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Special Featured Session for All-Volunteer Land Trusts

Addressing Challenges and Solutions for Doing It All Without Staff

FSO1: Saturday, September 20

If you volunteer for an all-volunteer land trust (AVLT) and are like most of your peers, you often wonder how to manage it all. This special feature session is for you!

You know how important your land trust is to land conservation in your community and how challenging the work can be. You are not alone: Over half of all land trusts in the country are run by volunteers – people just like you – with no, or very part-time, staff support.

This session will focus on three critical topics for ALVTs and strategies that your peers have found effective: strategic planning, human resources and fundraising.


John Monroe, National Park Service - Rivers & Trails Program,  Director Rhode Island & Connecticut projects


Strategic Planning

  • Abigail Brooks – President, Sakonnet Preservation Association, Little Compton, Rhode Island
  • Paul Cillo – Trustee, Northern Rivers Land Trust, Hardwick, Vermont

Human Resources

  • Don Gerber – Vice President, Lyme Land Conservation Trust, Old Lyme, Connecticut
  • Elliott D. Hillback Jr. – President, Indian River Lakes Conservancy,  rural northern New York, (west of Adirondacks & south of  St. Lawrence River)


  • Allison Burchell-Robinson – Past President, Joshua’s Tract Conservation & Historic Trust (Joshua’s Trust), Northeastern Connecticut
  • Alice Hicks – Treasurer, Kent Land Trust, Kent, Connecticut
  • Hamilton “Tony” Holt – Treasurer, Joshua’s Tract Conservation & Historic Trust (Joshua’s Trust), Northeastern Connecticut

What We’ll Cover

You will leave the workshop with solid ideas on how to tackle some of your most pressing issues:

  1. Strategic Planning
    Drafting a strategic plan that fits your organization’s capacity is a powerful step to take. This discussion will share steps to develop and implement a strategic plan with yearly action plans that produce results.
  2. Human Resources
    You know you need help, but how do you go about assessing and filling your organization’s human resource needs?  We’ll discuss models for recruiting and engaging board members, volunteers, as well as working with consultants and transitioning to a first staff person.
  3. Fundraising
    You need help with fundraising!  What land trust doesn’t?  We will share strategies that AVLTs have used to raise operating and stewardship funding, even without paid development staff.

Session Format

We will begin with half-hour presentations on each topic by leaders from all-volunteer land trusts with successful models to share. Then we’ll break into three roundtable discussions for more detailed discussion of each topic and sharing of ideas.  Roundtables will be repeated so that everyone can attend two roundtable discussions.

Join your peers from all-volunteer land trusts from across the country for a great afternoon of learning, sharing and inspiration.

For any questions, please email Rupert Friday, Director, RI Land Trust Council by email.

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