How a Unified Database Elevates Your Operations: A Guide for Land Trusts

On any given day at your land trust, you’ll see numerous activities happening at once. From fundraising to conservation to stewardship and monitoring, there are always critical wheels in motion to support the mission at the heart of all you do—the preservation of the land.

With often-limited resources, it can be difficult to carry out these varied (and sometimes competing) responsibilities of your organization. Many land trusts struggle because staff members are using different systems and organizing their information in different ways. But when all the disparate parts of your land trust can seamlessly operate in tandem and complement one another, your ability to accomplish your loftiest goals skyrockets.

Imagine a world where all of your data was easily accessible and could be aggregated in various ways at the push of a button. Picture a fuller view of your constituents that allows you to craft more targeted communications. Go ahead and dream about freeing up your staff’s time to do more of the work that matters, instead of having to sift through data that is often incomplete or dispersed across users or systems.

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Here’s the good news: That vision can easily become a reality. Adopting a comprehensive, easy-to-navigate database unlocks a wealth of potential for your organization.

A Glance at Your Future

No More Siloed Data

Your current data management system probably consists of tons of spreadsheets that not everyone has access to or awareness of. Or maybe you've tried implementing a dedicated system, but it’s been hard to get staff to learn and adopt it because it doesn’t integrate with some of the other tech solutions currently in use.

The right system will solve the issue of silos, and breaking down those barriers will make grant reporting easier and provide better constituent management. With different staff focusing on fundraising versus acquisition versus monitoring, trends or overlaps in the data can be hard to spot. But when you can track all the different attributes of land and the related records, contacts, and activities in one database, you can draw conclusions you previously couldn’t, and strengthen your messaging—whether it’s pulling stats for a grant proposal, creating targeted outreach campaigns, discovering trends in invasive species, or finding out which donors are also interested in hunting.

With a central repository that creates a 360-degree view of every property and constituent, you can suddenly recognize that certain land owners may also make good donors or some donors may be the perfect volunteers. The opportunities are endless!

Mobile Accessibility

Let’s face it: In land conservation, there is no shortage of work that occurs—quite literally—in the field, so you need a system that can get out there with you. Sure, there will always be tasks that can only be done in the office, but what if you could substantially cut down the time spent on transcribing monitoring notes that were taken on paper? What if you could skip printing maps in preparation for a site visit, and instead quickly access data and input information while you were in the field?

A database with remote accessibility also comes in handy when it comes to meetings and networking. Execs on the go can easily look up contacts, log meetings, or get relevant facts and reporting at any time, from wherever they happen to be.

Preserved Historical Data for Better Staff Onboarding

A unified database also solves a lot of the challenges associated with staff turnover. Email integration ensures history is logged centrally, so important details will no longer be lost when a person leaves the organization. Having one system that houses all data means no wasted time spent sorting through a personal organization system that may have only made sense to the previous user. It’s also much easier to bring new staff members up to speed because there is only one system to learn, and anyone at the organization can provide them with training.

Extensibility and Security

Your business should grow and change without your tools getting in the way. Limited budgets and time constraints may have dictated your technology choices in the past, leading to outdated or cumbersome systems that you’ve since outgrown. It’s time to prioritize the kind of stability and security you can get from an established platform. Choosing a solution built by land trust experts on the most innovative nonprofit software ensures your solution will continue to be a leader for years to come.

Data security is also vitally important. Less robust tools from smaller firms may not be up to the gold standard of the major industry players. In fact, while a solution from a more specialized company can sometimes seem attractive due to the alignment with your needs, most cannot innovate fast enough and are stuck when the underlying technology requires a re-architecture, causing the solution to fall behind and eventually fade away. This has happened several times with land trust software in the last decade. Be sure to choose a platform with a proven track record and solid growth.

The Bottom Line

You could be reaping all these benefits that come from operating your land trust at a more technologically enhanced level, and that future you dream of is not far out of reach.

Manage your data more easily than ever before—with features and an interface tailored to your needs—by moving to LOCATE, a unified database platform created specifically for land trusts by those with an intimate knowledge of the industry. Plus, it’s built on Salesforce, a platform with longevity you can trust, so you never get left behind.

Create the impact you desire by operating more seamlessly and efficiently than ever before.

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