November 28, 2016|By Alisa Borland| Support our Efforts

Sometimes when I tell people what I do for a living, they say, “Oh I could never ask someone for money.” They’re surprised when I respond, “Me either!” I stumbled into fundraising 16 years ago, when I realized that something I really enjoy doing—talking to people about the work we were doing—is actually the core aspect of fundraising.

The best part of my job is speaking with people about their passion for nature. Before we even discuss what The Conservation Fund is working on, I like to hear stories about why nature is important to someone. Because whether we live in a city or a rural community, many of us crave the outdoors to relax and reconnect or to exercise and push our limits. Almost all the stories I hear start out with outdoor childhood experiences, like camping with the family, their first visit to a national park, or simply playing in the woods or jumping in creeks.

GIvingTuesday Greenseams Heidel Baker Farm c Ivan LaBianca 120161018 0 14In partnership with the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, our Greenseams program has protected 104 properties, preserving 3,383 acres of flood-prone land within the greater Milwaukee region—an area that includes 28 communities and 1.1 million people. Properties are chosen for their proximity to water, their water-absorbing soils, environmental corridor and natural area designations and their connection to public spaces. Photo by Ivan LaBianca.

It’s the combination of the visceral need for nature and the logical understanding that protecting our natural resources is imperative to a healthy planet that spurs people to action. Our donors want to use their philanthropy to save important lands. They also respond to the Fund’s community level engagement, to our focus on results and our willingness to create conservation solutions that work for each community.

GIving TUesday Mother Earth Produce NCIF NC copyright Dagny Leonard 1With help from loans through the Natural Capital Investment Fund, Mother Earth Produce is making local, healthy food more accessible in Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina by providing a direct connection between consumers and the farmers who are growing and producing it. Photo by Dagny Leonard.

That’s why I say that I really don’t ask people for money. Instead I help them connect their passion for nature with the work that we’re doing. It’s a win-win.

I’m lucky to work with some of the most creative and hardworking conservationists in the world. They are the boots on the ground every day, and we love to share the stories of the amazing places they work to protect. But our donors can really be considered the quiet heroes of our success. Our donors are the reason the Fund has the time and the capacity to find the best conservation solutions to protect land for people and wildlife to thrive, and protect working lands that create jobs and boost local economies.  

"In looking for an environmental organization to support, The Conservation Fund met our desires perfectly. We wanted to protect our lands and at the same time know that a very high percentage of our donation was actually working toward that goal, rather than supporting the back office. Learning that the Midwest office of The Conservation Fund was in a small Michigan town very dear to us made it only that much better."

- Allison and Daniel Baskes on why they choose to support The Conservation Fund each year

And we take the trust that our donors put in us very seriously. We make sure that we’re using contributions wisely. That’s why we keep our team small and our operations lean, committing to put 96 cents of every dollar directly to conservation. And that’s why we focus on results, so that all gifts are making a real impact.

We don’t have a traditional fundraising set-up where you join a membership, only to find yourself inundated with mail asking for more money, or calendars, stamps, and tote bags thanks to your membership dues. Those memberships are expensive for charities to maintain and suck up valuable time and resources that could be better spent. Instead we have a loyal and committed group of donors who make conservation a reality and don’t expect tokens in return. 

GIving Tuesday TimFitzharrisLocated deep in the Rio Grande Valley at the southeastern tip of Texas, the 97,000-acre Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge is a world-renowned birding destination and home to one of the two remaining ocelot populations in the nation. The Conservation Fund has purchased land and conservation easements to protect and expand this land, as well as planted trees to restore the native thick brush that provides habitat for both birds and ocelots. Photo by Tim Fitzharris.

Our board members also recognize that our work is more important now than ever. And they want to help make every donation to The Conservation Fund go even farther this year. They have put together an unprecedented match opportunity for the Fund’s donors. In honor of Giving Tuesday (November 29, 2016) and until December 19, every online gift will be matched dollar for dollar (up to $150,000). Giving Tuesday is a wonderful way to include charitable giving as part of the giving season.

“Sue and I are fortunate to be involved with The Conservation Fund. The staff are dedicated to their work and leaders in the field of conservation. We feel it is vitality important to support the work of the Fund as it grows and continues to play a key role in protecting, enhancing and preserving urban as well as rural open spaces in America so that future generations can enjoy the wondrous beauty of being outside!”
- The Conservation Fund board member Jay Wagley on why he is matching donor gifts this season

With nature all around us, it’s easy to take it for granted. But the natural, historic and cultural lands we love need permanent protection. At The Conservation Fund, our belief that conservation should work for America drives us to create solutions that make environmental and economic sense, and has led to the protection of 7.8 million acres of land across all 50 states. We’ve accomplished so much while consciously staying lean, by leveraging resources, relationships and most importantly, dollars.

I hope you will join our loyal and generous donors on Giving Tuesday—November 29, 2016—to give back to nature. We will work every day to maximize your donation.

Giving Tuesday postcard 2016