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Success Story

Tall Timbers

Leading land trust readies for a $50-75 million comprehensive campaign

The Situation

For more than 60 years, Tall Timbers has fostered exemplary land stewardship through research, conservation, and education. With a primary focus on the study of the ecology and management of fire-dependent ecosystems—an increasingly important topic because of climate change—they are recognized as one of the country’s leading land trusts. They had a number of high-level annual donors and believed the timing was right for pursuing a campaign, but needed to train their staff on communicating with prospective donors.


The Solution

In conducting a Campaign Planning Study, Graham-Pelton homed in on an unusual situation: Tall Timbers’ donors demonstrated deep trust in the organization’s mission and scientific integrity, and didn’t hesitate to make annual gifts to fund researchers’ and educators’ salaries and overhead. Yet to create a sustainable and future-minded funding model, Tall Timbers’ leaders were interested in understanding the donor appetite for endowment or capital projects.

Based on this analysis, we created a case for support that featured a capital project—a new education center. When this tested well with donors, we encouraged Tall Timbers to think big and consider other capital projects, and how these could contribute to organizational growth. We also tested their campaign readiness, and determined they had the potential for a $50-$75 million comprehensive campaign.


The Success

Graham-Pelton now works with Tall Timbers to capitalize on their relationships through donor education, continuing to build their fundraising program, and training their development staff on how to ask for gifts that go beyond paying salaries. While we are in the process of developing a customized campaign plan for them, they have lined up principal gifts as part of this leadership giving phase and are moving forward at a strong pace.

You can raise more money. We can show you how.



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