by Roxann Mayros, President/CEO of VisionServe Alliance
Nonprofit organizations are required by federal or state law, board directive, or good business practices to keep many documents organized, up-to-date, and available to the public. I thought it might be helpful to provide a list of those documents, organized by Mandatory, Primary Operating, and Secondary Operating documents. I welcome any contributions of documents I may have forgotten in the comment section below. If you are a VisionServe Alliance member, samples of many of these documents are (or will be) available in the members only portal on our website.
Mandatory Documents include your organization’s Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, local and state filings, IRS letter of tax status, mission, vision, value statement, and the most recent Form 990.
Primary Operating Documents is a longer list, and include policy manuals, board manual, insurance coverage, software licenses, financials, organization chart(s), emergency continuity plan, disaster plan, strategic plan, chart of accounts/budgets, the most recent audit, committee/task force minutes, and required policies for conflict of interest, whistle-blower, public records, record retention. The following should be kept safeguarded with access defined: employee files, performance evaluations, board minutes, audit report, and passwords.
Secondary Operating Documents include leadership development plans, business plan, succession plans, annual report, position descriptions, board job descriptions, board committee charges and goals, rules of order/protocols, fundraising plans and donor/sponsor opportunities, and employee emergency contacts.
In the comments, we’d like to know what documents you consider to be absolutely essential for the success of your nonprofit. Do you want access to samples of the documents mentioned above? Join VisionServe Alliance! Members, log in to find these important resources in the Members Portal under Members/Library of Sample Documents.