So much of what we do today is governed by policies and procedures. Most businesses including nonprofits have some form of policies and procedures program they follow. These policies and procedures help ensure organizations are complying with laws and regulations that protect clients, employees, volunteers and the organization overall. Policies and procedures provide for a consistent message from your organization to your internal and external partners, promoting your organization’s culture. Properly selected and crafted, they serve as valuable guiding principles to be used for handling day-to-day situations.
Here’s an easy way of thinking about it. Policies are created to let us know why something needs to be done; and procedures let us know how to achieve it. An example might be establishing a security policy to protect the privacy of a client. The procedure established to follow that policy includes photo identification verification during the registration process.
Initially defining organizational policies and procedures might seem like a daunting task but there are a variety of resources to help. Start with the Volunteer Center. They will be hosting the workshop “An Easy Button: Implementing Policies and Procedure”, that will take a broad look at policies and answer many of your questions and provide suggestions on types of policies, implementing major policies, how to recognize policy mistakes, and which ones to avoid.
Policy and procedural reviews and updates should also be incorporated into your operational practices. According to Chris Anderson, established policies and procedures help “your organization by providing employees with a handy reference to daily business operations, common organizational activities, or routine organizational tasks.” All these things help to contribute to a smoothly running operation equating to happy employees, volunteers and clients.
Click here to learn more about the Volunteer Center’s upcoming workshops and resources.
National Council of Nonprofits:
Internal Controls for Nonprofits. https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/tools-resources/internal-controls-nonprofits
Good Governance Policies for Nonprofits. https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/tools-resources/good-governance-policies-nonprofits
Anderson, Chris. Why Do We Have Processes and Procedures. https://www.bizmanualz.com/organize-your-business/why-do-we-have-processes-and-procedures.html
"A true professional not only follows but loves the processes, policies and principles set by his profession.”
Michelle has been a volunteer with the Volunteer Center of McHenry County for a year serving as a marketing volunteering.