Blog Single

20 Jan

Your GPS

Your GPS

Many nonprofit organizations run fast to meet various demands of their community and their mission. Human capital and other resources can be short in supply. Your GPS, in part, rests in your ability to communicate goals, standards, and culture. A great way for nonprofit organizations to communicate is through handbooks or manuals. 

Employee Manual

The employee manual is both a legal document and represents the policies and procedures for your organization. In addition, an organization can present many expectations, both performance and cultural, in this document. 

It is advised that when developing an employee manual you work with a committee to evaluate the organization’s needs and legal requirements. An employment attorney is recommended to edit and approve this document. 

Volunteer Manual

The volunteer manual is different from your employee manual due to the lack of compensation and State and Federal designations assigned to volunteers. 

Some nonprofit organizations have more volunteers than employees so the importance of a manual or guide is critical to the success of their volunteer program. Once again it is recommended for an employment attorney to review this guide to ensure it meets legal standards and there is no appearance of a contract of employment. 

Board of Directors Manual

The board of directors require detailed information about the organization and their role as a board member. While there are legal and IRS guidelines, board members are served best by having detailed job descriptions so everyone understands their role and contributions to the organization.

It is also helpful for the board members to understand policies and procedures not only outlined in your articles or incorporation and bylaws, but what level of participation is required. This can include meetings, events, and financial management and contributions.

All nonprofit manuals and handbooks have general best practices that you should follow. Here is a short list: 

  1. Assemble a committee of different people and stakeholders to help write and shape your manual.
  2. Schedule and plan for annual reviews of all manuals to ensure you are current with any legislation or changes within the organization.
  3. The manual must have an organized and formal training event to ensure every item is explained and questions can be answered.
  4. Make sure the recipient of the manual signs an acknowledgement page to formally agree to follow the policies and procedures outlined in the manual.
  5. Each manual should be accessible to all those required to understand and practice all requirements.
  6. We recommend a lawyer reviews the contents of any manual to ensure proper governance and legal standards are met. 

Allow your manuals to be your organization’s GPS. By working with professionals, stakeholders, and supporters at all levels will help you improve your communication and produce better results for your organization.

by Brad Lebowsky


Connecting people, communities, and resources to grow exempt organizations.

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