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Organizational Systems Checklist for Nonprofit Organizations

Originally provided by MAP for Nonprofits, St. Paul, MN, enhanced by Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD.

Applies to nonprofits unless otherwise noted.

(Also see Various Methods to Enhance Organizational Performance, listed at the end of this checklist.)

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The following comprehensive list of organizational systems and policies can be reviewed by governance and executive management to assess what systems and policies might need to be developed soon. Note that not all items are needed by all organizations. The suggested approach to using this checklist is:
1. Place a check mark next to each item below that has been completed and is useful in your organization. You may add items next to "Other items:" below.
2. From among those items that are not checked, mark each top priority item with a "1", bottom priority items with a "3", and consider remaining items to be "2"s.
3. Record all items marked with "1"s onto a separate list of items to be completed by your Board and/or staff soon.
4. Revisit this list each year to help identify top priority items to complete for that year.


____ Current mission / vision / values statements
____ Board member recruitment system
____ Board member orientation system
____ Board development and training strategies
____ Attendance policies
____ Membership and term limitation policies
____ Organizational chart
____ Chair and officer job descriptions
____ Committee charters
____ Board operations and policy manual
____ By-law review policies
____ Chief executive performance review process
____ Board self-evaluation process
____ Board calendar with meetings, events, activities and updates
____ (Other items:)


____ Current strategic plan
____ Diversity plan (for Board and staff)
____ Marketing plan
____ Fundraising / Development plan
____ Board and committee work plans (with objectives and timelines)
____ Yearly operations plan, including staff work plans
____ (Other items:)


____ Valid methods to assess client needs (focus groups, surveys, etc.)
____ Established service outcomes to match client needs
____ Established target indicators for each outcome
____ Data collection methods for each target indicator
____ (Other items:)


____ Client program records
____ Volunteer records
____ Personnel records
____ Financial records
____ Donor and contributor contract records
____ Mailing lists
____ Work flow descriptions for each major operational activity
____ Operations manual containing work flow descriptions
____ Inventory of computer hardware, software, peripherals, etc.
____ Procedures for each major function to maintain computer systems
____ Regular backups of computer disks (one copy stored offsite)
____ Disaster recovery plan (one copy stored offsite)
____ (Other items:)


____ Board-adopted personnel policies
____ All personnel policies in a handbook to each staff member
____ Performance appraisal system
____ Professional development plans
____ Team development plans
____ Recruitment and orientation systems
____ Job descriptions
____ (Other items:)


____ Recruitment system
____ Orientation system
____ Management and retention system
____ Recognition strategies
____ Record system
____ (Other items:)


____ Board-adopted fiscal policies
____ Board-approved fiscal year budget
____ Financial procedures / internal controls manual
____ Inventory system
____ Depreciation schedules
____ Cash flow analysis system
____ Partial or full accrual accounting system
____ Monthly financial statements with balance sheet
____ Yearly audit or outside review
____ Program analysis system
____ Tax and other reporting schedules
____ Payroll record system
____ (Other items:)


____ Communications plan, including Web usage
____ Annual reports
____ Other regular communications strategies to stakeholders
____ Agency brochures / videos
____ Media relations strategies
____ (Other items:)


____ Risk management policies
____ Office liability coverage
____ Volunteers covered in office liability
____ Workers compensation
____ Disability insurance
____ Assessment of need for professional liability coverage
____ Assessment of need for director and officer liability
____ Assessment of need for dishonesty bonding
____ Contingency plans for replacing key personnel
____ (Other items:)


____ Complete corporate records and retention policies
____ Updated By-laws
____ Incorporation and tax status documents
____ Currently reviewed personnel policies
____ Anti-discrimination practices
____ Flexible benefit plan updates
____ Membership rosters conforming to MN statutes
____ (Other items:)


____ Fire and other emergency procedures
____ Accessibility for differently abled
____ Sufficient, safe and secure space
____ Appropriate signage
____ (Other items:)

Various Methods to Enhance Organizational Performance

The following can be organizational improvement programs, depending on how they're used. These are included in a section referenced by the topic Broad Overview of Various Programs and Movements.

Balanced Scorecard
Business Process Re-Engineering
Cultural Change
Quality Management
Knowledge Management
Management by Objectives
Organizational Learning
Outcomes-Based Evaluation
Project Management
Program Evaluation
Strategic Planning
Total Quality Management

For the Category of Management:

To round out your knowledge of this Library topic, you may want to review some related topics, available from the link below. Each of the related topics includes free, online resources.

Also, scan the Recommended Books listed below. They have been selected for their relevance and highly practical nature.

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