Awesome blog from our Grant Writer: Devon Reeser

Sample proposal letter for environmental nonprofit…

Rock Environmental is a consulting company working for nonprofits.  Do you need help with fundraising or development?  Check out these tips from our aaaa-mazing Grant Writer Devon Reeser!

“Green” is in, and more and more funders are giving to environmental causes, but donations to environmental nonprofits and projects still only constitute around 7% of US philanthropy (Giving USA).  While funders see environment as a worthy giving sector, it is hard to compete with cancer, children starving, religion, or education. If you are an environmental nonprofit, you need to make your proposal stand out from the competition to get those limited dollars! Here are three keys to making your proposal better than the rest, and a sample letter to help you get started.

1. Link your cause to fundable populations:
Human services, youth leadership, or underrepresented populations are prime examples. You are helping the environment, but who does your project serve? Even biodiversity organizations saving penguins in remote arctic seas can link their program need back to people, and they need to because people are what donors want to fund.

2. Stay away from doomsday:
Part of the reason Americans have been so slow to accept climate change is because of its doomsday message; Americans are optimistic. Keep it positive!  Greenies can be very negative, crafting appeals on “dwindling populations”, “endangered” species, “toxic” pollution, etc. All can be spun in another direction.

3. Link it to economics:
Americans care about the economy much more than the environment, and nearly every environmental cause can be linked to economic savings, if not directly than in the form of sustainability.

Please note: This nonprofit and its work are completely fictional and intended to serve as an example of how even the most un-human environmental project can be linked back to people and made relevant to receive funding.

Dear prospect,

With the knowledge that you are a champion for causes that innovatively solve our most pressing global concerns, we respectfully request $100,000 for our critical penguin research that will directly help thousands of Chilean and global fisherman understand changing ocean temperature effects on migrating fish populations, helping them adapt their livelihoods and keep our global fisheries sustainable for future generations.  (1. Present a tangible outcome that helps people immediately.)

Ocean temperatures are shifting with climate change, and, with those shifts, fish are adapting their migration patterns. Arctic penguins might be our world’s most expert fishermen, and evidence shows that they are already adapting their feeding cycles, both geographically and seasonally, to cope with a changing world.

We have an opportunity to learn from these pioneers to help promote both their future and that of the thousands of fishermen that depend on these seas for their livelihoods. Chilean fishermen are especially susceptible, as they are generally low income bread earners for their families and have generational heritage fishing in these waters. Large fisheries also depend on these particular migration patterns for fish that end up feeding hundreds of thousands in dozens of countries globally. (2. Establish the need positively.)

[Nonprofit name] has designed research to link how our most wondrous species use this Earth to solutions to help them and their human counterparts adapt to environmental change for more than six years. With your foundation’s investment, [Nonprofit name] will be able to finish a three year study to map the arctic penguin’s feeding habits, which will then result in a tool disseminated to local villages in Chile as well as posted online for international fisheries to change their seasonal and geographic fishing habits.

The mapping also helps us understand the challenges that the penguins face in having to establish new nesting grounds, swim further for food, etc. We can then brainstorm tangible solutions to help them adapt, including a new initiative with Wonder Water Corporation to build a floating island for a swim break from recycled bottles.

This research is costing a total of $2.5 million, with a potential impact to save more than 1500 local bread-earning jobs (valued at $1.5 million household income annually) and entire international fisheries, valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars. (3. Link it economically.)

We welcome talking to you in person to show you the mapping tool and the full impacts of our work. Please let us know if you need any additional information for consideration. Again, thank you for all that you do for our global community.


[Nonprofit name]

Want to learn more about Rock Environmental’s Team?  Interested in an internship with Rock?  Contact us!


Closure for Donors – How to Stay in Touch After a Fundraising Campaign

Closure for donors.

Running a campaign for your nonprofit is a challenge. All of the planning that goes into it, and then the countless hours spent on the plan’s execution is difficult. But what happens next after all the money has been raised and the campaign is coming to an end? Providing closure to your donors is the final step to a campaign. Here’s a few tips from Rock Environmental on how to do it:


  1. During the campaign, keep close track of donors and their donations. Keep all donations, donors, contributors and sponsors in separate files where you can track totals as well as individual amounts. Monitoring this information closely allows you to identify the best course of action when contacting them after an event.

  2. After the campaign, touch base. Send an email or a letter to donors thanking them for their generosity and telling them exactly how funds will be used in your organization’s mission. Doing so will help them understand this could not have happened without them and their support – and that each dollar will be used responsibly.

  3. Be specific by sharing a story or a picture of your organization’s clients. Talk about how the new funds will be used to impact real people, animals, etc. – whatever the cause may be. Giving tangible results will ensure your clients can see first-hand the results of their donations.

  4. Use this as a growth opportunity for further campaigns. Provide links back to your website, and request to share other opportunities with your donors in the future.


Thanking donors continues to build your relationship with them. By taking the time to write an email or even a personal note, especially to large donors, you continue to build on a mutually beneficial relationship. By ensuring your donors are feeling happy and appreciated, you can also ensure your next campaign will run even more smoothly. Donors who feel appreciated are more likely to repeat their donations. At Rock Environmental, we work hard to ensure each donor feels appreciated. We have found that personal emails and notes do this most effectively.


Not sure how to contact your donors? Rock Environmental provides nonprofit consulting services including donor relations and retention programs. Pick from our a la carte menu of services, including:

  • Grant writing

  • Total management of back-of-the-house operations & support

  • Attracting new donors

  • Donor retention strategy & communication

  • Social media creation & management (Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, Vine, Twitter, FourSquare, Google+, etcetera)

  • Blogging

  • Press release & copywriting

  • Creation of printed material (brochures, annual appeal letter, etc.)

  • Board member development & training

  • Launching new organizations, individual projects, special events, or services

  • Building greater brand awareness & reputation

  • Increasing participation in programs

  • Recruiting & managing volunteers

  • International project development, management & promotion


We can provide your nonprofit with the tools and support it needs to be successful. For more information, visit Rock Environmental’s website.