Board Binder

Capturing Your Responsibilities & Organization’s History

Feeling overwhelmed with your organization’s paperwork? Financials are in one pile. The strategic plan is in the blue folder. There are five years worth of meeting minutes. This information needs to be maintained to facilitate the oversight of the organization you care passionately about. Being a board member feels like full time work in addition to your professional and personal life. Board binders are one way to collect the information generated from your nonprofit. In addition to organizing information for yourself, a well designed board binder can serve as a consolidated resource for new board members.

Getting Started

What do you need to create your all in one resource? A set of 5-inch binders and section dividers is a start. The next step is to determine what materials need to be included. Think about the reference materials that help the board govern (Bylaws, board agreements, committee descriptions, strategic plan) and what items are needed to properly oversee the nonprofit. The binder should become a constant source of reference for board members.

Below is a sample table of contents, and a list of resources within each section, for a board binder:

Tab 1: Board Member Background

– Board member contact information – Board member term limits
– Bios of board members – Board job descriptions

Tab 2: Meetings

– Agendas – Meeting minutes

Tab 3: Board Member Responsibilities & Bylaws

– Board responsibilities – Current strategic plan
– Current Bylaws  

Tab 4: Financials

– Approved current year’s budget – Financial reports
– Most recent capital budget and needs list  

Tab 5: Board Committees

– Summary description of each committee – Calendar of committee meetings
– Committee meeting structure and member listing – Committee calendar (date, time, and place for meetings)

Tab 6: Nonprofit Organization’s Program Materials

– Organization mission and vision statements – Organizational brochure
– Organizational historic timeline – List of accomplishments
– Map of watershed – Calendar of events

Tab 7: Staff

– Staff photos – Staff organizational chart
– Staff phone numbers and extensions – Summaries of each program

Tab 8: Archives

– Past long range strategic plans – Past years’ budgets
– Annual reports  

Helpful Hints
Add educational articles on board governance to the binder. The materials can be handed out during a board meeting and your board can use the articles as reference materials. It is always a helpful reminder to hear from nonprofit management experts regarding best management practices for nonprofit boards.

resources Further Resources

  • Board Orientation/Training, The Management Assistance Program for Nonprofits. Offers a free management library with information on nonprofit boards. http://www.managementhelp.org/boards/boards.htm
  • Board Source. Develops publications on nonprofit governance and have numerous resources on board development.
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