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Sample Contents of Board Member's Manual

© Copyright Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting, LLC. Also see Carter's Board Blog (for for-profits and nonprofits).

Vast majority of content in this topic applies to for-profits and nonprofits. This book also covers this topic.
Developing, Operating and Restoring Your Nonprofit Board - Book Cover

Contents of board policies manuals may differ somewhat among different organizations, depending on the needs and nature of the organization. Regardless of the content, manuals should be provided to each Board member. This manual greatly helps to orient and train new Board members, and ensure efficient organization and access to these materials. The following items are certainly not required for all manuals, but provide handy reference for consideration by each organization about what to include in their manuals.

Charter Documents

Articles of Incorporation (if applicable)
IRS letter granting 501(c)(3) status (nonprofit-specific)
(other exemptions from taxes) (nonprofit-specific)
Licenses and Permits
Registration for Solicitation (nonprofit-specific)

Strategic Plan Document

Mission, Vision and Values Statements
Goals and Strategies
Action Planning (objectives, responsibilities, timelines, etc.)
Status Reports

Bylaws and Policies

Board Bylaws
Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct (including conflict-of-interest policy)
Board Meeting Attendance Policy
Guidelines for Recruiting, Orienting, Informing and Removing Members
Guidelines for Evaluating Board
Guidelines for Evaluation Chief Executive Officer

Board Organization and Membership
Organization Chart of Board
Roles and Responsibilities of Board
Job Descriptions of Board Officers and Other Members
Board Committees and Charters
List of Board Members (their organizations, contact information, etc.)
Board Member Biographies

Board Operations
Board Calendar
Work Plans ("to-do" list for each Board Committee)
Board Meeting Agendas and Minutes
Committee Meeting Agendas and Minutes
Reports from Chief Executive

Description of Programs, Products and Services

Service Objectives (nonprofit-specific)
Income Objectives
Evaluation Results

Marketing and Promotions
Marketing and Promotions Plan
Market Analyses
Positioning Statement
Brochures, articles, etc.

FINANCE/FUNDRAISING (fundraising is nonprofit-specific)
Financial Management

Fiscal Policies
Internal Control Policies (bookkeeping controls)
Collections for Accounts Past Due
Tracking In-Kind Donations (nonprofit-specific)
Tracking Volunteer Hours (nonprofit-specific)
Travel Reimbursements
Other Reimbursements

Financial Records/Data
Yearly Budget
Budget Narrative
Cash Flow Reports
Program Budgets
Financial Statements
Financial Analysis
Audit Reports

Fundraising (nonprofit-specific)
Fundraising Plan
Lists of Sources
Lists of Donors
Fundraising Reports

Interview Guidelines
Scripts (for reference during interviews)
Listing of Major Stakeholders and Contacts
Public Event Planning

Staff Organization and Data

Organization Chart
Job Descriptions
Staff Address List
Staff Information Form

Personnel (Staff) Policies and Procedures
Benefits and Compensation
Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct
Conference Room Layout / Reserving Rooms
Diversity Plan
Dress Code
During Chief Executive's Absence
In Case of Fire
Forms to Check Out Keys
Use of Kitchen Area
Large Mailings and Copy Lists
Office Forms
Office Supplies
Performance Management Policies (performance appraisal, firing, etc.)
Receptionist/Program Assistance Advance Notice
Snow Days
Special Recognitions
Telephone Coverage
Time Tracking

Return to Recruiting and Orienting New Board Members

For the Category of Boards of Directors:

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