About 15 years ago the IRS became concerned about the practices of some large land conservation organizations. In response, the land trust community, under the auspices of the Land Trust Alliance, began to develop a professional credential for land trusts large and small, based on long established best practices. To become credentialed, land trusts must engage in a self-assessment, review all policies and procedures and bring them into line with the Land Trust Alliance’s Standards and Practices, and provide several years of supporting documentation that show compliance with the Standards. For the past three years we have been engaged in this process.
During 2012 the Board has reviewed all of our policies and procedures. Each of our policies now accurately reflects our mission and capability to meet our responsibilities as a land conservation organization. In the fall of 2012, we engaged attorney Elizabeth Wroblicka to review our policies, suggest changes, and assist us in updating our by-laws. It has been rewarding to see that much of the work the Land Trust has done over the years is consistent with the Standards and Practices of the Land Trust Alliance. Codifying our practices into clearly described policies will make it easier for us to continue our work, and to pass along our knowledge to future board members. Our next step is to register with the Accreditation Commission in May, and spend this year compiling the documentation that shows our compliance with our stated policies. This work will prepare us for our pre-application in January 2014. Thank you to Jeanie Lindquist who is heading this committee.