Creating a policies and procedures manual helps provide clear protocols for consistency in an organization. Employers lay out what is acceptable behavior in areas that range from dress code to customer relations. Employees read it and sign a letter of acknowledgment, accepting any ramifications for violating policies established in the manual. Focus on key areas when writing a policies and procedures manual for a nonprofit organization.
Key Areas of Focus
Organization and Management: In this section, state the mission and vision statements of the organization. Detail the non profit status by including bylaws and articles of incorporation as registered with the Secretary of State. After the organization is defined, detail key management roles and duties. An organizational chart helps all employees understand who is responsible for what and the chain of command.
Human Resources: In the human resources section, define the responsibilities of the board of directors, how volunteers are cultivated and developed and how the staff is trained. Include personnel policies including conduct, performance rubrics, benefits and rules regarding compensation.
Fundraising: Nonprofits are given tax-exempt status through the Internal Revenue Service. This status is revocable if the non profit doesn't conduct itself appropriately. This section explains the means the non profit uses for fundraising including grants, donations, corporate sponsors or events. Financial management must also be explained, outlining how budgets designate what goes toward nonprofit programs and what goes to operations.
Laws and Regulations: Outline the laws, taxes and regulations affecting nonprofit operations. These include, but aren't limited, to advocacy and lobbying activities conducted by the organization.
Developing the Policies and Procedures
Because the policies and procedures manual becomes the avenue to hold people accountable, it is important to craft the policies consistently in format and tone.
Policies: To maintain uniformity with policies, use a template. Every policy should have a policy title stating the content. Define a purpose for the policy. An example of a policy purpose might be, "Ensuring fiscal responsibility with fundraising proceeds." If there is a law or statute that pertains to the policy, state this to provide additional validation to the need.
Define the scope of the policy. This could include whether the policy pertains to everyone, board members, or only a certain group of employees such as a fundraising team. For large organizations, include the name and contact number of the responsible party pertinent to the specific policy. For example, list the legal counsel contact information with the information regarding lobbying rules and regulations policies.
Procedures: Explain how things are done in simple steps. While policies and procedures can be combined in some scenarios, procedures are usually a separate section for key processes. Identify key procedures and troubleshooting areas. This includes opening and closing procedures. Develop procedures to troubleshoot computer, password or other technical problems. Create processes for escalated customer issues. Any duty performed that requires consistency or may have staff members that question it becomes a procedure outlined in the manual.
Consistent procedures save labor time because employees have resources to get things done without leadership or support assistance or intervention.