Take a Hike!

Take a Hike!


In fundraising for land conservation, we often say that “the land sells itself.” By this we simply mean that if you can get a potential donor out on the land to see, smell, touch – feel – for themselves, often that’s all you need. This isn’t just so much theoretical hogwash. It actually works.



Fundraiser’s Almanac: July

Fundraiser’s Almanac: August

  • Take a Hike!
  • Saturation Mail
  • Membership Drives
  • Join Yourself

It works because the third-person narrative they’ve been reading about or hearing about becomes a first-person experience for them. Your story becomes their story. And instead of just imagining what it must be like, they begin to relate to it personally.

Here’s the thing, though – it works for YOU, too. If your job involves talking to donors or writing to them, your getting out there to see, smell, touch – feel – for yourself becomes really important. Make the conservation projects less about words and maps and pictures, and more about weather and texture and forest perfume. Take someone else’s story and make it yours.

This is an important part of your job, and August is a great month to spend a day “working” out on the land. The most important thing is that you make time and schedule it. But after that, you have lots of options:

  • Plan a trip to see a new project or an old preserve that you’ve never seen. See if you can go with one of the land stewards – ask them to give you a tour.
  • You get extra brownie points for bringing along a Board Member. They need to work on their first-person-hood, too!
  • Plan a day around a scheduled work party or member field trip. You’re not Executive Director or Director of Development or Board Chair today. You are Conservancy Volunteer!
  • Go on a Monitoring Visit. Meet the land owner, walk their property. See the photo points. And learn the process first hand.

This is the good stuff. Make time for it. You’ll be a better fundraiser if you do. And if your boss raises an eyebrow, tell her to call me. I’ll tell her to go take a hike, too!

Tell me what you decide to do and I’ll share it on this blog.

Happy Trails,



PS: Join me at Rally 2015 for an interactive workshop on Practical Planning for Irresistible Communications. Here’s a link to the workshop description: http://alliancerally.org/sessions/practical-planning-for-irresistible-communications/. I would love to see you there!


Photo courtesy of Grandon Harris, Bayfield Regional Conservancy.

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