Twelve Guiding Principles of Land Trust Standards and Practices

The Standards set 12 broad principles. These standards are broken down into 59 practices and 188 practice elements, which describe the essential actions needed to fulfill the Standards. Here are the 12 Standards that land trusts commit to uphold:

1.     Land trusts maintain high ethical standards and have a mission committed to conservation, community service and public benefit.

2.     Land trusts fulfill their legal requirements as nonprofit tax-exempt organizations and comply with all laws.

3.     Land trust boards act ethically in conducting the affairs of the organization and carry out their legal and financial responsibilities as required by law.

4.     Land trusts have policies and procedures to avoid or manage real or perceived conflicts of interest.

5.     Land trusts conduct fundraising activities in a lawful, ethical and responsible manner.

6.     Land trusts are responsible and accountable for how they manage their finances and assets.

7.     Land trusts have sufficient skilled personnel to carry out their programs, whether volunteers, staff and/or consultants/contractors.

8.     Land trusts carefully evaluate and select their conservation projects.

9.     Land trusts work diligently to see that every land and conservation easement transaction is legally, ethically and technically sound.

10.  Land trusts work diligently to see that every charitable gift of land or conservation easement meets federal and state tax law requirements, to avoid fraudulent or abusive transactions and to uphold public confidence in land conservation.

11.  Land trusts have a program of responsible stewardship for their conservation easements.

12. Land trusts have a program of responsible stewardship for the land held in fee for conservation purposes.