16 Oct Rally Reflections – 2018
By David Allen, Development for Conservation
In my groups and workshops, I always ask how many people are First Timers. It gives me a chance to repeat my best advice for newbies:
Rally (and any conference) can be overwhelming the first time. Your job then is to come back with ONE idea that you can implement right away to make a difference for your land trust.
Take great notes and lots of them. Don’t try to filter. Just try to capture the experience. Get as many names to go with the ideas as possible. Who could you reach out to when you want to know more about that?
But then come back with just one idea that you can implement right away – and the commitment to actually do it!
Then collect all your notes. Put them in a file – in a safe place. And forget about them.
Make an appointment with yourself for sometime in the future – maybe four to six months from now. Take yourself out to coffee or lunch. And take that file with you. Relive the entire Rally experience from your notes and musings.
Your job, over that coffee or lunch, is to find ONE idea that you can implement right away to make a difference for your land trust.
In both cases, if you get more than one, good for you. But the key is in the implementation. If you get two ideas from Rally that you implement, you will have gotten your money’s worth.
OK, so I learned some things, too. Here are a few of my notes:
EPIC – Engaging People in Conservation
This comes from the West Virginia Land Trust, though there may be others using it as well. I love it!
Land Trust Days
A year or so ago, an article in LTA’s Saving Land magazine, described a program in Rhode Island called “Land Trust Days”. The program is now in its seventh year.
“Land Trust Days” features preserved land activities from as many of Rhode Island’s land trusts as possible – full moon walks, twilight paddles, forest hikes, bonfires, country fairs, and much more. It runs from mid-August to mid-September, across the Labor Day weekend and includes both end-of-summer and beginning-of-school-year activities.
I love it as a way to promote the value of land conservation and market the value of land trust organizations. I said so at the time and even suggested it might be something the Alliance might look at nationally.
Several land trust service centers are also picking up the idea, most recently Gathering Waters in Wisconsin.
New RFP resource
Land Trust Alliance is launching a new tool to help connect land trust organizations with qualified consultants. The tool will allow land trust organizations and others to post their Requests for Proposals (RFPs) to the Learning Center. Consultants could then prepare proposals for those they wish to be considered for.
There are lots of benefits for everyone.
- Land trusts will have access to a wider group of qualified consultants. Aside from the obvious you-don’t-know-what-you-don’t-know problems, consultants vary widely in experience, skills, costs, and just about every other dimension.
- Consultants will learn of projects they might not have heard about otherwise.
- Land trusts may eventually have access to a webinar on writing effective RFPs, as well as, to model RFP documents.
I don’t know whether it will make the initial version, but the site may offer feedback opportunities as well, to allow land trusts to comment on their experience with consultants (and consultants to respond, of course).
The tool is not yet live – the Alliance is wisely holding back the launch until they have a critical mass to start.
If you have an RFP or are considering an effort that includes the possibility of hiring a consultant, I encourage you to contact Mary Burke at the Alliance:
Learning (AT) LTA (DOT) org.
My Metrics workshop went as well as I could have hoped. I learned a lot from actually presenting it, and it will be better next time as a result.
I made two points at the beginning – that many of us are counting the wrong things and not engaging science to help direct our fundraising activities.
I’m mentioning it in this post because I ended the session by asking everyone to try something this year as a test. Use the Scientific Method:
- advance a specific theory about what will happen if you do this instead of that;
- devise an experiment to test your theory;
- collect the results;
- draw conclusions; and
- share your results.
If you test something this year or whenever, share with me what you do and what you learn. I will publish your results on this blog so others can learn from your experience.
That was my Rally. How was your Rally?
Cheers, and have a great week.
Photo by Johannes Plenio courtesy of Stocksnap.io.