You've done the hard work, and now it is time to receive the recognition!
Accreditation from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission provides public recognition of land trusts that are engaged in the long-term protection of the land in the public interest. It increases public awareness of, and confidence in, land trusts and land conservation. Through the voluntary land trust accreditation program your land trust can achieve external verification that it is meeting national quality standards.
In addition to other benefits of accreditation, land trusts use the accreditation application process as a way to fine-tune their policies and streamline their operations. The Commission conducts an extensive review of the application and grants accreditation - and the right to use the accreditation seal - to land trusts that meet the practices. The accreditation seal is a mark of distinction in land conservation. It recognizes organizations for meeting national standards for excellence, upholding the public trust and ensuring that conservation efforts are permanent. Become more efficient and gain recognition too - a win-win opportunity!
Preparing and applying for accreditation takes a significant commitment of time from the board and, if applicable, staff. Each land trust should consider when it would be most appropriate for their organization to apply for accreditation and balance accreditation with their other program activities. In many cases this may mean incorporating accreditation into a long-term strategic plan and/or planning to apply after more immediate organizational or program needs are met.
Start the Conversation
Looking for a way to start a conversation at your land trust about applying for accreditation? Check out the Commission’s video featuring accredited land trusts discussing the benefits of accreditation. The video features several land trusts that have successfully navigated the accreditation process and have emerged stronger and more effective as a result; it is hoped that land trusts across the nation will show the video at their board and staff meetings to start the conversation about accreditation.
Once you’ve watched the video, read the Commission’s Getting Started fact sheet to help guide your land trust's journey to accreditation or download a PowerPoint presentation (3MB) and companion script to walk your staff and/or board members through the accreditation process.
Getting Started with First-Time Accreditation
The Commission’s website is a great place to start the accreditation application process. Learn more about whether your land trust is eligible for and meets the accreditation requirements, or whether a trip to the Land Trust Alliance’s online resource Pathways would be helpful in meeting the accreditation requirements.
All prospective applicants are required to review the Applicant Handbook: A Land Trust’s Guide to the Accreditation Process. The Applicant Handbook includes information on eligibility and readiness, tips for getting started, how to complete the application, what to expect once an organization has applied, and Commission policies and procedures.
In addition, the Commission has provided the Accreditation Requirements Manual: A Land Trust’s Guide to Understanding Key Elements of Accreditation as a resource to help applicants and accredited land trusts be successful in the accreditation process. This comprehensive manual now provides, all in one manual, information on the elements the Commission evaluates for every indicator practice.
Visit the Commission’s website today to get started!
Time for Renewal of Accreditation
Land trust accreditation is for a period of five years before the end of which a land trust must submit an application for renewal. In addition to reviewing the Applicant Handbook: A Land Trust’s Guide to the Accreditation Process and the Accreditation Requirements Manual: A Land Trust’s Guide to Understanding Key Elements of Accreditation, land trusts should be mindful of any expectations for improvement it may have received in the past.
Land trusts are sent a reminder about renewal with general information about when the land trusts should expect to renew; this is sent about eighteen months prior to the land trust’s expected renewal application due date. The Commission will send your accreditation contact the registration information specific to your organization approximately six months prior to its application due date.
For tips on preparing for renewal or to get started with the renewal process, visit the Commission’s website.
About the Commission
The Land Trust Accreditation Commission was established as an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance in 2006 to operate a voluntary accreditation program to verify that land trusts are meeting the indicator practices. The Alliance encourages all land trusts to follow the entire set of Land Trust Standards and Practices and to adopt them as guiding principles for their organizations.
The Land Trust Alliance has detailed information on how to implement the accreditation indicator practices on its online Learning Center. You can access the Learning Center by going to http://learningcenter.lta.org.
More information on the land trust accreditation program is also available at www.landtrustaccreditation.org.
The Commission and the Alliance offer resources that pave an easier path for accreditation. Learn where you can go for help. Or participate in a training that provides information on different topics related to accreditation.