Landcare is an important example of the potential of state-sponsored participation to establish viable local organisations and contribute to rural development. In this paper, the authors discuss their research using organisational theory to explore Landcare effectiveness. Data were obtained from a mailed survey to Landcare groups in the state of Victoria during 1998. Levels of group activity were used as a surrogate measure of group effectiveness. Groups were ranked according to their level of activity to assess the impact of factors likely to affect group performance, the efficacy of program logic, and the extent groups were contributing to program goals. Survey data suggested key aspects of Landcare Program logic were sound. Examination of the membership and activity profiles of groups suggested 90 per cent of the respondent groups were making a worthwhile contribution to program goals. This research also confirmed the importance of factors identified by others as significant influences on organisational effectiveness: the importance of having clear goals, objectives and plans; resource availability; facilitation by an outside agency; access to a funded group co-ordinator; and communication between stakeholders. Unfortunately, there are critical, ongoing management issues surrounding many of these topics.