Standard 1: Mission
The land trust has a clear mission that serves a public interest, and all programs support that mission.
A land trust has the responsibility to act in ways that benefit public rather than private interests. Everyone connected with a land trust’s governance should have a similar understanding of the organization’s mission in the event that the group is asked to take on programs and transactions that further individual interests but that do not advance the public purposes for which the land trust was organized. Land trust goals and programs implementing the mission may change over time, but change should be a deliberate decision. In establishing its mission, goals and programs, the land trust should reflect the needs and priorities of its constituency. Support from the community is essential for sustaining conservation over time, meeting conservation goals, defending conservation actions and obtaining financial support.
- Charitable Purposes Preservation Act, SBC 2004, c. 59, s. 3
- Review of the act: http://www.carters.ca/pub/bulletin/charity/2007/chylb122.htm
- Society Act, RSBC 1996, c. 433, s. 27.
- Canada Corporations Act, RSC 1970, c. C-32.
B. Planning and Evaluation
Planning and Evaluation. In implementing its mission, the land trust regularly establishes strategic goals for implementing its mission and routinely evaluates programs, goals and activities to be sure they are consistent with the mission.
These are the “planning practices” and specify the need for a clear mission statement and a process, such as a strategic plan, for establishing and evaluating land trust programs. A mission statement is important in that it embodies the work of the land trust, why it exists and how it conducts its business. The mission statement can be used in bylaws, in charitable applications, in soliciting charitable donations, in fundraising activities and to explain the land trust’s work to the public. It forms the touchstone for the organization. Land trusts may also wish to consider developing a vision statement that addresses the direction of the land trust over the long term.
Likewise, some form of forward-looking plan with strategic goals is also essential for a land trust. How complicated this process is, how long it takes and what it encompasses depends on the particular circumstances of each land trust. A young, small land trust may use a simpler and quicker planning process than an established organization with multiple programs and a large staff. Regular oversight of strategic planning direction is clearly a board responsibility, though implementation is usually left to the staff. In either case, planning enables a land trust to chart its future and ensure that it is able to meet the land protection and stewardship obligations it accepts. Both the mission statement and planning process should reflect the needs and priorities of the constituency the land trust serves.
BC Assessment Questions
- Does the landtrust have a strategic plan or strategic agenda?
- If yes, what year was the last one established and for what period?
- Is the period suitable for evaluation of goals with changing times? If not, what period would be more relevant?
- If no strategic plan or agenda is set, how does the land trust set out its strategic goals?
- Does the land trust complete a work plan every 1-2 years ties to each goal and objective?
- Does the land trust evaluate and revise or update its program and goals at leats once every 3-5 years?
CLTA Assessment Questions
- Does the land trust have a strategic plan?
- If yes, what time period does it cover?
- If no, describe how the land trust establishes its strategic goals
- Does the land trust complete an annual work plan with specific goals/objectives?
- Does the land trust periodically evaluate its programs and goals?
Resources: Example Policies & Template Documents
- TLC Operating Policy
- CCLT Guidelines for the Policy and Procedures Manual
- NTNB Policy Guidelines
- TLC Policy Statements
- Strategic Plan London Wildlife Trust
- ITF Table of Contents Policy Manual
- CCLT Policy Manual Contents
- Islands Trust Fund Plan
- Sample Work Plan Smiley
- Organization Needs Assessment Smiley
- LTABC Successful Organizations
- GLT Strategic Plan Workshop Outline
- LTAUS Strategic Plan Summary
- Elements of Strategic Plan Smiley
- Organizational Development Resources
- Strategic Plan Jackson Hole
- ITF Strategic Plan
- Successful LT Checklist Bonar
- Strategic Plan Layout Smiley
- Evergreen Land Trust Survey Needs Assessment
- LTABC Strategic Plan 2007-2010
LTABC Strategic Plan