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A. Board Responsibility

A. Board Responsibility

  • Individual board members are informed of and understand their role and their responsibilities as not-for-profit board members, including their legal and fiduciary duties
  • The board reviews and approves the land trust’s mission and strategic plans, and is responsible for evaluating them
  • The board provides oversight of the land trust’s finances and operations by:
    • Reviewing and approving an annual budget
    • Working to ensure sufficient financial resources are available for the long-term operations of the land trust
    • Receiving and reviewing financial reports and statements in a form and with a frequency appropriate for the scale of the land trust’s financial activity
    • Reviewing the independently prepared financial audit, review or compilation
    • Adopting written policies or procedures for the responsible and prudent investment, management and use of financial assets
  • The board hires, oversees and evaluates, at least annually, the performance of any executive director (or chief staff person)
  • The board may delegate decision-making and management functions to committees, provided that committees have clearly defined roles and report to the board or staff


The board is responsible for establishing the organization’s mission, determining strategic direction and setting policies and priorities to carry out the mission, and, as required by law, the oversight of the organization’s finances and operations. As well, the board should ensure the prevalence of high ethical standards, effective performance through sound information, and the development of sound relationships. The board is also responsible for managing risk, taking account of the organization, and ensuring the soundness of the governance system. As the land trust is a charity, the board has a heightened duty of care with respect to the protection of its charitable property.

The board has the ultimate management and fiscal responsibility for the non-profit corporation. Board responsibilities include oversight of finances, philanthropy and fundraising activities, operations, programs, long-range planning, staff and volunteer conduct, and public relations. The board of an all-volunteer land trust takes on many of the day-to-day program and operations tasks. The board of a large staffed organization will focus on setting overall policies and management oversight. Regardless of size, a board that understands and meets its basic responsibilities provides a firm foundation for the land trust, builds public confidence, paves the way for financial success and allows the land trust to focus its energies on creative, effective ways to accomplish its land conservation mission. A strong and informed board leads to a strong and effective organization.