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How to use the Policy Bank

Step One:

Look through the list of policies and procedures to locate the one/s that your board or organisation needs.

Step Two:

Download the policy you want by clicking on the name and saving it to your own computer (the policies are provided in Microsoft Word format).

You may remove the header and footer information if you wish. The policies are provided free of restriction to any not-for-profit community organisation for any non-commercial purpose. (For full details of our copyright policy, go to www.ourcommunity.com.au/copyright.)

Step Three:

Adapt the policy to suit the particular needs of your organisation.

This step is very important as parts of the sample policies may hold no relevance at all to your organisation, while other parts will need to be added or modified to suit your purposes.

For example, some of the policies in the Policy Bank refer to a Human Resources Department. If your organisation does not have a HR Department, you will need to change the text to specify who is the responsible person.

The sample policies also often refer to the "board", so if your organisation is governed by, say, a committee of management, you will need to substitute these terms. Same goes with the CEO. If you don't have one, or you call them by some other name, you'll need to change the text accordingly.

It's also worth noting that not every document that's referred to as an associated or related document in our sample policies will also be available from the Policy Bank. Some of these you will need to formulate yourselves. Where such a document does exist, we will link to it from the policy itself.

You also need to discuss and decide which clauses you would like to keep, which you would like to modify, and which you would like to take out - in most cases there is no "one size fits all" answer. For example, the sample Ethical Fundraising Policy flags the possibility of excluding donations from certain types of companies, but such donors may actually be perfectly acceptable to your group.

Note that the documents available for download from the Policy Bank cover both the organisation's policies - the guidelines set down by the board, which we recommend should only be changed by the board - and its procedures, which are instructions from the CEO on how to implement the policies. We recommend that the CEO be authorised by the board (at least in some cases) to set down and change procedures whenever it seems like a good idea to increase efficiency of effectiveness.

Step Four:

Circulate your draft policy to relevant people for comments. Incorporate feedback where appropriate.

Step Five:

Adopt the new policy at your next board meeting.

Ensure all relevant staff, volunteers and contractors are aware of any new policies and that responsibilities have been assigned.

Step Six:

Make a deposit.

If you have some great policies that your organisation thinks would be of use to other groups, email them to service@ourcommunity.com.au or post to Our Community Policy Bank, PO Box 354 North Melbourne, 3051.

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