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They are volunteers, too!
Look here for information and the latest techniques to develop your board or committee. The purpose is to help those who work or serve on nonprofit boards of directors or committees.

~October 2008~

Creating Organizational Policies

         Members of a board of directors are charged with the creating policies that govern everything from who signs checks for the organization to the rules governing volunteer behavior.  On occasion advisory committees are asked to suggest policies.  This can be done more effectively if everyone understands what policies are and the elements of well-constructed policies.  Here is some information to help train board and committee members.


Policy is:  an organized state; political sagacity; state craft; diplomacy; prudent, expedient or advantageous procedure; shrewdness, artfulness; stratagem; course of action; a chief living sense.  Oxford  Universal Dictionary

The governing board "ensures citizen participation at the policy-making level in groups that provide service to a pluralistic society."  American Symphony Orchestra League

A policy is a "general rule or principle, or statement of intent or direction which provides guides to administrators in reaching decisions with respect to the particular matters entrusted to their care."  Charles A. Nelson

"Governance out of policy means no board activity takes place without reference to policies.  John Carver

"Policy leadership clarifies, inspires, and sets a tone of discourse that stimulates leadership in followers."  John Carver

Four types of policies: 

  1. policy related to the ends the organization wants to achieve (comprehensive statements about the aims of programs),
  2. policy related to the means to achieve those ends (types of programming, funding),
  3. policy related to board-staff relationships,
  4. policy related to the process of governance ( attendance, ethical considerations, finance, legal issues).


Criteria for Effective Policies

*  Policies convey values and beliefs.

*  Policies are clear enough to provide leadership.

*  Policies state ends to be achieved.

*  Policies are principles of prudence and ethics.

*  Policies make statements that frame staff and volunteer choices.

*  Policies address the manner in which power is passed to executive machinery.

*  Policies address the manner in which the board represents the "ownership."

*  Policies can be initiated anywhere in the organization.

*  Policies are continually up-dated.

Policies Are:  
Written Explicit
Literal Central
Available Encompassing

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