A New Hampshire lake during summer


NH LAKES relies on strong local partners, like lake and watershed associations, to achieve its mission of clean and healthy lakes. NH LAKES helps associations get started and can guide them to achieving their goals and organizational excellence.

We provide information and guidance on organizational topics such as registering your nonprofit with the State of New Hampshire, incorporating with the Internal Revenue Service, model by-laws, insurance, fundraising, and more.

Check out these resources:

Nonprofit organizations are governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. The Board is legally responsible for the organization and its role will vary depending on the size, capacity, and experience of the organization.

NH LAKES board and staff members help our association partners with their governance needs.

Check out these resources:

Nonprofit organizations are powered by people who are passionate about a cause. In the case of NH LAKES and its local partners, that cause is the lakes of New Hampshire. It is people—we call them Members—that provide most of the money, the volunteers, the expertise, and the access to institutions and community leaders.

NH LAKES encourages its local association partners to be broad in their thinking and inclusive in their membership. We are here to help our local partners build strong and sustaining membership programs.

Check out these resources:

Fundraising is an essential activity for all nonprofit organizations and can take many forms. To be successful, you need to build and nurture a culture of philanthropy within your organization and within your lake community. The people who are trying to raise the money must be committed to and invested in the cause. Demonstrating your commitment and investment in the cause is the best way to make your case to other people for support of your cause.

Check out these resources:

Caused-Based Marketing: Nonprofit fundraising is based on having a cause that you believe in—the health of the lake, for instance—and having a community of people willing to support that cause. Nonprofit fundraising is sometimes called ‘cause-based’ marketing. This is like for-profit businesses marketing a product or service. To raise money for your lake cause, you need to describe what you are doing, why you are doing it, and what you need from people to help you accomplish it.

Check out these resources:

Where the Dollars Come From: Most nonprofit dollars come from individual people, not government or businesses. Basic membership dues do not usually raise enough money to fund programs or allow you to make long-term investments, such as buying or conserving land. Fundraising goals and activities should be over and above your regular membership dues.

Fundraising is both art and science so you need to be open minded and creative. Ways that your organization can raise money include having an annual appeal, special campaigns to buy our build something, and maybe getting grants.

Check out these resources:

Contact NH LAKES for information about specific grants that may help fund your needs.

Although special events may raise money (not always as much as you would expect), they can also provide other benefits. They help you make new friends, raise your profile in the community, and are an opportunity for people to work toward a common goal. Special events should be fun. They can be labor intensive, so start small and plan within your means. Go for the best quality event(s) rather than organizing many events.

Check out these resources:

NH LAKES works with many partners to bring you programs tied to the lifecycle and health of lakes, which we also hope add to your enjoyment of lakes. In deciding what programs are most useful to you and the lake, you should first know something about the condition of the lake.

We think of lakes as living things that have life cycles and a lifespan. They may age gracefully or rapidly based on their diet and the condition of the land around them. You can help control lake diet by reducing polluted runoff water that carries nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen, or pollutants like road salt and septic leachate, into the lake.

The programs that NH LAKES and its partners offer are directed at the whole lake and its entire lifecycle.

These are the programs that we recommend to influence long-term lake health:

  • Regular Checkups: Monitoring the Health of the Lake
    • Water Quality Monitoring
    • Plant Monitoring
  • Treatment: Managing The Lake’s Condition
  • Long-Term Conservation Measures

We have observed that our local partners who work closely with the cities and towns in which the lake lie are able to influence the health of the lake. This means becoming involved year-round by serving on, or attending, municipal board and committee meetings. These are the places where decisions affecting local lake health are made.

Getting involved, raising awareness among others about the value of clean lakes, and building relationships with decision makers, are recommended best practices. There are also regional and state agencies that you should know about.

Check out these resources:

Strategic planning is important to organizations because it provides a sense of direction and measurable goals. It is a road map of sorts, confirming where you want to go, when you want to get there, and the route and means by which you will travel.

A strategic plan should should describe how and when you will measure your progress along the way. Strategic planning is best done with the help of an experienced facilitator, ideally someone not from your group. It does not need to be a long, drawn-out process. It can be conducted every few years and th plan reviewed once a year.

If done well and followed, a strategic plan can help your group accomplish its goals while making the best use of time and resources.

NH LAKES helps organizations plan strategically for their future and the health of our lakes.

Check out these resources:

NH LAKES offers an article library covering several lake ecology, conservation, and management topics. We invite you to peruse the library and share articles with your friends, neighbors, local lake associations, and conservation groups—anyone you know who loves or cares for a lake.

Visit our article library—click here.