Keep key policies at your fingertips on and off-site

I am completing some organizational assessment work with Southwest Youth & Family Services in preparation for strategic planning.  I provided the list below of organizational documents that I would like to see as part of the assessment process.  Steve Daschle commented that it was very useful to him as well, as he would also use the list to gather important documents and copy them onto a thumb drive for emergency preparedness and backup purposes.  This is a great and inexpensive way to increase your agency resiliency. 

Of course, having key documents well organized is also a crucial step in leadership succession planning, so make sure the documents are also easy to find on your office computer.  So, here’s the list–pick the documents you think are most important, group them, and go make a backup!

Checklist of Written Materials for Organizational Assessment

  • Factsheet on the agency
  • Agency history and list of accomplishments
  • Outreach materials, newsletters and/or event flyers
  • Press coverage of your work
  • Recent grant proposals, if available
  • Budget for this year and prior two years
  • Year-end actuals for prior fiscal year
  • Year-to-date financial report
  • Organizational chart
  • Board roster
  • Staff roster
  • Board composition analysis grid
  • By-laws & Articles of Incorporation
  • Board meeting minutes for the past 6 meetings, including attendance information
  • Personnel policies
  • Partnership agreements – past and current
  • List of funders and current commitments, organized using the template provided
  • Any available demographic info about the community and/or survey or needs assessment results
  • Program evaluation info and logic model if in use
  • Emergency response/business continuity plan
  • Any other info you feel would be useful background for us

2 Responses to Keep key policies at your fingertips on and off-site

  1. You might consider recommending automated offsite backups, using a service like Mozy. In my experience, backups must be automated to be useful. Thumb drives and CDs are nice, and useful, but typically people will not have the discipline to remember to do those backups regularly.

    Also, many of the documents you mention can contain somewhat sensitive information. Leaving around extra copies on unprotected drives may not be the best solution.

    Mozy is secure, fully encrypted, and automatic. It’s also free for up to 2 gig of data, which is way, way more than most organizations would ever need for critical documents. And, in a crunch you can access your backed up files from any computer with Internet access.

    I’d also add to the list you have above your Quickbooks file, or whatever other accounting software you are using to manage the organization. Accessing and managing your cash flow information is particularly important in a crisis.

    My $0.02.


  2. You are absolutely right about the value of an automated system. I just had a great conversation this week with some other community leaders about whether it might be possible to come up with an off-site backup solution that could be centrally managed and/or paid for and made available to a number of area nonprofits. We’ll see what develops, and I’d be pleased to hear from folks who see themselves either needing this service or providing it. And also pleased to hear about a free service!