Record Keeping Initiative




Land Trust Records:
Getting Your House in Order

2020-2021 Massachusetts
Record Keeping Initiative


The Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition (MLTC) and the Land Trust Alliance (LTA) are collaborating to offer direct assistance to small and all-volunteer land trusts to help strengthen their systems for creating, organizing, and backing up the records needed to defend protected lands in perpetuity. Six Massachusetts land trusts successfully completed the program in 2019-2020.

Record Keeping Toolkit -- resources for your land trust to help improve your record keeping practices
Link to webinar outlining the program (pwd: ^3@?g0sY)

Intended Outcomes

  • Property records and select organizational records are organized and digitized.
  • Critical materials missing from property files are identified.
  • A records policy is drafted and ready for Board adoption.
  • Land trust representatives understand how to identify, organize and store critical records going forward.

July 29, 4 - 5 pm:   Informational webinar to learn more. Register here.
September 15:       Applications due
October 1:                Follow up with land trusts selected to participate
Fall 2020:                Land trusts and consultant agree on schedule of work
June 2021:               Project ends

"Having this grant was enormously helpful for a small land trust like ours with only one very part-time staff member. All our records are now stored electronically which is a huge step forward for us."  -- Executive Secretary of a 2019 Program Participant

Land Trust Eligibility and Expectations

  • Is a current member of the Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition and the Land Trust Alliance
  • Has three or fewer staff
  • Is not currently accredited by the Land Trust Alliance nor participating in the Terrafirma insurance program
  • Will commit to at least two in-person meetings with your assigned consultant
  • Will organize records into general categories of “property”, “organizational” and “other” before contractor begins work
  • Agrees to contribute a $100 participation fee plus $30 per property file the consultant reviews, as a co-pay toward the cost of the project. (Note that this is estimated to be 20% or less of the actual cost of the work.)
  • Agrees to complete a project evaluation form and follow-up surveys one year after project completion to help us understand  how record keeping work is being sustained in your organization. 

Land Trust Selection Process 

Land trusts interested in participating should submit a letter of interest by email to by September 15, 2020. Letters will be reviewed by MLTC and LTA staff, with a focus on land trust readiness and ability to participate if selected. All applicants will be contacted by October 1 regarding the status of their application and next steps.

Letters of interest (2 pages or less) should include the following information:

  • Land trust name, location and community where land trust operates. 
  • General background about your land trust (e.g. years in existence, current activities, number of full and part-time staff, if any). 
  • Whether your land trust has a board-approved records policy. (Please attach it if so.) 
  • How you think your land trust could best sustain good records management beyond the life of this project. 
  • Who at your organization would likely need to work most closely with the consultant, and any constraints in their availability from September 2020 – June 2021. (Note: Most trusts are able to complete work on this project within a three-month period. The schedule of work for each trust will be set by mutual agreement of the parties). 
  • Your point of contact for all project communications.

In addition:

IF APPLYING FOR OPTION 1  (Consultant to organize and digitize all property files):

  • Indicate the number of fee properties and the number of conservation restrictions your land trust currently holds. If you manage certain properties that were assembled through separate transactions over time, please count each separate deed or conservation restriction as a separate holding.
  • Confirm a commitment to contribute a $100 participation fee plus $30 per property file reviewed. 

IF APPLYING FOR OPTION 2  (Consultant organizes and digitizes one fee-owned and one CR property file, and meets with you to review the process so you can continue on your own):

  • Confirm a commitment to contribute a $250 participation fee. 

The Massachusetts Record Keeping Initiative is made possible by the generous support of the Fields Pond Foundation, the Fieldstone Foundation, the Stifler Family Foundation, and other generous supporters