Organizational Systems Checklist for Nonprofit Organizations

Sections of this topic

    Originally provided by MAP for Nonprofits, St. Paul, MN, enhanced by Carter McNamara, MBA, Ph.D.

    This applies to nonprofits unless otherwise noted.

    (Also see Various Methods to Enhance Organizational Performance, listed at the end of this checklist.)

    Related Library Topics


    The following comprehensive organizational systems checklist and policies can be reviewed by governance and executive management to assess what systems and policies might need to be developed soon. Note that not all items are needed by all organizations. The suggested approach to using this checklist is:

    1. Place a checkmark next to each item below that has been completed and is useful in your organization. You may add items next to “Other items:” below.
    2. From among those items that are not checked, mark each top priority item with a “1”, and bottom priority item with a “3”, and consider the remaining items to be “2”s.
    3. Record all items marked with “1”s onto a separate list of items to be completed by your Board and/or staff soon.
    4. Revisit this list each year to help identify top-priority items to complete for that year.


    ____ Current mission/vision/values statements
    ____ Board member recruitment system
    ____ Board member orientation system
    ____ Board development and training strategies
    ____ Attendance policies
    ____ Membership and term limitation policies
    ____ Organizational chart
    ____ Chair and officer job descriptions
    ____ Committee charters
    ____ Board operations and policy manual
    ____ By-law review policies
    ____ Chief executive performance review process
    ____ Board self-evaluation process
    ____ Board calendar with meetings, events, activities, and updates
    ____ (Other items:)


    ____ Current strategic plan
    ____ Diversity plan (for Board and staff)
    ____ Marketing plan
    ____ Fundraising / Development Plan
    ____ Board and committee work plans (with objectives and timelines)
    ____ Yearly operations plan, including staff work plans
    ____ (Other items:)


    ____ Valid methods to assess client needs (focus groups, surveys,
    ____ Established service outcomes to match client needs
    ____ Established target indicators for each outcome
    ____ Data collection methods for each target indicator
    ____ (Other items:)


    ____ Client program records
    ____ Volunteer records
    ____ Personnel records
    ____ Financial records
    ____ Donor and contributor contract records
    ____ Mailing lists
    ____ Workflow descriptions for each major operational activity
    ____ Operations manual containing workflow descriptions
    ____ Inventory of computer hardware, software, peripherals, etc.
    ____ Procedures for each major function to maintain computer
    ____ Regular backups of computer disks (one copy stored offsite)
    ____ Disaster recovery plan (one copy stored offsite)
    ____ (Other items:)


    ____ Board-adopted personnel policies
    ____ All personnel policies in a handbook to each staff member
    ____ Performance appraisal system
    ____ Professional development plans
    ____ Team development plans
    ____ Recruitment and orientation systems
    ____ Job descriptions
    ____ (Other items:)


    ____ Recruitment system
    ____ Orientation system
    ____ Management and retention system
    ____ Recognition strategies
    ____ Record system
    ____ (Other items:)


    ____ Board-adopted fiscal policies
    ____ Board-approved fiscal year budget
    ____ Financial procedures / internal controls manual
    ____ Inventory system
    ____ Depreciation schedules
    ____ Cash flow analysis system
    ____ Partial or full accrual accounting system
    ____ Monthly financial statements with balance sheet
    ____ Yearly audit or outside review
    ____ Program analysis system
    ____ Tax and other reporting schedules
    ____ Payroll record system
    ____ (Other items:)


    ____ Communications plan, including Web usage
    ____ Annual reports
    ____ Other regular communications strategies to stakeholders
    ____ Agency brochures/videos
    ____ Media relations strategies
    ____ (Other items:)


    ____ Risk management policies
    ____ Office liability coverage
    ____ Volunteers covered in office liability
    ____ Workers compensation
    ____ Disability insurance
    ____ Assessment of need for professional liability coverage
    ____ Assessment of need for director and officer liability
    ____ Assessment of the need for dishonesty bonding
    ____ Contingency plans for replacing key personnel
    ____ (Other items:)


    ____ Complete corporate records and retention policies
    ____ Updated By-laws
    ____ Incorporation and tax status documents
    ____ Currently reviewed personnel policies
    ____ Anti-discrimination practices
    ____ Flexible benefit plan updates
    ____ Membership rosters conforming to MN statutes
    ____ (Other items:)


    ____ Fire and other emergency procedures
    ____ Accessibility for differently abled
    ____ Sufficient, safe, and secure space
    ____ Appropriate signage
    ____ (Other items:)

    Various Methods to Enhance Organizational Performance

    The following can be organizational improvement programs, depending on how they’re used. These are included in a section referenced by the topic Broad Overview of Various Programs and Movements.

    For the Category of Management:

    To round out your knowledge of this Library topic, you may want to review some related topics, available from the link below. Each of the related topics includes free, online resources.

    Also, scan the Recommended Books listed below. They have been selected for their relevance and highly practical nature.