DATELINE: June 22, 2008, Chicago
Our very own Jack Siegel spoke at the annual CAPLAW conference in Denver, Colorado last week. His topic: Governance Policies. Jack's presentation focused on conflicts-of-interest, whistleblower, and document retention policies. He provided his audience with a thorough set of materials and what one audience member described as an...
The Desktop Guide is Quickly Becoming the Must Have Guide for Nonprofit Executives
Some of our readers have followed the link to the Amazon.com Web site, but apparently have not bought the Guide. If they were turned off by the price, they should reconsider. One prominent attorney in the exempt organization field grabbed a review copy of the Guide and couldn't put it down. She has instructed a number of her clients to buy it, pointing out to them that for less than 1/2 hour of her billable time, they receive a lesson (and resource) that tells it like she would like it told. If you are starting a new charity, the Guide could save you thousands of dollars in legal fees by teaching you how to better utilize your legal counsel and framing the issues so you don't spin your wheels at $400 an hour.
As promised, here are the links to several policies that might serve as the starting point for developing a policy for a particular organization:
D. IRS Conflicts-of-Interest Policy--Part of the Form 1023.
In reviewing these policies, organizations operating Head Start programs should recognize that they are subject to special limitations on conflicts of interest that may not be reflected in these policies.
Organizations should integrate whistleblower policies with their employment practices policies.
We don't endorse any of these policies. They are just samples and other samples can be found on the Internet. As Jack repeated several times during his presentation, no policy is any good if an organization simply copies it from the Internet or a form book without making necessary modifications to reflect the organization's unique circumstances, needs, and cultures. In Jack's view, the true benefit from any policy comes not from the final written policy, but the dicussion that precedes its adoption. Unless an organization is serious about governance, it should not bother papering over its files with policies that will be quickly ignored.
Organizations should consult with qualified legal counsel as part of the process of implementing any governance policy.
Internal Revenue Service - Circular 230 Disclosure: As provided for in Treasury regulations, any advice (but none is intended) relating to federal taxes that is contained in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (1) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (2) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any plan or arrangement addressed herein.
THE FOREGOING IS NOT AND SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN AS LEGAL ADVICE. IF LEGAL ADVICE IS REQUIRED, THE NONPROFIT OR OTHER PARTY IN QUESTION SHOULD SEEK THE ADVICE OF QUALIFIED LEGAL COUNSEL.
If you liked this post, please visit http://www.charitygovernance.com for a description of our training and consulting services. You will also want to acquire a copy of Jack Siegel's book, A Desktop Guide for Nonprofit Directors, Officers, and Advisors: Avoiding Trouble While Doing Good."
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