (dot) com



Photo by JacLou DL from Pixabay





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