Have you ever gone searching for your non-profit organization’s documents feeling frantic because they are nowhere to be found? You’re scratching your head, because you’ve looked in all of the logical places but they aren’t there? There are many reasons why you can’t find them. Perhaps, the secretary has them stored in a file folder in the basement of their home and is away on vacation, the treasurer moved away and forgot to leave the pertinent documents with the board, or the chairperson’s term ended and they left with valuable information in their head but not on paper. These are not uncommon scenarios! The remarkable thing is that this ordeal is preventable.
The solution is to create and maintain an organizational binder that contains all of the key documents and essential information that board members, staff, and volunteers might require. Did you know that there is a workbook available to help you create this organizational binder? It is called Organizing Your Corporate Documents
. This workbook is designed to help board members of incorporated non-profit organizations in Alberta understand the legal world in which they operate. It also advises how to collect crucial information and store it in one central location.
Follow the workbook instructions and you’ll end up with a binder that contains information about the external rules that enable your organization to exist and the internal rules about how your organization controls its actions. It is especially important that all board members know what the binder contains. Store the binder in a location that is accessible by everyone who might need it.
What are external rules? Incorporated non-profit organizations operate within a framework of laws that govern what they can do and how they must do it. Do you know the legislation that your organization is incorporated under? Do you know what your organization’s objects are? Do you know your incorporation number? What are internal rules? Corporate Registries in Alberta requires a basic set of bylaws and most organizations supplement with additional bylaws that are more specific. Board members are responsible for knowing their bylaws and updating them from time to time, as necessary. Policies with procedures are additional guidelines to follow. Do you have copies of your bylaws and policies?
The bottom line is that incorporated non-profit organizations must obey the law. Creating an organizational binder will ensure you have collected all of the legal documents that govern your organization, including its policies, agendas, minutes, financials, insurance, leases, grants, contact numbers, and significant dates relating to the board.
Someone in your organization should be given responsibility for creating and maintaining this binder. This handy reference of important organizational documents will help the board to keep organized. The familiar scenario of frantically rummaging around for key documents will become a distant memory.
Also available is the companion workbook called Understanding Your Corporate Documents
. In unison, these two workbooks will help your organization to keep informed, organized, and avert people from doing the wrong thing.