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Giving Partner New Year’s Resolution #1: Adopt Me!

January 2, 2013

Adopt Me!

Adopt Me!

Today we’re staring a short blog series with some easy New Year’s Resolutions to help your nonprofit make the most of The Giving Partner as a tool for continuous improvement. We’re kicking it off with “Adopt Me!”

For Pete’s sake, adopt the four policies we ask about in your nonprofit’s Giving Partner profile.

If you have already adopted them, review these policies with your board members at least once a year so that each of your leaders is reminded of what they mean, why they are important, and most importantly, that your nonprofit actually has them in place.

Over the course of the last year, a few people have told me they do not want to “burden their board members” by asking them to adopt these policies. Yes, there is a little screech you can hear over your mobile phone or laptop. These policies help protect your organization and its leaders. Also, if you are familiar with the full Form 990, you know that pesky Internal Revenue Service asks your organization about them every year.

Here they are:

  • Conflict of Interest Policy.
    Nonprofits have boards of directors charged with making key decisions in a conflict of interest-free environment. Board members are to govern in accordance with what’s best for the organization, not what’s best for their own personal interests. This policy is a must-have, and it is easy to adopt and review annually.  (Remember, even the appearance of a conflict can be detrimental to your organization.)
  • Whistleblower’s Policy.
    Every for-profit and nonprofit in America became more aware of this one after the Enron scandal and the 2002 enactment of Sarbanes-Oxley. This policy has become increasingly important for nonprofits fostering a transparent environment. Encouraging employees and others to report unethical behavior, free from retaliation of any sort, is the basis of this policy. It sends the message that you are operating above-board and have measures in place to make sure you stay that way.
  • Nondiscrimination Policy.
    Even if you don’t have employees, the nondiscrimination policy lets the public know that your organization does not discriminate against anyone, including diverse clients, current and potential board members, volunteers, etc.  Let’s get you welcomed to this century with this one!
  • Document Destruction/Retention Policy.
    This policy sets guidelines for your organization regarding the appropriate length of time to hold on to those important papers—grant applications and reports, employment contracts, tax returns, receipts, etc. We have standard recommendations in chart form to share with you.  You may wish to adjust these based on special circumstances at your organization.

Again, no matter what the size or mission of your organization, these four policies are recommended.   Send a note to susie@CFSarasota.org, and I’ll e-mail you samples.  You can easily adapt them to your organization, review them with your board and adopt them at your next board meeting.  Don’t forget to upload the new policies to your profile when your nonprofit has adopted them.

-Susie Bowie
Director of Nonprofit Strategy
Community Foundation of Sarasota County

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