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Serving on Harpswell Heritage Land Trust’s Board of Trustees

Harpswell Heritage Land Trust
March 1, 2024

Harpswell Heritage Land Trust seeks thoughtful, motivated, and dedicated members for its Board of Trustees and committees. The Board of Trustees drives the direction of the Land Trust, engaging in interesting conversations about how HHLT can best make an impact toward advancing conservation, access, and outdoor education in Harpswell. Committees give input to and carry out much of the actual work of the Land Trust in collaboration with staff.

How to Express Interest

We hope you get a chance to review this information and it piques your interest! Please click the button below for an easy form to express your interest in serving on the Board of Trustees or one of our committees. We will be in touch to schedule an interview with our Nominating Committee. The deadline for filling out this form is March 31, 2024.

Fill out the Form

About Harpswell Heritage Land Trust

Harpswell Heritage Land Trust (HHLT) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and protecting Harpswell’s natural resources, cultural heritage, and access to the outdoors now and forever through conservation, stewardship, and education.

What we are Looking for in Board Members

two people smile at trail sign they have just installed

Our trustees are active in all areas of our work (Priscilla Seimer photo)

Ideal candidates for election as Trustees will have the following qualifications:

  1. Personal qualities of integrity and thoughtfulness.
  2. Familiarity with the Harpswell community.
  3. Diplomatic skills and affinity for cultivating relationships.
  4. Flexibility, openness to differences of opinion, and the ability to work collaboratively.
  5. Unique perspectives and/or representation of groups who are underrepresented on the Board.
  6. Experience or expertise that is relevant to HHLT’s mission and activities.
  7. An understanding of and commitment to HHLT’s mission, values, vision, and goals.
  8. A willingness to actively participate in HHLT’s work.

What we Don’t Require

To be a Board Member at HHLT, you do not need to be wealthy or have any particular specialized skills. You also don’t need to be intimately acquainted with all of HHLT’s activities.

The Role of the Board

The Board of Trustees takes on a number of key roles to drive and further the work of HHLT. Those roles include the following:

  1. The Board reviews and updates HHLT’s Strategic Plan every five years and assesses progress toward meeting the Plan’s strategic priorities. (Click here for more about our current Strategic Plan).
  2. The Board sets policies for the organization and activities and works to ensure that HHLT meets its responsibilities as an accredited land trust.
  3. As safeguards of the public trust, the Board is responsible for managing HHLT’s financial affairs and protecting its financial assets. The Board oversees budget development, sets policies for managing and investing HHLT’s funds, and ensures the financial accountability of the organization.
  4. The Board ensures that adequate financial and human resources are available for the organization to implement its programs and projects.
  5. The Board ensures that HHLT programs and services address community and constituent needs in accordance with the mission. Trustees serve as emissaries of HHLT to the community. They promote cooperation with other organizations to meet shared objectives and aspirations.
  6. The Board participates in professional development opportunities to increase their knowledge of the field. Training is provided during regular Board meetings, and Board Members are encouraged to seek other training opportunities.
  7. As members of HHLT’s committees, Board Members get involved in the actual work of the Land Trust in a variety of ways.
two women laughing while one holds up a coffee mug

We like to recognize our trustees and their hard work at our Annual Meeting (Bill Snellings photo)

Expectations of Individual Trustees

 Board Members are expected to:

  1. Participate regularly in board and committee meetings and functions. Board Members miss meetings on occasion – that’s okay – but they are expected to make an effort to attend as many as possible. Participation via Zoom is possible.
  2. Become informed about the organization’s mission, services, policies, and programs.
  3. Make annual financial contributions to HHLT and contributions to capital campaigns to the best of their ability. Even small donations get us to 100% participation. The size of Trustee gifts is kept confidential.
  4. Represent the organization in the community in a friendly and accurate manner.
  5. Place the interests of the Land Trust ahead of their own in matters that concern HHLT. This includes following policies, maintaining confidentiality, and acting in the best interests of the Trust with honesty, openness, and fairness and without placing themselves in conflicts of interest.
  6. Serve on one or more committees. This committee work allows trustees to become more intimately aware of and involved in a particular area of work. Many trustees are also asked to chair a committee at some point in their tenure. Current committees are as follows:
      1. Lands
      2. Stewardship
      3. Development
      4. Communications
      5. Programs
      6. Finance & Investment
      7. Building & Grounds
      8. Executive (consists of Board officers: President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary)

Time Commitments

Trustees are elected to three-year terms. Individuals can serve (but are not required to serve) three, three-year terms before being term limited off the Board.

Serving on the Board of the Harpswell Heritage Land Trust is a significant time commitment. We recognize this fact and strive to use your time effectively and respectfully. The commitments include:

  1. Attend board meetings (typically 10/year on the third Tuesday of the month from 6:30-8:30, and often shorter)
  2. Attend committee meetings (depending on the committee, there are 4-10 meetings/year that typically last 1.5 hours)
  3. Attend board workshops and retreats (these are rare and typically happen less than once a year)
  4. Review materials before each board and committee meeting
  5. Complete the annual board self-assessment
  6. Attend the Annual Meeting (once a year, typically 2 hours)
  7. Attend other events – we hold an annual donor cultivation event, as well as a variety of other public programs and collaborative partnerships (preferred to attend some, but not required)
  8. Attend staff and trustee events meant to build togetherness and help us get to know each other as people – lunches, walks, holiday party, etc. (preferred to attend some, but not required)
  9. Take an active role in the work of a committee. This varies quite a bit based on the committee. It might mean thanking donors (Development), writing articles (Communications), planning a public program (Programs), reviewing complex easement documentation (Lands), maintaining a trail (Stewardship), researching staff benefits and policies (Executive), giving input to financial reports and budgets (Finance & Investment), or helping with maintenance to the office (Building & Grounds). This work is typically done on your own time.

What you get back by serving on the Board of Trustees

four adults smile for camera

Board Members Tim McCreight, Wendy Batson, Don Westfall and Rachel Beane (Amelia Graham photo)

While Board positions are unpaid, our Board Members name many positive benefits to serving, including a sense of accomplishment, opportunities to grow and learn, and feelings of connection with others. Here are some quotes from our annual board self-assessment.

  1. “I didn’t realize how much being on the Board, and on committees, would deepen my engagement with HHLT and with the whole town. It has been one of the very best things that have come out of my move to Harpswell.”
  2. “I’ve met some outstanding people! And I’ve seen some beautiful property preserved for posterity.”
  3. “I have met many wonderful and caring people.”
  4. “Passion is shared by all in the organization, both by staff and by volunteers/trustees.”
  5. “I have been surprised by the breadth of knowledge of Board members and the professionalism of the staff and the degree of preparation for Board and committee meetings.”

How to Express Interest

We hope that this information has piqued your interest! Now we would love to learn more about you! Please click the button below for an easy form to express your interest in serving on the Board of Trustees or one of our committees. We will be in touch to schedule an interview with our Nominating Committee. The deadline for filling out this form is March 31, 2024.

Fill out the Form

You are also welcome to reach out to Executive Director Julia McLeod with any questions. She can be contacted at 207-721-1121 or julia@hhltmaine.org.