Productive and sustainable organizations can trace their success to common and predictable sources: a clear and compelling vision, strong connections to the community, supportive organizational structures, healthy organizational culture and relevant and practical strategies. These characteristics are not acquired by chance – they are the by-product of intentional investment and focus on the things that matter. While many organizations focus on vision, structure and strategy, many find that the best-laid plans may never be realized unless there is an equal focus on elements of organizational culture.
Session Level: Basic Session Location: Oregon Convention Center Price: $150/$180
Leading in the context of a collaborative effort presents special opportunities and challenges. This seminar will allow leaders active in collaborations to learn and apply specific network frameworks and approaches to their situation. Participants will leave with practical tools to energize their partnerships, examples from other collaborative efforts and a game plan to increase the impact and effectiveness of their collaborations.
Session Level: Intermediate Session Location: Oregon Convention Center Price: $150/$180
Transitions will happen. The founder steps down, your stewardship manager moves out west, your development director is headhunted and board officers reach their term limits. Succession planning gives you a framework to manage through these transitions, whether in the form of proactive preparation for an emergency, a planned transition or the development of leadership skills and core competencies throughout your organization. To get where you are going you need to know your destination, true, but you also need to know how to get there. When applied and integrated into everyday management and operations, succession planning guides investment in your staff increasing their commitment, retention and satisfaction, it builds board cohesion, skills and confidence, and ensures that your next leadership transition is an opportunity to look forward and to grow. In this workshop we will provide participants with tools to identify leadership skills and core competencies needed on the staff team and the board team. We will share best practices for developing and implementing your plan, identify the roles of staff, board and leadership, and how to manage transitions when they do occur . You will walk away withconcrete steps that you can take to create a more sustainable future for your land trust, with committed people who are in it for the long term.
While this session won’t answer the underlying question of why accountants make everything so hard, it will help you understand the true character of government and foundation grants your land trust receives and prevent surprising audit adjustments. Learn how to analyze each grant you receive to determine how to record it and prepare for the impact it will have on your net income and cash flow. This session is designed for both users and preparers of financial info (executive directors, development directors, fiscal directors, etc. ) Discussion topics will include: distinguishing restrictions from conditions; accounting for and reporting on conditional awards; how to make the impact of receiving and using restricted grants clear on your financial reports; dealing with the impact of cost reimbursement agreements on your cash position and why waiting for the auditor to sort it all out may be a really bad idea.
Learn about accreditation from land trusts who have been through the program. Whether you're considering applying for first-time accreditation or getting ready for renewal, representatives from accredited land trusts will talk about how they prepared to apply and relate their experiences going through the process.
As we determine who needs to be part of participatory processes we often ask, “How can we get the right people at the table? How can we ensure we don’t miss anyone?” These diversity and inclusion questions are important, yet there are deeper questions we need to ask ourselves in order to reach an equitable level of participation. In this workshop, we will explore key questions that help us design and facilitate equitable participatory processes. We’ll identify the barriers to equitable participation, how they are created, and how to overcome them, including how to uncover and meet the participation needs of diverse community members. These techniques will prepare us to create environments conducive to real and sustainable connections.
Session Level: Intermediate Session Location: Oregon Convention Center
It is often said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result. Yet that is precisely what we do with board recruitment. We use the same old processes to recruit and onboard new members and are disappointed when we cannot build our capacity through vital lived experiences and critical professional networks. This session invites you to break from the mold and join a burgeoning movement for an open application process for new board members! Leaders from Groundswell Conservancy, Ozaukee Washington Land Trust and Peninsula Open Space Trust discuss their work to bolster their already robust and dedicated boards with a wider array of skillsets and perspectives. Each organization is at a different stage of their board search process and but each has already experienced the benefits of taking their search public. Daniel Student, senior consultant with Potrero Group, will moderate this interactive conversation on lessons learned and best practices to help you enhance your board and generate dramatically new results for your organization.
Most people have some implicit bias about gender and gender roles. Even people who strongly value gender equity and would prefer to see more women in leadership positions may find that their implicit biases work against their intentions. While gender bias may be more underground, unfortunately it still lives among us. The good news is that naming bias and knowing how it bias works serves as the critical first step in mitigating and counteracting implicit gender bias. This session will share information to provide context for gender bias in the conservation community. The workshop will create space for participants to talk in small groups about how gender bias impacts them and their work. The workshop design will allow participants, those identifying as women, men and gender nonbinary, to walk away with steps for professional development, strategies to counter bias and ways to pro-actively work against gender bias in our conservation context.
