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Tips to Survive a Bad Economy

When the market collapsed, there was one investment that did not lose any value. In good times and bad, conserved land has always provided a steady return on investment: clean water, fresh food, natural beauty, places to play. This economic crisis is forcing us all to reassess what is really important, and the mountains, rivers, farmland, and forests protected by land trusts help us keep things in perspective, reminding us that we are part of something vast and timeless that the economy cannot take away.

The Land Trust Alliance is committed to helping land trusts throughout this financial crisis. In all of our workshops and publications in 2009, you’ll find practical information on how land trusts can weather the recession by cutting costs, raising money and finding creative opportunities to save land.

Worried about how the economic crisis will affect your land trust? Read two articles by conservation finance expert Story Clark from the Winter 2009 Saving Land found on *The Learning Center, with suggestions on ways you can protect your land trust during challenging times, including immediate steps to address the loss of revenue through conservative management and creativity: "Coping with Crisis: Strategies for helping land trusts through the recession," and "Five Strategies for Fundraising in the Economic Crisis." Here are some additional tools:


Online Resources

The Learning Center - discuss the issues on the Strong Organization and other forums where your questions are answered by subject matter experts

LANDTRUST listserv - where you can discuss the issues

20 Cost Cutting Ideas for Nonprofits and 20 Emergency Funding Sources for Nonprofits - from the Fieldstone Alliance

Outlook for 2009: What the Recession Will Mean for Your Organization - from the Chronicle of Philanthropy

Harvard's Conservation Finance Forum - includes feature articles, books and case studies; expert chats; and Conservation Innovation Update newsletter

Nonprofit 911 - coalition of nonprofit organizations dicussing the impact of the economic downturn



A Field Guide to Conservation Finance by Story Clark

Conservation Finance Handbook by Kim Hooper and Ernest Cook

Other finance publications offered by the Alliance

Other fundraising publications offered by the Alliance



The Board's Role in Tough Economic Times - presented by Marc Smiley, March 18, 2009; Land Trust Alliance online training



This recession presents some special opportunities for land conservation. As developers and banks clean up their balance sheets, they will have to dispose of distressed properties at bargain prices. It is unlikely that land will ever be this cheap again. The trick, of course, is to find the funds to take advantage of these opportunities. Learn more about strategies to acquire distressed properties.


Resources for Job Seekers

See the Alliance's Resources for Job Seekers page with environmental job boards, articles and books on finding jobs in conservation.


If you have a website or other resource you'd like to recommend be added to this page, please e-mail

*Access to The Learning Center is offered to board, staff and volunteers of Alliance member land trusts and organizational partners, and to individual members at the $250 level and above.

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