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Assessing Your Organization: Gauging Your Land Trusts Progress Maryland Land Conservation Conference 2009 Sylvia Bates, Land Trust Alliance Beki Howey,

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Presentation on theme: "Assessing Your Organization: Gauging Your Land Trusts Progress Maryland Land Conservation Conference 2009 Sylvia Bates, Land Trust Alliance Beki Howey,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Assessing Your Organization: Gauging Your Land Trusts Progress Maryland Land Conservation Conference 2009 Sylvia Bates, Land Trust Alliance Beki Howey, Maryland Environment Trust

2 Why should a land trust evaluate its performance?

3 Assessment of performance allows land trust leaders to… Reflect on individual responsibilities Clarify expectations Identify issues and concerns that need attention, including training needs Recognize and reward good performance Set goals for the future Use the results as a springboard for performance improvement

4 Assessing Your Organization

5 Land Trust Standards and Practices (revised 2004)

6 Definition Land Trust Standards and Practices are the ethical and technical guidelines for the responsible operation of a land trust

7 Land Trust Standards and Practices and your Land Trust Land Trust Alliance members must adopt the 2004 Standards and Practices revisions All land trusts are encouraged to implement Standards and Practices at a pace appropriate for their organizations

8 What does it mean to adopt? Adoption indicates that a land trust has… –Reviewed –Accepted –Made a commitment

9 What is Accreditation? Voluntary Independent verification of standards Based on 37 indicator practices from Land Trust Standards and Practices

10 Introduction to AYO Background How AYO has been used –Strategic planning –Organizational challenges –Expanding staff or programs –Mentoring –Grant-making requirement –Membership in statewide land trust council –Land trust accreditation

11 AYO Levels Self-assessment done by land trust without outside help Paper-based guided assessment with phone support from Alliance staff or consultant Standard guided assessment with Alliance staff or consultant High-level AYO with document review

12 Choosing the Assessment Method Guided assessments – the recommended approach Self-assessments – two alternative approaches Decision-making guide

13 General Steps in the Guided AYO Process 1.Land trust is engaged in the process 2.An assessment meeting is scheduled 3.Land trust completes the workbook and submits background materials to the assessor 4.Assessment meeting is held 5.Written recommendations are prepared and delivered to the land trust 6.The assessment process is evaluated 7.Additional follow up

14 Initiating the Process Identifying an assessor to help Targeted invitation to pre-identified land trust General announcement –Brief informational formBrief informational form –Memorandum of understandingMemorandum of understanding

15 Guided Assessments All-volunteer land trusts –Entire board completes workbook OR –Standards assigned to committees Land trusts with small staffs –Entire board and staff leadership team OR –Standards assigned to committees and key staff Large, staffed organizations –Standards assigned to staff person or board committees AND –Entire board reviews workbook OR summary prior to the assessment meeting

16 Self-Assessments Assessor plays more limited role Receives workbooks Collects background materials Reviews and evaluates information Makes preliminary recommendations Presents results Finalizes written recommendations No involvement by outside assessor

17 Self-Assessments All-volunteer land trusts –All board members individually complete workbook OR –Standards assigned to committees OR –Board completes workbook together Land trusts with small staffs –All board members and staff leadership individually complete workbook OR –Standards assigned to committees and key staff OR –Board and staff leadership complete workbook together

18 Self-Assessments (cont.) Large, staffed organizations –Standards assigned to staff person or board committees OR –Board and staff leadership complete workbook together

19 Before the Assessment Meeting 1.Schedule the meeting 2.Distribute workbook 3.Participants may complete questionnaire Sample A Sample B 4.Sample documents, background materials submitted to assessor Sample A Sample B 5.Pre-meeting phone conference

20 At the Assessment Meeting 1.Introduction and background 2.Review and discussion of each practice 3.Reach general consensus concerning ranking 4.Identify priorities for improvement for Parts 1 and 2 5.Wrap-up, summary and next steps

21 Components of the Written Report Brief summary of the meeting Summary of findings Recommendations Priorities Reference materials and resources

22 Sample Reports Sample A Sample B Sample C

23 Delivering the Final Report By mail –With cover letterWith cover letter Phone conference Face-to-face meeting –Board planning agendaBoard planning agenda

24 After the Assessment Evaluation forms –For the land trust to completeFor the land trust to complete –For the assessor to completeFor the assessor to complete Six-month progress report Additional follow-up (examples) –Additional coaching –Technical assistance plan –Individual follow-up

25 Other Tools Many different organizational assessment tools available –BoardSource –Institute for Conservation Leadership –Others Land Trust Alliance –Assessing Your Organization –Conservation Easement Program Assessment

26 Standards and Practices Curriculum 15 courses on indicator practices –Prepares land trusts for accreditation –Not required for accreditation –No guarantee of accreditation –Not just for accreditation!

27 The Learning Center Free to Alliance members anytime, anywhere Same content as the books/instructors Access and more information: Accessible to members with dial-up


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