Download A Field Guide to Conservation Finance by Story Clark PDF

By Story Clark

Finally, a complete booklet on land conservation financing for neighborhood

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Eventually, we received the $500,000 from the county—one year after closing—when the lawsuit was settled. A financial plan not only clarifies the land trust’s own ideas about strategy and provides a document for board discussion and approval, it can also be customized into a financial marketing document to present to prospective donors, partners, investors, and lenders. The packaging of a project into a financial plan draws heavily from the private financial world. Developing a financial plan is an important step toward broader thinking about identifying, marketing to, and using the robust funding sources that help for-profit private finance to thrive.

This allowed the board, committees, and volunteers to initiate contact with landowners, to negotiate conservation transactions, to design and implement a stewardship program, and to raise funds. An all-volunteer land trust should not shy away from setting an ambitious strategic vision, negotiating tough deals, or borrowing money for financing deals. But to make such achievements possible, volunteers must give huge amounts of time. Ultimately, these dedicated people need reinforcements. Having been a volunteer myself, I know how much time must be given and that a limited number of members often carry the lion’s share.

A land trust supported by foundations laments that it does not have a base of major donor support. A land trust with lots of major donors is concerned about being elitist, and one with only small donors is frustrated that it can’t undertake more ambitious projects. A broad base of support is always best, no matter how hard it is to develop. A land trust should be funded to some degree by a combination of small annual donors or members, major donors, board members, special events, foundations, investments, planned giving donors, and public funding where such programs exist.

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