What is a procedures and policies handbook?
Jose Miguel Sanchez porrero
Why Policy and Procedures?
A well-laid out policy and procedures manual will help attract informed members and allow the organization to operate more efficiently and effectively.
A Real Life Example
The Namao Community Agricultural Society created a policy and procedures manual in 1991. Theywere evolving from a small group where everyone was acquainted to an umbrella organization for the community. Up to 15 different organizations were represented. How to meet everyone's needs and expectations and stay within budget was a major concern? Hall rental and catering were issues. New board members struggled to find out how things worked. Clearly there was potential for conflict.
Whatbenefits have Namao found from having a policy and procedures manual?
* Board members have an outline of the organization's structure. |
* The manual is a major resource for planning and coordinating events. |
* Event organizing runs more smoothly as details are written down. |
* Hall rentals are well detailed. |
* New members are quickly oriented to the organization byreviewing the manual. |
* Communication is improved between organizations. |
* Meetings are two hours or less. |
The Namao Community Agricultural Society recognizes the need to update existing policy and develop new policies. Their manual is reviewed annually.
Obviously this is not a project for just one rainy afternoon. In fact, as Namao has found, a policy and procedures manual needsto be reviewed and updated on a regular basis. But that's a good thing! It shows your organization is growing and changing to meet the unique needs of your community.
Benefits of a Policy and Procedures Manual
There are some very good reasons why it's worth the time and effort to commit what you are about and how you do it to paper. Here are some ways that written policy and procedures canbenefit your agricultural society.
A policy and procedures manual can:
* save time and effort.
When issues arise the policy manual is checked for existing policy.
Time spent reinventing the wheel or recreating policy is avoided.
* assist in new member recruitment.
Policy and procedures clearly tell interested people what you are all about.
* provide detailed job descriptions* to orient new members, directors and employees and contract workers about their purpose, job standards and expectations.
* provide continuity and consistency in decision making.
They ensure the organization will stay on track even when the board of
* set a positive direction for the organization.
A guide for leadership which takes a proactive approach topresent and
* provide a way to review existing programs and services to ensure needs are met.
* help avoid conflict and the potential for misunderstanding.
By-laws are the basic rules of the organization. By-laws are clear statements about the rules of operation. They determine the responsibility and authority of the agricultural society and the board ofdirectors. They must be consistent with the Agricultural Societies Act. For more information on by-laws see the publication Agricultural Society By-Laws available from the Agricultural Societies Program.
Once by-laws are in place, policies and procedures will naturally follow. By-laws provide the overall framework but don't cover day to day operations of your agricultural society. A policy andprocedures manual gives your organization a tool to run the programs, facilities and events that are your unique contribution to the community.
Policies answer the questions WHY? and WHAT?
Why your agricultural society exists- it's philosophy, mission and goals.
What your agricultural society wants to be recognized for programs, activities and services.
Policies are the steps to put your goals...