Make Plans to Give AND Get This Year

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 Give AND Get. Give $1,000 and Raise $1,000 – both. Equals $2,000.

Let’s start with the idea that the organization is worth it. This is a land trust that you believe in; that is doing important work. And this is an important place for you to devote your time and energy. Serving on the Board is a way of broadcasting that importance to the public. This is so important to me that I choose to NOT do some things so I might have the time and talent to serve on this Board instead.

The level of your giving also sends a signal to the public. Donors – including you – think of different organizations differently. This is the organization that I give $1,000, while that organization over there – I only send $35 to them. When you, as a board member send $100 or less, or even $200 or $500, you signal how the Board considers this particular nonprofit organization. And other donors pay attention.

Conversely, when you give $1,000 or more, you send a signal that is more in line with the level of commitment you express through your board service.

The problem, of course is inertia. We don’t give $1,000 because we haven’t ever done so. We don’t see ourselves as donors who could even do that. We’re not rich!

But instead of continuing this narrative, consider instead that the objective is to find a way.

I would have a hard time writing a check for $1,000 on December 31. Lots of people – lots of board members – would also. So that’s out. What else could we do – if we start from believing it’s possible and believing that the land trust work is worthwhile?

I have a friend who took an extra $20 out of the ATM when he bought his groceries every week. The extra cash went into a jar, and the jar had $1,040 in it at the end of the year. Others pay $88 or even $100 each month – making it an automatic withdrawal can help. Another strategy is to collect your change every night in the jar and write a check for the balance at the end of a year. Or pay $250 quarterly, or even erratically if your income is not as predictable.

The point is that if we start by assuming it’s possible and start working on HOW, we discover that we have a of of options.

Kim Klein published an article in her Grassroots Fundraising Journal called 53 Ways for Board Members to Raise $1,000. In the article, Klein also recommends giving it yourself, but she also includes ideas for raising $1,000 and even several possible work plans for doing so.

Again, the main idea is to start by believing it’s possible, and then start working on HOW. Get creative! Here are several adaptations from Klein’s list.

  • Make a list of people you know and write to them yourself. “Write to them on your own stationery, include a brochure from the organization and a return envelope. Phone those people who don’t respond in two weeks. Some people will need 10 friends to give $100, and some people need 50 friends to give $20. Most people will need a combination of gifts of $100, $50 and $25.”
  • Host an event for 50 people – spaghetti, tacos, pancakes, and so on. Tell everyone that it’s a fundraiser for the land trust and charge them $20 to come and eat. Don’t have 50 people to invite? No problem, host three dinners.
  • A variation on the above theme is a progressive dinner – but more expensive and fewer people.
  • Walk, ride, swim, hike, row, or do something else physical over a long time or distance and ask friends and family to sponsor your activity by the mile, lap, or hour. You might even get two or three others to join you.
  • Think of a place where you or your land trust regularly shop. Ask them to donate a portion of their profits on a particular day to the land trust. This will be more effective if the store or service is a land trust vendor also.

So, it’s July 18 today. Don’t wait until December 31 to think about doing something creative this year for your land trust. Think creatively about HOW to give $1,000 and HOW to GET $1,000 before year’s end.

$2,000 – trust me. You can do this, and you’ll feel really good about it. Got other creative ideas you can share? Please post them here.




Photo by Irina Blok courtesy of


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  • Walt Moody
    Posted at 20:03h, 19 July

    I agree but wonder how “you signal how the Board considers this particular nonprofit organization. And other donors pay attention”? Doesn’t this assume donation amounts are made public? How common is that?

    • David Allen
      Posted at 07:20h, 20 July

      Not necessarily. Often, board members become proud of what they collectively give and find times and places to share the information with others. Some foundations and other institutions ask for the information directly and individuals learn of the amount in the process.

      But more commonly, the changes are more subtle. A philanthropist joins the board and measures his/her own giving on what others give. A board member asks a donor to “join me” or “join us” at the $1,000 level, instead of simply asking for a renewal. Lists of donors at the $1,000+ level in the Annual Report or at a donor appreciation event include board members. And board members begin to understand that $1,000 is really not that particularly unattainable. All of these things can have an effect on how the organization begins to see $1,000 gifts and the donors who give them – as more common and less rare.

      Great question. Thank you.