By Ellen Oost, Director of Development
There is a lot happening right now in the world of Membership at The Parklands. We are so excited to host our Fall Membership Drive October 23-29. I know everyone has Halloween on the brain, but this is nothing to be frightened by!
Our goal during the Fall Membership Drive is to make park visitors aware that we are a donor-supported public park. Why is this so important? Because our park system is such a new and different concept—we are free and open to all, 365 days a year, but do not charge an entry fee or receive tax dollar support for operations. With nearly 4,000 acres to explore and a variety of entries, exits and parking areas, we want everyone to know that we need their support (and that’s not an easy task!)
The first step toward our goal is awareness. Of the 3 million visits The Parklands will host this year, only a FRACTION of those who enjoy our parks have chosen to support The Parklands through Membership. We want everyone to be able to use our parks, and they will always be free and open to the public BUT, we rely on the generosity of the few so, during our Fall Membership Drive, we will have our staff and dedicated volunteers out under tents and at tables throughout all four parks. We know we have so many users who just don’t know what being a Member means. We will be posting on social media and sending letters with the core message: Members Make it Happen.
So many have already realized that The Parklands is a special place. But, what’s not as obvious, is that it is Members who make it so. Members are the reason we are able to clean our bathrooms to a standard, rather than a schedule. They are the reason our trails and roads are cleared when it snows so that people can still get outside and exercise; the reason we can continue to plant trees and forbs and manage our natural areas for the enjoyment of people and critters alike; the reason we are able to offer dynamic educational and interpretive programming in our parks. The reason is, MEMBERS MAKE IT HAPPEN.
So, if you are already a Member, THANK YOU! We hope you are proud of what you help us to deliver everyday—which is more than a clean, safe, fun and beautiful park (although it’s that too!). It’s quality of place, a sense of community and a place for people to gather. The Parklands is outdoor education, recreation, and improved health and wellness. YOU help to make all of that possible, and so much more.
If you’re not a Member yet, that’s okay! But, we hope you will choose to donate a small portion of your hard-earned dollars to our efforts. Or, you can sign-up to volunteer your time. Regardless of how you are able to give back, we know you will be pleased with the result.
Now, for the details:
We have added a few levels and altered a few names of The Parklands Member levels to really reflect what you make possible: you partner, provider, protector, and preserver. You are our champions, our guardians, and our stewards. This is not just a recognition, but also a call to action—own it! Help to spread the word about Membership and about what you love about The Parklands.
As a small token of our appreciation, we have some new, and very neat perks, with which to say thanks. Parklands Partners ($100) will receive this totally cool “Fish of Floyds Fork” bandana. It features the top 10 fish you are likely to find in Floyds Fork—see if you can identify them all!
We are also rolling out an amazing pocket-sized trail guide for our Parklands Protector level ($250). This nifty guide packs a TON of information and fits right into your pocket. Use it to plan your hike, learn some Parklands natural history, or take it with you to keep you oriented while out in the park. We’ll feature a new park each year to encourage you to explore what it has to offer, starting with Broad Run, our newest park.
Finally, at the Provider ($500) and Preserver ($1,000) levels wepartnered with our friends at Hound Dog Press to develop a BEAUTIFUL print and set of notecards that feature The Strand. You can see one of our iconic Louisville Loop bridges and Floyds Fork reflecting the nearby Sycamore trees. We are ecstatic about how they turned out, and we can’t wait to work on a new design for next year. When you renew each year, you will begin a collection of beautiful Parklands scenes.
These small perks are nothing compared to the gifts you give us—not only your donation, but your advocacy, your time—your faith in our ability to steward your gifts and make a real difference with them. For that, we are so grateful, and we hope your enthusiasm spreads to all who visit The Parklands!
You’ll notice some changes to www.theparklands.org/member page of our website as well, as we try to make it easier than ever to join, renew, and give the gift of Membership. We look forward to meeting lots of current and new Members in The Parklands during the Drive!
Ellen Doolittle Oost
Ellen has been the Director of Development at 21st Century Parks since April of 2015. In this role she oversees fundraising functions for The Parklands, including the annual fund/membership campaign, corporate sponsorships, supporting the Board of Directors, leading major fundraising events, and seeking grant and foundational support. It’s her goal to create multiple compelling opportunities for donors to support The Parklands, a donor-supported public park that does not receive tax dollar support on an annual basis but has four world-class parks free and open to the public 365 days a year. Although fairly new to this role, Ellen is intimately familiar with The Parklands as she spent the previous 3 years as the Communications Manager in charge of public relations, social media, community outreach and marketing for the parks. Before joining 21st Century Parks she spent three years with Louisville-based advertising agency Doe-Anderson. Her background also includes marketing and account service roles at Anheuser-Busch InBev, PriceWeber advertising agency, and direct mail marketing at Traffic Builders, Inc. Ellen is a graduate of Marietta College where she studied advertising, public relations and marketing and played volleyball. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, camping, and traveling with her two mutts and her husband Andrew.
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