Thoughts from a Preservation Partner

Why monthly giving works for me
By Samuel James Adams

I work for Solano Land Trust, but I’m also a donor. I’m writing to you today to explain why becoming a Preservation Partner—a monthly or quarterly donor—was the right choice for me.

Chances are, you received many requests for your donations last December, from a variety of nonprofits and charities. December is by a huge margin the biggest month for giving in the United States, driven by holidays and the looming deadline to make donations before the tax year is up. But in between gift buys and travel expenses, a $250 donation can tighten the budget, even when the giving spirit is strong.

But giving $250 over 12 months amounts to just over $20 a month. $150 is just under $15. $15 costs as much as my least favorite streaming service. I’d much rather stroll with friends through hundreds of acres of open space and see a Golden Eagle than scroll through hundreds of movies and settle on a rewatch.

If you increase your donation to $500, that’s still only $41.66 a month—a cheap dinner for two, sans drinks, and probably without a tip either. At $1000 annually, you’re still under $84 a month—dinner and a movie, in today’s economy. The average American coffee consumer spends somewhere north of $2,300 a year on beverages. I’m no math whiz, but if we had a solid donor base paying that much each year, we’d wake up smiling.

Now I barely notice the money leave my account, but I see the benefits from the other end. Recurring donors provide a baseline and a lifeline. Three new people generously signed up as Preservation Partners in January. Even though it’s still early in the year, their total projected giving over the year adds up to a major donation, nearly $2,000. The stability monthly donors provide Solano Land Trust makes it easier to upgrade a park’s water system, install signage, and fix small problems before they worsen.

And don’t worry: giving one-time donations still feels just as good. When December rolled around and it was time to give a little extra to a few nonprofits and causes I care about, I did.

But the supreme satisfaction was getting a thank you card in December saying I had already given a nice amount over the year. That was a lovely feeling: remembering precisely why I gave without recalling exactly when.

I have been a fan of the open spaces of Solano Land Trust since before I knew what a land trust was. I would hike through Lynch Canyon Open Space to catch the beautiful ridgeline views, see the wildlife (including my first bobcat observed with the naked eye), and enjoy remarkably pure levels of peace and quiet for a place just beyond our county’s largest city, with I-80 just beside it.

Only when I joined the team did I learn that this land was once fated to become a dump, and that a legal arrangement set up thirty years ago protected the land in perpetuity.

It takes many moving parts to bring protections like these about and manage them over the years, and not every need will appear in a fundraising campaign.
Becoming a Preservation Partner is a simple and effective way to show your love for the land and protect the open spaces of Solano County for future generations.

Photo of the author and his wife hiking Lynch Canyon Open Space Park in 2019, before he knew what a Land Trust was or did.