How To Donate Land or a Conservation Easement

All of American Friends’ projects involve a qualified Canadian partner, known as a Grantee (See Our Grantees). We encourage Canadian land trusts and government entities that protect important natural resources to become grantees and part of the cross-border conservation community.

Grantees generally initiate gifts to American Friends because they are familiar with conservation priorities within their geography. Normally, Grantees take primary responsibility for structuring and completing land donations, raising funds for stewardship expenses, land management or easement monitoring and defense. However American Friends works closely with its partners, especially on their first such transaction, to ensure that the donation from a US taxpayer is done properly.

Ideally, potential donors begin the process in concert with a Canadian conservation entity, but it is not necessary. American Friends can work with donors to identify possible Grantees. Land and easement gifts are made to American Friends, not to the Canadian organization. In order for the gift to be tax deductible in the US, there cannot be an advance commitment to transfer the land or interest to another entity. However, American Friends’ long term goal is always to transfer properties it owns to appropriate local, provincial and federal entities for permanent stewardship.

Conservation transactions designed to be tax deductible and/or part of an estate plan involve most of the same steps as a sale of property. A summary of those steps is described in the AF Land Donation Process Summary.  The time required to complete a land or easement donation varies widely, depending on the capacity of the Grantee, complexity of the title and availability of information. Therefore, participants should anticipate a process that requires at least six months.

American Friends provides template forms and checklists – which are designed to be prepared by the Grantee with the assistance of the donor – for each stage of the donation process together with experienced advice to its land trust partners and donors.

Landowners and land conservation entities are encouraged to contact Sandra Tassel, American Friends’ Program Coordinator, to discuss their project ideas. (360) 515-7171 or