5 Best Practices for Non-Profit Organizations
Non-profit organizations are typically tasked with doing more with less. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have best practices in place, even if it takes a little extra money, time, and effort to follow them. Sure, you’re focused on your mission – and you’d rather put all of the money, time, and effort you have available to you towards your mission. We understand that. But having the right best practices in place makes a strong statement to everyone around you – from your team members to your donors to your beneficiaries. Plus, having the right best practices in place gives you clear benchmarks to guide you as you continue to grow and expand in the future.
We’ve compiled 5 best practices ALL non-profit organizations should follow, even if you’re very small at the beginning stages of achieving your mission:
- Plan to protect all of your assets
Every non-profit organization has a range of assets, including tangible assets like property, financial records, and data, as well as intangible assets, including their reputation and the livelihood of their team. It’s important to plan to protect all of your assets against any sort of damage, theft or loss. What’s needed to protect all of your assets?
- A data backup and disaster recovery plan
- A comprehensive cybersecurity solution
- An incident response plan
- Various forms of insurance (cyber liability, general, etc.)
- Pay special attention to your board of directors
Your board of directors will act as a governing body – responsible for the mission, annual budget, and other practices within the organization. You want to make sure your board of directors is suitable to your organization’s vision and value statements. You should also make sure at least one person on your board of directors has a financial background who can take the lead on budgeting, fundraising, investing, and other activities. Remember, regular turnover is great for bringing in new perspectives.
- Be upfront and transparent with the public
In the non-profit realm, it pays to be upfront and transparent with the public. This is the best way to build support and confidence from potential donors. In all of your marketing and/or advertising efforts, be truthful and concise in what you’re trying to achieve. Whenever you receive donations, whether they’re monetary or time-based, acknowledge them in accordance with the IRA’s requirements. If you’re not familiar with the IRA’s requirements, make sure you become familiar with them.
- Create a short and long term budget
Proper financial control is vital to the growth and success of any non-profit organization. It’s important to make a short and long term budget that’s organized by month – allowing you to accurately foresee any realignments needed to reallocate funds or raise more revenue when needed. Remember to budget for any technology-related expenses. A managed IT services agreement can be helpful, in order to minimize unexpected maintenance and/or repair costs with a flat-rate monthly fee for all of the services and support you need.
- Write a code of ethics for all people involved
A code of ethics should be written for all people involved, including volunteers, staff members, and anyone else who will be working alongside you towards your mission. You should have policies and procedures within your code of ethics, such as how to deal with conflicts of interest or how to store and access sensitive information, so everyone is able to handle situations in a consistent and appropriate manner that doesn’t create any legal liability issues. Your code of ethics should be reviewed at least once a year.
BC Networks provides managed IT services for non-profit organizations throughout San Jose and the San Francisco Bay Area. Call (408) 214-4490 to get started.
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