Standard 7: Volunteers, Staff and Consultants
The land trust has volunteers, staff and/or consultants with appropriate skills and in sufficient numbers to carry out its programs.
The work of a land trust is substantial, diverse and often technical or specialized, and includes fundraising, public relations, financial management, landowner contact, designing and carrying out transactions, legal and tax matters, and land and/or conservation agreement monitoring and management. A land trust that acquires, owns, or manages land or conservation agreements, even temporarily, is dealing with complex issues and thousands or even millions of dollars’ worth of assets. Conducting this work properly takes trained individuals. If a land trust is completely managed by volunteers, they have a responsibility to see that the work is carried out with appropriate expertise and supervision, and that a sufficient number of people share the work. If the land trust has staff, it must be sure that the staff is properly trained to manage the complex tasks of land conservation, and the board must establish appropriate policies and procedures to guide staff. All land trusts must engage outside expert help in the event they do not have sufficient time or expertise in-house and must be sure to select projects that are consistent with their capacity.
- Income Tax Act, SC 1985, c. I;
see Canada Revenue Agency guide “Employee or Self-Employed?” at:
- Employment Standards Act, RSBC 1996, c. 113.
- Workers Compensation Act, RSBC 1996, c. 492.
- Human Rights Code, RSBC 1996, c. 210.
- Canada Pension Plan, c. C-8.
- Employment Insurance Act, SC 1996, c. 23.
G. Compensation and Benefits
If the land trust has staff, it provides fair and equitable compensation and benefits, appropriate to the scale of the organization.
Every non-profit organization struggles to provide fair compensation to its staff. Often, it is possible to find staff willing to work for lower compensation because they are committed to the mission, or a volunteer willing to serve as staff with no pay. However, even if a land trust has low or no-cost help today it should be financially prepared to meet its responsibilities if these resources are not available in the future. As the land trust community continues to mature, it is important to retain qualified staff and maintain the credibility of the profession by providing reasonable compensation to employees. To understand what compensation norms are in the land trust’s region of operation, it should periodically survey comparable non-profits regarding compensation and benefits. Land trusts should consider consulting with its auditor/external accountant regarding the taxation of compensation and benefits provided to any staff, reporting requirements, and any tax efficient ways of providing benefits.
CLTA Assessment Questions
- Does the land trust periodically review the salaries and benefits offered by other similar organizations in its region?