Are you ready for June?

Are you ready for June?

June is officially here – Yikes! Are you ready? What is on your To-Do List for June?

Here’s what I’m thinking about:

Getting ready to ask my $250 donors to give $1,000 this year – Donor clubs with a $1,000 or greater threshold represent the most significant source of unrestricted fundraising growth available to most land trusts. Writing letters to donors the old-fashioned way – using pen and paper – takes longer and you’ll get plenty of grumbling about it from Board Directors. Nonetheless, few techniques are more effective.

If you want to mail these letters in late September or early October – which would be ideal – you need to have the letters written in August. And that means now – in June – is a great time to start planning it.

From last year’s post: By the way, you’ll get pushback the first time you try this. The most common complaint is that ‘no one could possibly read my handwriting.’ My response is to encourage everyone to take their time with the writing, and work to make it legible. But even if it’s hard for the donor to read, the idea of receiving a handwritten letter is powerful enough to overcome it. And the results will speak for themselves.”

Here are the steps: Plan the Board Hand-Writing Event for August


Publishing my Annual Report – The most important value for an Annual Report is as a sales piece. Done well, the Annual Report can reinforce the theme you chose back in January and the decisions your members made last year to support your work. It seems obvious, but a little thought given here can make a world of difference.

Last year’s post on the topic included a list of DOs and DON’Ts like these:

  • DO include photos and profiles of individual people, and use them to tell your story. A Board Member, for example. Or a land donor, a key volunteer, a member of your stewardship staff, an intern, and so on.
  • DON’T use “full-bleed” photos, meaning photos that run all the way to the edge of the page. Avoiding this means that you will be able to print a few at a time as you need them.

Here’s the full list: Annual Report DOs and DON’Ts


Sharing Good News with my donors: Now (June) is a good time to find some Good News to share as a specific strategy for advancing donor cultivation. Find something that has recently happened and that hasn’t yet been publicized otherwise. Something that you can share with your donors that they won’t have already heard elsewhere.

Here are some ideas: Good News


Housecleaning: June is a good month to clean up your files and your database – or at least set the clean-up in motion. Last year I wrote about both.

In Defense of Paper Filing Systems
Filing/Data Entry


* * * * *


When you make up lists of donors (for example, for the Annual Report), avoid the temptation to include “Anonymous” on the list, or worse yet, “Anonymous (3).” Frankly it just looks dumb, and it might give someone the idea of asking for anonymity.

When people give and the range of their gift becomes public, they can inspire others or at least reinforce someone else’s decision to give. You don’t want to encourage anonymity!

So, when someone requests anonymity, just don’t list them at all.

And let’s all just be quiet about it.




Photo by Aaron Burden, courtesy of

Share this!
1 Comment
  • David Allen
    Posted at 08:58h, 07 June

    From my email this morning:

    “I love this idea to write notes in long hand.”

    – Amy Paterson, CT Land Conservation Council