From easements to properties, volunteers, donors, and employees, land trusts require unique tools in order to manage a wide range of tasks and projects effectively.
One of, if not the most important piece of a new system is website forms. Website forms on your land trust website can collect information from interested volunteers, donors, participants, or attendees while internal forms inside of your nonprofit software database can manage projects, volunteers, inspections and more.
Functionality like this replaces disparate spreadsheets, word docs, access databases, and centralizes data and operations around one comprehensive solution.
Let's take a look at 6 website forms that are crucial to operational efficiency at any land trust, conservancy, or watershed:
Annual site inspections for fee simple properties and easements could be done by staff or volunteers and data could be input into a form while the inspector was in the field. The site inspection could then be submitted into the database, attached to a record that's created for that property or easement.
The page URL could be sent to a volunteer checking out a property and they could complete the inspection form from out in the field.
The East Cooper Land Trust uses a form on the volunteer page on their website to collect information from interested volunteers. Many organizations miss this opportunity and simply offer an email address for volunteers to contact.
A form will enable you to sync information right into your database in order to easily connect with these contacts for future volunteer opportunities and report on custom fields listed on the form...It's a much more efficient way to reach volunteers than filtering through your Outlook to find all the volunteers that have emailed you over time or collecting names in a rogue spreadsheet.
Project Evaluation & Selection
Forms can also be used by staff and project committee members when evaluating potential fee simple and easement projects. While on site or other remote locations, members could document conservation values, public benefit, and potential risks and store that information inside of a potential property record inside of the CRM.
Online donation forms could be created for specific projects. The donation forms could be customized to provide information relevant to a specific property (acerage, map, conservation values) and give commmunity supporters a way to donate to certain property locations. Most importantly, a link to this form could be included in any kind of solicitation, email marketing, social media out, or direct mail appeal.
Typically, the two types of events forms could be used for are fundraising events or stewardships events.
Fundraising events are an integral part of most conservancy development plans. Henry's Fork is a good example of an organization that relies heavily on event fundraising to raise money for watershed and trout protection Idaho. Setting up online registration forms allows attendees to quickly RSVP and allows you to accurately track and communicate with every attendee.
Stewardship events allow for people to sign up as a volunteer at certain properties. The form could have selections for different volunteer options including office or database work, marketing outreach, litter clean up, invasive plants and species control, stream bank restoration, aquatic restoration, boundaries marking and trail maintenence.
Forms make it easier to manage members, collect dues, and communicate with member contacts in your database. Memberships are crucial to many Land Trust Alliances and Conservancies, and forms allow visitors to choose membership levels (see above example).
When it comes to adopting technology tools, land conservation organizations need customized, flexible solutions that can manage operations in one central place.
What will your tool be?