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Since 1891, the Trustees of Reservations has been preserving the landscapes of Massachusetts and opening them for public use. As they were preparing to enter the public phase of a $50 million capital campaign, they faced some difficult challenges. The world’s oldest regional land trust, the Trustees had always remained quiet and reserved – promoting only their individual properties and not the organization. As a result, they had very little name recognition, even with those who used their properties on a regular basis, and were often seen as elitist and exclusive. In addition, a conservation-focused message had dominated their public communications for decades, solidifying the perception, both inside and out, that they were about preserving the land simply for preservation’s sake.
The Trustees hired Minelli, Inc. to raise visibility and engage more people in the spirit of conservation without alienating their most loyal base of support. Minelli’s strategy helped the organization understand its value in enhancing quality of life through the use and enjoyment of the special places that define the distinct character of our communities. This spirit was epitomized in the tagline “Find Your Place” and expressed in a creative approach that is evocative, open and welcoming. The logo was updated and the identity system was created to raise recognition of the organization across all touch points. The hallmarks of the identity were mapped into both the re-designed collateral and new vehicles for communication, including an ad campaign targeted for each audience. Extensive staff workshops and education tools ensured an effective rollout of outreach programs and encouraged employees and volunteers to engage visitors in a shared vision of the organization.
The Trustees now understand in clear terms how to connect their mission to their best potential allies. By creating entry points to conservation for those who do not label themselves as conservationists, membership has nearly doubled and the annual appeal has increased 8% year over year. New alliances have been formed with partners such as the Boston Food Project and Boston Natural Areas Network. The capital campaign was completed with great success, meeting their challenge and raising $63.2 million in funds and $35 million in land donations. This is the largest environmental campaign in state history.