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B. Mission, Planning and Evaluation

  • Adopt a mission that advances conservation and serves the public interest.
  • Establish strategic goals for implementing the mission, and then review and update them, as needed, at least once every five years.
    • Revisit the mission during the strategic review to confirm it is relevant.
  • Review programs and activities at least annually to ensure they are advancing the strategic goals and make adjustments, as appropriate.


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, plannings and priorities of the constituency the land trust serves.