Land trust accreditation is a mark of distinction, showing that a land trust meets high standards for land conservation. It sends a message to landowners and supporters: “Invest in us. We are a strong, effective organization you can trust to conserve your land trust forever.”
Accreditation demonstrates that a land trust has successfully implemented Land Trust Standards and Practices. Accredited land trusts range from all-volunteer organizations to national groups and protect more than 75% of all land and easements held by land trusts in America. Accreditation is a voluntary program administered by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission.
Accreditation is a catalyst for improvement, which results in faster, better, stronger conservation. The accreditation seal offers the assurance that a land trust can keep the promise of perpetuity and that it is worthy of the public trust. So, accreditation strengthens both individual land trusts and America’s land conservation movement.
Benefits for Land Trusts
An accredited land trust can approach landowners and supporters with confidence, using the accreditation seal to demonstrate the excellence of their work. Accreditation benefits your land trust in many ways:
- Donors want to give to effective, well-run organizations. Accreditation assures them that your land trust is a good investment.
- Landowners want to know that a land trust will be able to carry out their conservation vision. Accreditation shows that you have what it takes.
- Funders often set strict requirements for grant recipients — and two-thirds of accredited land trusts say accreditation makes it easier to meet these requirements.
- Almost all land trusts improve their policies and programs as they apply for accreditation — with 96% of accredited land trusts saying that the process made them stronger.
- A stronger organization is less risky to insure. So accredited land trusts can get discounts on insurance, among other perks.
Learn more about the benefits by visiting the Land Trust Accreditation Commission's website.
Achieving or Renewing Accreditation
When is the right time for accreditation? A first-time application takes a significant time commitment, so you may want to research the process and then decide how it fits into your strategic or long-term plans.
Applying for the first time? Go to the Land Trust Accreditation Commission’s website to learn about the process for getting started.
Time to renew? Accreditation is awarded for a five-year term. When you need to renew, the Commission will send a reminder at least a year in advance. Go to the Commission’s website to learn about the renewal process.
Need support? Accreditation is demanding, but it’s worth it, and the Alliance and the land trust community can help you reach that goal. For resources to help you prepare for accreditation, go to The Learning Center, and check out Pathways to Accreditation. It can also be helpful to reach out to accredited land trusts in your area and learn from their experience.