Allowing People to Care

Allowing People to Care


20 October 2020


By David Allen, Development for Conservation


As a fundraiser, I can honestly say that the future has never seemed more uncertain than it is right now. In many ways, it feels like we are teetering on the edge of something truly horrible (great depression?, civil war?), but I still believe paralysis or even hesitation will prove to be a mistake.

How can you say that?

Because people care and want to help. Including some people you’ve never even met.


  • Just after 9/11, a good friend and former boss told me he was going down to donate blood.
  • Just after Katrina, my stepfather traveled to Louisiana to volunteer with the clean-up effort.
  • Just after Trump was elected in 2016, a woman brought a $10,000 check to a Connecticut land trust.


Faced with anxiety and depression. We are moved to act. To do something. To Care.

Now is such a time. Regardless of what happens in two weeks. Regardless of what happens to the stock market. Regardless of how long we are under the influence of a global pandemic.

Now is not a time for complacency. Now is not a time for paralysis. Now is not a time for hesitation.

Now is a time for being ready.


First, and most importantly, take care of yourself. Get outside. Go for a walk or a paddle. Listen to your heart. Find the joy. Welcome in the healing.

I was out last night and heard an owl conversation carried on between at least three individuals in my neighborhood. OK – so perhaps I was in their neighborhood.


Give yourself. Give money, volunteer, or even give blood. Put yourself in the mindset of generosity. Of responding by acting.


Understand that there are people who love you and the conservation work you are getting done. Who care that your land trust survives. Who see that helping you is something they can do. How they can make a difference. How they can act.

Take this as a leap of faith if necessary.


Focus on a point beyond the next two weeks. The end of the year, or perhaps even next Spring. How can you reach out to people who want to help? How can you ready yourself and your organization to receive caring and help? How do you communicate relevance, resiliency, love, appreciation, and hope? How can you be there for them?


These next few weeks, I want to use this space to stay positive for you. Next week, I have a poem that speaks volumes. Then November 3 with a simple message about voting. And then the look ahead to the end of the year.

You can help me. Send me positive news about relevance, resiliency, love, appreciation, and hope from where you are.

Because whatever happens, we are part of the solution. We are the ones we have been waiting for.


Stay safe and stay well,




Photo by lumix2004 courtesy Pixabay



Share this!
  • Renee’ Carey
    Posted at 17:16h, 20 October

    Last weekend I signed 446 letters and put a personal note on every, single, one. Today we received 17 donations and I received 3 notes back. Those 3 notes made the 446 notes I wrote worth it.

  • Rick Newton
    Posted at 11:23h, 20 October

    This replay of a TedTalk hour program might be worth listening to…. stubborn optimism.

  • Heidi Habeger
    Posted at 09:33h, 20 October

    This whole year has been a roller coaster and last week Monday was another example of this. We have an incredible anonymous donor who for the past several years has been giving the match for our #GT and year-end appeal. On Monday they pledged to give $75,ooo this fall. That same day one of our good friends / volunteers / supporters called to share that her niece has committed suicide. These are not easy times and it is more important than ever to be there for each other. Thank you David for reminding us of this. Considered yourself hugged. Heidi Habeger, Groundswell Conservancy

    • David Allen
      Posted at 09:47h, 20 October

      Weathering the emotional storms of our work is incredibly hard as people share with us all the triumphs and tragedies of whatever is raw in the moment for them. It is so important that we are there, and so important too that we take the time to take care of ourselves. I am grateful for your comment. Congratulations on inspiring the generosity of your matching gift donors. And take good care of yourself and your Groundswell staff.

  • Jill Boullion
    Posted at 09:25h, 20 October

    Thanks for focusing on the positive, David! We just wrapped up our Fall Ambassador training this past Saturday, and participants are already plugging in to committees and volunteer projects. Our final module instructors were blown away by how enthusiastic and engaged this group was. People are craving connection and getting outdoors more than ever!

    • David Allen
      Posted at 09:51h, 20 October

      Thank you for sharing this Jill. I appreciated that you were able to be a part of the Rally presentation on Creative Strategies for Engaging Members and Donors by sharing the success of BLC’s Ambassador Program. If anyone hasn’t seen it, the workshop was recorded and is still available on the Rally website.

  • Carol Abrahamzon
    Posted at 08:40h, 20 October

    Per your advice, I sent our YEA letter the 1st week of October. I am positively shocked at the generous response we have received in the first week after the mailing. It has given me a lot of hope. Thank you for all you do to help all of us David.

    Together in conservation,
    Carol Abrahamzon
    Mississippi Valley Conservancy

    • David Allen
      Posted at 09:12h, 20 October

      Thank you Carol – I’m hearing of similar responses to early appeal letters from all corners of the country.