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A donor came by our office just before the end of the year to drop off his donation. But first he had a question: what happens if we fall short of our $20 million goal?

We have to admit that seems likely. In fact, we knew it was possible when we set such a high goal – 50% higher than the goal of our last campaign to protect 10,000 acres in 2012. It was what they call a “stretch goal”…and then some.

I told the donor that we will still be able to do almost all that we planned – because we’ve always had a Plan B for falling short. Since the campaign includes raising a small Opportunity Fund, the first thing we won’t have is any funds for things that come up – like the opportunity two years ago to protect the first property for the Wildlife Tunnel.

Depending on how short we fall, we may not be able to complete all the projects in the campaign, though we do have enough to start and get close to finishing them all. Which means we will be raising funds to complete them in a few years.

And because 10% of the campaign funds go to cover core operating expenses (half of which is stewardship of the lands under our care), we will have to make some cutbacks there. Odd as it may seem, you can raise millions of dollars and still have to cut your operating budget.

But for those contributing, the bottom line is that we will be able to almost everything we’ve promised to do – build the Wildlife Tunnel, fund the Rail Trail, build most of those 45 miles of trails, and protect 400 acres of farmland. I guess the answer was good enough for our visitor, because he wrote out a generous check.

Those of you who haven’t contributed (or want to give again), the bottom line is that we need you to get it ALL done. Donate now.

And to those who have contributed to our biggest campaign ever – thank you!

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Stephen Slade is the Executive Director at Land Trust of Santa Cruz County. He has more than 40 years non-profit experience in fundraising, communications, and management – and a deep passion for the lands that make Santa Cruz special.

Find out more about Stephen Slade…

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