Happy July! Fall Fundraising Starts Now

Happy July! Fall Fundraising Starts Now


by David Allen, Development for Conservation


At some point between now and Christmas, you will be asking just about everyone you know for a gift to your land trust. Some will be asked to “renew.” Some will be asked to make an additional gift this year.

Most will be asked in a letter. Some will be asked by email. Some will be asked in person. Some will receive follow-up letters or emails or even phone calls.

Are you ready?

Are they ready?


What will you ask for?

Why will they say yes?

A few moments spent thinking about these questions now will save you time and energy in the Fall – and just might end up raising more money.


So here’s a planning thought: What would happen if you asked everyone to make a gift twice as large as they gave last year? (And then managed by exception.)

So people who gave $35 last year would be asked to give $70.

Those who gave $100, $200.

$250, $500.

$1,000, $2,000.

And so on.

Clearly, there would need to be exceptions: The elderly widow who penned the nice note with a shaky hand about wanting to do more than the $35 she gave last year. Ask her for “something similar.” The couple who gave $7,300 toward that project just down the road. The long-time member who made a special gift last year in memory of his dog.

Use your best judgment, but ask most everyone else for double.


OK, so why will they say yes?

  1. Because they believe in the mission.
  2. Because they believe in the integrity of the organization.
  3. Because they believe their gift will make a difference.

You have six months, give or take, to deliver these three messages. You have time – but don’t wait too long.

You have several months of opportunities to get donors out onto the land. You have one or two paper newsletters. You have monthly e-blasts, social media, and your website itself. And you have the fundraising letters and packaged materials you write and send.

All of these media can and should be coordinated. Select a set of stories that communicate with your donors that the work continues and their role is vital.

Blogger Jeff Brooks, Future Fundraising Now, recently wrote: “Fundraising that works shows donors what they can accomplish by giving to you. Not what you can accomplish with their giving. That’s a subtle but key difference.

I like that a lot. How will we show donors what they can accomplish by giving?

  • We WON’T get there by reciting all of our past accomplishments.
  • We WON’T get there by focusing our communications on numbers and statistics.
  • We WON’T get there by waiting until October to start thinking about it.
  • We WON’T get there by “educating” them.


We WILL get there by remembering that giving comes from the heart – it is emotional.

We WILL get there by remembering that donors are important members of the group of people getting the work done – they aren’t merely supporting the people getting the work done.

We WILL get there by thinking about all this stuff NOW.


Cheers, and have a great week.




Photo by Rawpixel.com courtesy of Stocksnap.io.

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