So I’m pulling together a few points from my podcast and framing them as guided questions. I frame them as questions to get you thinking about what your model policy looks like, rather than what a model policy might be. Because policies are nothing more than a memorialization of what you need to do day to day. And by asking yourself these questions, you create the curiosity and inquisitiveness needed to draft a solid policy.
Naturally, my depth is limited with a few pages. But an exhaustive discussion would leave you bored and (justifiably) angry. So this discussion is just long enough to get your wheels turning.
But before we get there, let’s agree to a few preliminary assumptions. So we’re all on the same page:
· Using an unaltered template won’t cover all your exposures, no matter how magical it purports to be.
· Speaking of helpful, “book-shelf” policies are not our friends. These are the policies you draft and finalize but end up shelved under promotional stress balls. Develop your policy with implementation already in mind. Have a roll-out plan ready to go for the website, internal staff and the Board.
Now, for those questions:
As I mentioned, the list of potential questions to ask could go on. The point isn’t to be perfect, but to be thorough and thoughtful. Have the Board and the staff take a few minutes to think up more questions by asking themselves, “What would I want to know about how my information is treated?”
If you do decide to use a template, do yourself a favor. Break the template down into a secondary outline and draft something from scratch. Pulling from that outline when you need. That way, inaccuracies don’t slip in and you’ve created another avenue of being thoughtful.
Erin McClarty blogs on legal issues impacting charities and causes at Notations on Nonprofits. She's also the principal of Erin McClarty, PLLC. Where she marries her legal, business and third sector expertise to grow charities and causes.