Nurturing the relationships between agriculture, trees, people and animals - this is agroforestry, and it’s what Trees for the Future (TFTF) does. Think Johnny Appleseed for the 21st Century. Speaking with David enlightened me to a variety of issues regarding deforestation that TFTF seeks to solve. For example, in parts of Africa where TFTF operate, deforestation isn’t primarily caused by logging corporations (Sting can take a breather). Rather, in most cases, it’s caused by a natural, indigenous cause: population increase. There are a lot of people in an area that isn’t used to having a lot of people. And people need to eat. To eat, they need to cook and to cook they need firewood.

This deforestation has a severe impact on climate at the local level. For example, in Tanzania, deforestation on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro has allowed hot air from the savannas that surround the mountain, to reach the summit, which accelerates the melting of its glaciers. Rather than try to simply stop local farmers from cutting down trees, TFTF works with local farmers to provide them with basic resources and educate them about agroforestry - planting more trees, improving soil quality, and reversing the effects of deforestation. What they’ve accomplished so far is fantastic (to put it in perspective, they operate in 21 countries and are aiming to plant 17,000,000 trees this year). To keep it up they’re aiming to scale the organization for further growth over the next few years. To do this, funding is necessary. 

I asked David to fill me in on some of his & TFTF’s fundraising successes & nightmares. This is a question I ask every Founders Group member because we want to find out what makes fundraising difficult so that we can make it easier. There has been absolutely no shortage of fundraising nightmares that I’ve heard about. David caught me off guard when he said “Let me tell you about a successful project we ran.”

… “I’m all ears, David.”

David proceeded to tell me about how TFTF leveraged their facebook, twitter, email lists as well as their own personal social networks to raise awareness fora project in Haiti that really needed help. Through their efforts, they raised over $4,000 in 3 weeks. I was thrilled. 

“That, David, is a crowdfunding campaign.”

This is the kind of initiative and success we’re trying to promote with WeDidIt, and hearing it work for an organization that had never done it before made me & the rest of the team here extremely confident that crowdfunding can work for anyone. We’ll be running a campaign with TFTF in the near future and I can’t wait to help them raise well over the $4,000 they did on their own. Until then, there are several ways to get involved. I would highly recommend starting by watching their 50 Million Trees and Counting video. You can make a donation to help them plant trees, join their mailing list, even start your own project for them. And as always, be sure to like their facebook page and follow them on twitter.

 

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@mdshreve