Session Level: Basic Session Location: Oregon Convention Center
The good news is that many land trusts have grown a lot over the last 10 years and they have more employees and far more capacity. The bad news is that many of us spend all of our time developing essential conservation and fundraising skills, but we neglect to dive deeply into organizational development and leadership skills. Executive Directors (EDs) become burned out. Other employees feel less engaged. Friction increases and communication withers. The result is often more people feeling like they have never been busier. There is an art and a science to organizational development and leadership. This workshop will both teach and inspire. Two veteran land trust leaders and colleagues will provide practical advice, a real life model and lessons learned relative to developing and retaining empowered, engaged and exceptional senior staff. In 1996 Chagrin River Land Conservancy (now known as Western Reserve or WRLC) hired its first employee and executive director (co-presenter Rich Cochran). Today, WRLC has more than 50 employees, annual revenues of more than $25 million and it controls and operates several subsidiaries and related organizations. Cochran remains the executive director/CEO. After two attempts (one failed and one successful), WRLC created a highly effective management and leadership model that includes a management team that is completely independent of the executive director/CEO. Presenter Stella Dilik served as the first chair of the management team in 2021. This workshop will be highly interactive and will touch on topics such as leadership, organizational development, succession planning and governance.
This session will discuss the process for hiring qualified stewardship staff including job descriptions for stewardship staff levels, technical skill requirements, interview questions and testing components. We will discuss the Americorps Land Steward program implemented by Virginia Outdoors Foundation to help new college graduates start a land conservation career. Appropriate training course components for new staff will also be covered. Staff morale and retention components including cross training on other land protection skills (land management, easement drafting, baseline documentation reports) will be discussed as will several successful morale booster examples. The pros and cons of stewardship volunteers will also be covered.
Land trusts across the country identify priorities that include saving land, strengthening communities, and creating a healthier community (just to name a few). These priorities are the pillars of our visions and our missions. Making our visions come to fruition year after year requires a roadmap. We build strategic plans (roadmaps) to drive operations, staffing, infrastructure and program as well as measure our success periodically. Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) requires us to think beyond staff workshops and incorporate DEIB intentionally into our organizational culture. Come explore steps to building your land trust's DEIB roadmap of actionable items to create long-term change and support the values we all uphold.
Put your best application forward by learning about the pitfalls and mistakes Commission review staff commonly see during the application process. Hear guidance and learn tips from reviewers so you can be confident when navigating the first-time or renewal process.
Session Level: Basic Session Location: Oregon Convention Center
Some common questions that come up for land trust are “Do we need and audit?”, “What do we do when a funder says we need a “Single Audit?”, “Why are there so many questions on the 990 that do not relate to our financial information?”. In this session, we will talk about different levels of assurance (audit, review, etc.), getting ready for financial statement audits and Single Audits, and some key areas to focus on for your information returns. Audits do not need to be scary and with a little planning and work to set things up right, you can plan for a smooth audit process.
This workshop is intended for board members and executive directors to focus on on creating an effective board. We'll start with a brief look at the current nonprofit board model and how we got here,including the basic legal requirements and some of the adverse consequences of this legacy. Then, in peer-to-peer groups and full-group conversation, we’ll do some reflection and reinvention. What’s working or not working about your board’s role? How could you increase the effectiveness and engagement of your board team, to improve performance and make board service more meaningful and satisfying for board leaders and more helpful for your organization? What do nonprofits – particularly nonprofits with professional staff – need from their boards today? Come prepared to share some of your positive and challenging board experiences for peer problem-solving and co-creating some different ways to “board”!
Land trusts face myriad issues that require legal advice. Whether drafting conservation easements, preparing board resolutions, reviewing contracts, or defending property boundaries and easement terms, having the support of competent counsel is critical to success. However, most land trusts do not employ in-house counsel and therefore must turn to outside attorneys. This workshop covers when land trusts should consider using outside legal counsel, what experience they should look for in a candidate, and how they should work with selected outside counsel, as well as what expectations attorneys often have for their land trust clients. The panel is composed of both attorneys and land trust board members who will share their experience and expertise in addressing legal needs common among land trusts.
Every year, thousands of nonprofit boards face the daunting task of hiring a successor to replace the seemingly irreplaceable: the long-serving or founding Executive Director. This process can produce anxiety for staff and boards, but it doesn't have to! In this session, you'll hear the experiences of 3 Executive Directors who replaced founders in their organizations. They'll share the triumphs, trials and tribulations from their experiences and challenge attendees to make their own transitions the best they can be.
Knowledge is power! Bring your curiosity and your questions to this introduction of the accreditation renewal process. Participants will receive an overview of the renewal process and timing, how to get help and information throughout the process and how and when to start preparing for your renewal application. Participants will eave confident about preparing, organizing and uploading application documents for review.
Session Level: Basic Session Location: Oregon Convention Center