Leading Thoughts (January 2020)

by Russell K. King, TREE Fund President and CEO

The lifeblood of most nonprofit organizations is the strength of its volunteers, and this is true for TREE Fund, as well. From donors to corporate partners, local chapter members, affiliated organization members, task forces, standing committees, Tour des Trees riders and support, and trustees, our network of volunteers is as vital as it is varied.

A lot of good people help good causes. The question for most of us is “How can I be the most help?”

For TREE Fund, the first answer is:  Give. Our mission is to support the research that enhances trees and the people who work among them, so financial support is the most effective way to help. Our most pressing need is for “unrestricted” gifts that pay our operating costs.

There are other ways to generate financial support for TREE Fund’s mission. Ride in the Tour des Trees. Support your local ISA chapter’s fundraising events. Encourage your employer to become a TREE Fund partner. Take advantage of your employer’s matching gifts program if one exists. Include TREE Fund in your estate planning. Talk to other organizations about raising money for TREE Fund.

Perhaps your company provides services to a celebrity or others who have both an affinity for trees and extraordinary ability to support TREE Fund—opening those doors, facilitating those contacts, is a great way to help.

Spreading the word about TREE Fund through social media is helpful in both raising the level of awareness of TREE Fund’s work and generating financial support. For example, you can create your own fundraising event, in honor of your birthday, or share posts from TREE Fund’s social media platforms that include donation opportunities.

If you shop on Amazon Smile, you can designate TREE Fund as your preferred charity and every purchase generates support.

The second answer to how you can best help TREE Fund is: Share the news!  Paying attention to our research and sharing it within the industry are important ways of supporting the mission. Research matters most when it has practical applications, and the more people who know about the research the more application it’s likely to have.

The third answer is:  Volunteer. Some think that means serving on the Board of Trustees and feel uncomfortable with that level of responsibility. The good news is that serving on a committee is less intimidating and can actually be more effective.

Committees are where the proverbial rubber meets the road. It’s in committees that efforts, issues, and ideas get their most robust engagement. Boards meet less frequently and are focused on big-picture matters of broad policy, governance, and mission. The ideas, insights, inspirations, and opinions you may offer, as well as the local contacts you may make or doors you may open, are all valuable parts of the support on which TREE Fund depends.

You already know the importance of trees in our lives, communities, and environment. Make 2020 the year you put that knowledge into concrete action by either supporting or increasing your current support of TREE Fund’s work, message, and mission.

Click here for the complete, January 2020 issue of TREE Press.