Using ConservationTrack to “get our arms around” our monitoring challenges has led our board to ask, “What else should we be more on top of?”  Our board concluded that the new project process was too opportunistic and needed to be better planned and more selective.  For the first time we worked together to develop a comprehensive list of potential future engagements and a process to prioritize them.  The process is helping our board to pursue the highest quality and most at-risk properties.  We feel that this discipline will also help us be more persuasive in our fundraising.

We took on ConservationTrack when our ACT database could not meet the need to tie information about people with records about property.  We receive many, many inquiries from land owners across the country interested in making the gift of land or a conservation easement.  The focus of our ConservationTrack implementation is following activity related to those applications.  We are now able to look at the conservation value of each possible gift from a program-wide perspective.   In particular, we are able to leverage engagement by focusing on potentials which are near to or connect with existing protected areas and so contribute to wildlife corridors and sustain important connectivity.  Staff describe their use of ConservationTrack as the tool they are applying to “morph from an opportunistic organization into a strategic one”.

I love the ability to have everything in one agreed upon space that we can access from anywhere. We had a wake-up call one day when our office “server” (a designated computer for shared files) started to lose its hard drive. When the technician came to rescue us, he discovered that the backup system we had, had not been backing up for the past YEAR! (we thought it was backing up daily). People were instructed to carefully start downloading important data in case we lost the hard drive altogether!  What a relief to put all my stewardship data on ConservationTrack!

ConservationTrack was central to the development of the 200 page “Conservation Blueprint for [our] County”, an assessment of the natural health of [our] County – and our recommendations for the next generation of conservation of our natural world. This two year effort was guided by a seven-member Steering Committee, and involved consulting over 100 experts and holding four community forums.  ConservationTrack allowed us to work efficiently from three different locations. The central library of documents and document version tracking were invaluable for remote team members.

With a small but far reaching staff, we depend on CT to hold – and make available in a few keystrokes – the necessary information that traditionally would be stored only in a centralized paper filing system.  The stewardship director accesses baselines while on the road, the general counsel finds iterations of agreements while on conference calls and the executive assistant pulls mailing information into a merge file from her desk. CT increases the productivity of each staff member by reducing the time spent in the office searching for information and documents.  Preparation for donor meetings, land evaluations and property inspections can be done from the road, the office or even at home the night before traveling.

CT gives our board and staff a “one-stop-shop” for all our current and completed conservation projects.  It captures critical data for each of these projects that help us understand how to allocate resources to achieve the greatest conservation impact.  And it’s accessible virtually anywhere.  That means we can provide better service to our customers—the landowners who make our work possible.  CT is a comprehensive project management and decisionmaking tool that’s helped our organization deliver our services more efficiently and effectively.