Policies are a nonprofit organization’s operating guidelines and, as such, board and staff should be intimately familiar with policies. The work of policy development is not static; organizations should have a systematic process to review and refine, as necessary, all policies.

Policies exist to protect board and staff as they work to fulfill the organizational mission. Effective policies serve as a reference tool, guiding decision-making and preparation for dealing with conflict. Most of all, good policies can reduce the chance of improper behavior or bad decisions.

Policies, at a minimum, give guidance for the board of directors, for staff, and for managing financial and other assets. Depending upon the work of your nonprofit organization, you may have a need for additional policies.

We offer this broad advice for nonprofit policy work.

Date all policies (e.g., put an “Updated on xx/xx/xxxx” phrase in the footer of your document. Set a timeframe for policy review (and this may be different from policy to policy). For ease of review, draw attention to the change with different font sizes or colors so your decision-makers do not have to read the entire document to review the changes.

Keep current policies electronically on your organization’s server so all staff can access them at any time. Move older versions of policies to an archive section so there is no confusion about which policy document is current.

Engage all stakeholders in reviewing your policies to bring a variety of perspectives to the discussion.

The Board Source has a great article on creating policies here https://boardsource.org/resources/creating-policies/.