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“And I always bring chocolate chip cookies”

November 22, 2010

This is what the attendees of last week's Members' Meeting heard from Megan Ferreira from Save the Redwoods.  She was sitting in front of the 65 attendees along with Ron Brown from Save Mount Diablo, Kristine Ball from Marin Agricultural Land Trust, Reed Holderman from Sempervirens Fund, and Kate Bickert from Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.  All five of them were there to tell Fundraising Stories From and For the Land.  And by all accounts it was an inspiring, and moving, conversation.  

The meeting started, though, with a run-down of the November 2 election by Warner Chabot, CEO of the California League of Conservation Voters.  He shared a sobering yet very enlightening presentation and said "bury your despair about Proposition 21."  His analysis was that voters were simply overwhelmed when they looked at the ballot this year but that they do in fact support parks and open space.  "We have to take the long view," he said, encouraging the conservation community to think four to eight years out.  

There were several themes of the Fundraising Stories shared by our panel.  The first was the utmost importance of relationships.  As Kristine Ball from MALT said, "be nice to everyone."  The second was that there are many ways of connecting land and people.  Ron Brown told a story of a donor who had never actually stepped foot on Mount Diablo but looked at the mountain every day from her kitchen window.  Reed Holderman talked about a donor who made significant contributions to a particular place because of the time he spent there with his children.  And Kate Bickert talked about volunteers and how they served as ambassadors for the land.  By knowing the land themselves they were then able to speak eloquently about it with potential donors.  

But Megan provided the audience with the real take-home: bring chocolate chip cookies to those with whom you want to build a relationship.  It works for her and the park rangers that she wants to have promoting her Grove and Honor Tree Program with park visitors.  

A big thanks to the presenters for sharing their time and experiences.  And also thanks to the Parks Conservancy for a delicious lunch from Back to Earth catering.  

Our next Members' Meeting will be held on Thursday, January 20, 2011.  The speakers and location are in the works.  Stay tuned for more information and click here if you already know that you're coming.