Does our Non-Profit need a staff policy manual?

NPO Employee Handbook

Should our NPO have a staff policy manual? Any non-profit with more than a handful of paid staff should have an NPO Employee Handbook, explaining the non-profit’s policies, employee benefits, your vision for the organization, and your ethical standards. 

How do we get an NPO policy manual?  You have three options for designing a non-profit’s staff handbook:
1. Buying a TEMPLATE and making it yourself
2. Hiring a HR SERVICE COMPANY to professionally design it
3. Retaining a LABOR LAWYER who specializes in labor law to design it

Should we use a TEMPLATE to create our own NPO Staff Handbook?  There are companies that offer templates so that you can build your own manual, as a sort of DIY project.  Is that feasible for your non-profit?  That really depends on the expertise of your staff and/or volunteer experts.  Most handbook templates offered are aimed at businesses, not non-profits.  If you have someone you can rely on for the major revisions required, then a template would be a cheap alternative (especially if the hours spent doing the revising are volunteered by a friend of the organization).  If you are using PAID STAFF to create a handbook from a template, you will most likely NOT save any money when you consider the workhours required. 

What is the cost and time needs for the DIY approach?  Expect to invest 80-120 hours, researching state laws and editing the template.  Again, if you have experts on hand, then this time estimate could be much lower.  Expect to pay between $100 and $350 for a decent template program.  Avoid the bare-bones cheaper ones that will cost you far more workhours of revising and adding policies.

How are NPO Employee Handbooks different from Business Employee Handbooks?  There are numerous policies that you will not find in the typical handbook template, which most non-profits would want to add:
1. Working with Volunteers
2. Volunteer Time
3. Working with Minors
4. Staff Accountability
5. Safety and Protection of Minors
6. Vision Statement
7. Word from the Founder or Leader
8. Sabbatical Leave
9. Ministry Leave
plus any policies specific to your ministry area.

What can an HR SERVICE COMPANY offer that is better than the DIY approach?   Such companies will customize your NPO Staff Policy Manual to the needs and vision of your non-profit.  They will take the time to get to know your organization and make sure you get a handbook that fits.  Typical pricing is around $575.  New Wind is the national leader in HR Service Companies who specialize in providing handbook services, both for businesses and non-profits.  They will do all the hard work and you will receive a Non-Profit Employee Handbook customized to your NPO:
(Get a 10% Discount today by mentioning the Promo Code: HRQA)

Who should consider hiring a LABOR LAW ATTORNEY?  Any NPO or ministry that has a high-risk of lawsuits from employees should definitely consider hiring a labor lawyer to design their employee policy manual.  This might be a large-scale organization with many “businesses”, or a high-risk mission that sends employees into dangerous situations regularly.  The law expert will make sure your handbook is legally airtight.  Lawyer service are definitely the most expensive option for designing a policy manual, but for some it is the best option.  Pricing can range from $3,500 to $5,000 or more.  Look for a labor lawyer that specializes in non-profit law.

2 thoughts on “Does our Non-Profit need a staff policy manual?

  1. jonny mary studios

    Excellent blog post friend

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