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Franklin Land Trust

Position Announcement: Executive Director

Franklin Land Trust (FLT) is searching for an Executive Director to provide vision and leadership following the highly successful tenure of our retiring Executive Director. FLT conserves rural landscapes in Western Massachusetts for the benefit of present and future generations while connecting citizens to the land in tangible, enduring ways. Since its founding in 1987, Franklin Land Trust has been a champion of land conservation, working to protect more than 32,000 acres of farmlands, woodlands, and other significant natural landscapes from development that would forever alter the region’s beauty and pastoral character.

FLT’s Executive Director will be passionately committed to our mission, an excellent communicator, a proven networker and collaborator, an effective fundraiser, an experienced non-profit administrator, and an accessible team leader who will foster a culture of cooperation between Board and Staff. The successful applicant will be a dynamic, hands-on leader who can guide FLT to new levels of organizational excellence and build its financial resources.

Franklin Land Trust

Our mission is to work with landowners “to conserve farms, forests, wildlands, and other natural resources significant to the quality of the environment, economy, and rural character of our region.” We particularly focus on:

  • Farmland: Key tracts of agricultural land that support a sustainable farm community that serves a growing market for locally produced food and is a significant part of the region’s economy;
  • Woodland: Large areas of conserved forest that support sustainable wood-product harvesting, wildlife habitat, scenic viewsheds, ecosystem services, and recreational use;
  • Natural Habitat: Large conserved landscapes that are diverse, interconnected, and biologically resilient, especially key ecological landscapes that support species habitat, air and water quality, erosion control, and ecosystem vitality in an era of climate disruption.

FLT seeks to achieve these goals through:

  • Conservation and Stewardship: Natural rural landscapes, especially working farms and forests, will continue to be a high priority. We engage directly with landowners to support the permanent conservation of diverse landscapes in Western Massachusetts;
  • Organizational excellence and integrity: We value the public trust and take pride in accomplishing our work in a professional and thoughtful manner, tailoring land conservation goals and strategies to the needs of individual landowners and the local community;
  • Collaboration with regional, state, and federal partners: FLT seeks to work with other organizations to address the actual and the prospective effects of climate change, refine our land conservation and stewardship practices and goals, and engage in landowner technical assistance, outreach, and education.

FLT is a mission-driven land trust operating from its office in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts. We are governed by an active volunteer Board of Directors and presently have an annual operating budget of about $900,000. Our present staff of nine highly skilled individuals is organized into four areas: Land Conservation, Land Stewardship, Community Outreach and Education, and Philanthropy.

The Position

As chief executive, the Executive Director works with the Board and Staff to lead FLT in the following key areas:

Vision, Mission, and Strategy

  • Works closely with the Board and Staff to develop and update FLT’s vision, mission, and strategic plan;
  • Provides leadership towards achieving the goals and actions set out in the strategic plan.

Communication, Outreach, and External Relations

  • Maintain productive relationships and innovative partnerships with federal, state, local, and private entities;
  • Advocate strongly for land conservation throughout the towns and communities of Western Massachusetts--advance FLT’s mission with public officials, local and state governments, conservation partners, the news media, and the general public;
  • Increase awareness of FLT beyond its core supporters, in order to support FLT’s mission;
  • Collaborate with FLT partners (conservation groups, public agencies, landowners, donors, and others) to communicate our conservation initiatives to key decision makers and the public;
  • Increase stewardship education and outreach on the sustainable use of natural resources, shared responsibility for managing conserved lands, and the impact of global climate disruption on local landscapes, ecosystems, and natural habitats.


  • Assume a leadership role in raising the annual and long-term funds needed to support FLT’s mission and its financial needs through individual giving, corporate donations, public events, and grants;
  • Works with Director of Philanthropy to implement the annual fundraising plan, pursue a diversity of public, private, and corporate funding sources, and effectively reach out to present and prospective high-impact donors and foundations;
  • Work closely with the Board and Staff to increase FLT’s annual income and endowment.

Management and Operations

  • Inspire and motivate a highly skilled and committed team, including Staff, Board, and volunteers.
  • Work respectfully, inclusively, and collaboratively with FLT’s Staff to maintain and enhance a cohesive team that capitalizes on and benefits from individual and collective strengths;
  • Hire, develop, manage, and evaluate FLT staff, based on an organizational staffing plan and budget approved by the Board;
  • Have a clear and shared understanding of the near and long-term financial resources needed to realize FLT’s mission;
  • Oversee day-to-day operations and ensure that appropriate management systems are in place, including accounting, risk management, human resources, legal, and technology;
  • Develop with Staff and review with the Board an annual operating plan and budget, progress reports, financial performance, and the annual audit;


  • Supports Staff to create appropriate programming for Land Conservation, Land Stewardship, Community Outreach and Education, and Philanthropy;
  • Set high standards and ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of FLT’s many programs;
  • As appropriate, recommend to the Board significant new programs and initiatives and/or modifications to existing programs.

Board Relations

  • Support the Board’s efforts to expand membership, access their expertise and connections, and encourage their personal and financial commitment to FLT;
  • Partner with Board leadership to strengthen FLT’s standards and practices, recruit Board candidates, and build and support an effective Board;
  • Regularly update the Board on significant developments, including fundraising initiatives, conservation and stewardship activities, special events, and significant financial developments;
  • Work closely with the Board to ensure compliance with FLT’s bylaws, policies, directives, audits, and the legal requirements of a 501(C)3 organization.

Experience and Attributes Preferred

  • A demonstrated passion and vision for land conservation and stewardship;
  • A background in land conservation, land stewardship, ecology and/or regional planning;
  • A clear and demonstrable understanding of conservation and stewardship practices in Massachusetts, including the contractual (legal) relationships involved in state and federal land conservation programs;
  • A proven track record that demonstrates effective leadership skills in a non-profit land trust or similar organization;including a collaborative management style and experience working with a non-profit Board on organizational development, strategic planning, and fundraising;
  • Strong knowledge and understanding of effective non-profit fundraising practices, including major-donor outreach, donor stewardship, and capital and annual campaign management;
  • Ability to communicate the organization’s mission to supporters, the community, public officials, and foundations through written materials, and public presentations.
  • A sound understanding of non-profit finance, budgeting, legal requirements, and the Board’s role in legal and financial oversight;
  • The ability to work collaboratively with the Board and Staff to build trust, strengthen organizational effectiveness, and encourage programs in support of FLT’s mission;
  • Familiarity with Western Massachusetts which may include experience living and/or working in this area;
  • A bachelor’s degree or equivalent relevant work experience is required; advanced degree in related field would be advantageous.

Candidate Applications

This is a full-time position based in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts with a competitive salary and benefits package. To apply please submit a cover letter which includes a description of how your qualifications would support FLT’s mission and needs, your resume, and contact information for three references to: .No phone calls, please.

The deadline for applications is December 15, 2018. FLT is an equal opportunity employer.


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