Fundamental Policies Every Nonprofit Should Have in Place

Does your Board of Directors have the right policies and procedures in place for the organization? Join us to learn which policies and procedures are essential for any nonprofit.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the role of board members and staff in policy and procedure development.
  • Identify fundamental polices that are right for your organization.
  • Describe the difference between policy and procedure.
  • Understand common areas for nonprofit liability and how policies can reduce risk.


Nonprofit policies guide the staff and board in appropriate action, ethical decision-making, legal compliance and conflict resolution. Policies and procedures help to diminish liability, potentially harmful situations, improper behaviors and ineffective decision-making. It is a common best practice for nonprofits to have board-related, personnel and financial policies and procedures, which should be reviewed and updated regularly.



CFRE Credits

Participants can receive 3 CFRE credits for this training. Participants must ask for a CFRE certificate when they check-in on the day of the training. 


Nonprofit board members and senior staff


With a passion for health, justice and equality, Susan Wilger has worked for nonprofit organizations for over 25 years. Her areas of expertise include program development, systems analysis, grant writing, administrative systems and policies, advocacy, prevention, and community coalitions. She has served as a consultant with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the National REACH Coalition, and others. Susan has served on numerous local, state and national nonprofit boards and advisory committees. Ms. Wilger has a bachelor's degree in Education from UW-Madison and a master's degree in Public Affairs from UT-Austin.

Guiding Practices for Nonprofits


  • Nonprofits should develop clearly defined, written whistleblower and grievance policies to protect employees. They should define the chain of command and appropriate communication mechanisms that employees use (e.g. phone, email, in person).
  • Nonprofits should regularly and broadly promote human resources policies to ensure employees understand federal and state laws, including their employee rights and the prohibition of employment discrimination and harassment.
  • Nonprofits should develop a clearly defined, written policy and procedures for record collection, storage and retention of personnel files.
  • Nonprofits should consider having a paid parental leave policy, beyond what the Family and Medical Leave Act already covers, that meets the following criteria: employees do not have to exhaust sick leave or PTO first, applicable to mothers and fathers, applicable to childbirth, foster care and adoption.
  • Boards of Directors must ensure that the organization does not engage in excess benefit transactions, and that a clearly defined, written conflict of interest policy is signed annually by board members and key employees.
  • Boards of Directors should have a formal Board operating policies and procedures manual.
  • Boards of Directors should develop the following clearly defined policies that pertain to the organization’s mission, vision and values: code of ethics, compensation, gift acceptance, investment, record retention and destruction, and whistleblower.
  • Board of Directors should annually review and sign a conflict of interest policy that is kept in individual Board member files.
  • Nonprofits should develop a clearly defined, written policy regarding record retention and destruction that includes emails, cloud-based and hard copy documents.
  • Nonprofits should develop and actively implement technology and security policies that address employee and Board use, how information is gathered and stored, how accuracy is maintained, how and what information is backed up, and to whom the information is made available.
  • Nonprofits should develop communications policies pertaining to its activities, such as advocacy, approval of facts and messaging, outreach, social media, and standards for graphics, print and electronic materials.
  • Nonprofits should develop a policy for promptly and respectfully responding to grievances from stakeholders.
  • Nonprofits must have a clearly defined, written conflict of interest policy signed annually by board members and key employees.
  • Boards of Directors should develop clearly defined, written financial policies and procedures that provide for separation of duties, and protect and safeguard organizational assets.
  • Nonprofits should develop a clearly defined, written whistleblower policy to protect individuals who report financial misconduct from negative repercussions.

The Guide is available as a free digital download at Hard copies of the Guide and Companion Workbook will be available for purchase at this training for $25 each with a credit card or check.

The Center for Nonprofit Excellence often takes photos during our trainings to share on social media. If you prefer not to be photographed, please let us know in the Special Needs field when you register.  

January 16, 2019 9:00 AM   through   12:00 PM
Center for Nonprofit Excellence, United Way of Central New Mexico
2340 Alamo SE, 2nd Floor
Albuquerque, 87106
Phone: 505-247-3671
Registration $ 35.00

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