Develop a Constitution and Bylaws
Develop Clear, Recognized, Sport-Specific Rules and Regulations
Develop an Organizational Chart that Identifies Staff and Volunteer Positions
Follow Generally Accepted Record Keeping Procedures
Maintain Regular Two-Way Commnication Between Leadership and Constituents
Establish Risk Management Procedures
Website Help: Minnsota Council for Nonprofits www.minnesotanonprofits.org/nonprofit-resources/templates-samples
- a. Contact other sport associations similar to yours to see what they use and modify to meet your needs.
b. Contact your sport’s governing body for their suggestions.
Example: Minnesota Council for Nonprofits’ Principles for Nonprofit Excellence
Role in Society: Nonprofit organizations provide unique opportunities for individuals to combine their energy, talents, and values for community improvement and enrichment. Nonprofits are obligated to understand their roles as entities that engage and inspire individuals and communities for public benefit, and to conduct their activities with transparency, integrity, and accountability.
Governance: A nonprofit’s board of directors is responsible for defining the organization’s mission and for providing overall leadership and strategic direction to the organization. Each nonprofit board should: (1) actively set policy and ensure that the organization has adequate resources to carry out its mission; (2) provide direct oversight and direction for the executive director and be responsible for evaluating his/her preformance; and (3) evaluate its own effectiveness as a governing body, as a group of volunteers and representatives of the community, in upholding the public interest served by the organization.
Planning: Organizational planning sets the overall direction, activities, and strategies a nonprofit employs to fulfill its mission. Nonprofits have a duty to engage in sound planning, define a clear vision for the future, and specify strategies, goals, and objectives for plan implementation. Planning should incorporate input from constituents and should be intentional and ongoing to successfully position the organization to achieve its goals.
Transparency and Accountability: Nonprofits have an ethical obligation to their constituents and the public to conduct their activities with accountability and transparency. Nonprofits should regulary and openly convey information to the public about their mission, activities, accomplishments, and decision-making processes. Information from a nonprofit organization should be easily accessible to the public and should create external visibility, public understanding, and trust in the organization.
Fundraising: Nonprofit organizations provide opportunities for individuals and institutions to voluntarily contribute to causes of their choosing. Nonprofit fundraising should be conducted according to the highest ethical standards with regard to solicitation, acceptance, recording, reporting, and use of funds. Nonprofits should adopt clear policies for fundraising activities to ensure responsible use of funds and open, transparent communication with contributors and other constituents.
Financial Management: Nonprofits have an obligation to act as responsible stewards in managing their financial resources. Nonprofits must comply with all the legal financial requirements and should adhere to sound accounting principles that produce reliable financial information, ensure fiscal responsibility, and build public trust. Nonprofits should use thier financial resources to accomplish their missions in an effective and efficient manner and should establish clear policies and practices to regularly monitor how funds are used.
Human Resources: The ability of an organization to make effective use of the energy, time, and talents of its employees and volunteers is essential to accomplish the organization’s mission. Nonprofit organizations should place a high priority on exercising fair and equitable practices that attract and retain qualified volunteers and employees. Nonprofit have an obligation to adhere to all applicable employment laws and to provide a safe and productive work environment. Each nonprofit organization should establish specific policies and practices that promote cooperation and open communication among employees, volunteers, and other constituents so that they can effectively work together to advance the organization’s mission.
Civic Engagement and Public Policy: Nonprofit organizations play a central role in the democratic process by providing a means for individuals to deliberate on public policies and decisions that affect them. To the extent possible, nonprofit organizations should engage constituents in public policy and advocacy activities as a means to fulfilling their missions and promoting community interests. Open communication and consultation between policy makers and constituents of nonprofit organizations contribute to well-informed policies and the effective implementation of them.
Strategic Alliances: The effectiveness of nonprofit organizations depends on successful relationships with other community institutions. Regardless of form (partnerships, collaboration, cooperation, or coordination), these relationships, or strategic alliances, can serve a variety of purposes, including resource sharing, policy influence, and improved operational effeciency. They strengthen both the capacity of individual organizations and the sector as a whole. Nonprofits should be open to strategic alliances and, when appropriate, should partner with other organizations to strengthen their capacity to achieve desired results. Nonprofits should initiate and promote cooperation and coordination between a variety of entities to avoid unnecessary duplication of services and to maximize the resources available to the communities they serve.
Evaluation: Nonprofit organizations have proven to be highly effective at a wide variety of tasks that benefit society. An essential responsibility of every nonprofit organization is to assess the impact of its actions and to act upon this information. The public has a stake in nonprofit performance and is entitled to information regarding organizational results. Nonprofits should regularly measure their performance against a clear set of goals and objectives. They should share this information with their constituents and the public and use it to continually improve the quality of their processes, programs, and activities.
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2. Develop Clear, Recognized, Sport-Specific Rules and Regulations
(Develop Clear, Recognized, Sport-Specific Rules and Regulations that Govern each Sport Sponsored by the Organization)
Many youth sports use High School rules, with some modifications. These can be purchased through the National Federation of State High School Associations at www.nhfs.org or Minnesota State High School League at www.mshsl.org. Additional on-line resources for rules and governing bodies are:
Football: www.usafootball.com; www.nflyouthfootball.com; www.popwarner.com
Track & Field: www.ustaf.org
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3. Develop an Organizational Chart that Identifies Staff and Volunteer Positions
Example: USTA Northern Council and Committee Structure
- Adult Tennis Council: Collegiate Committee, Leagues Committee, Leagues Grievance Committee, Twin Cities League Committee.
Community Development Council: Awards Committee, Community Tennis Association/NJTL Committee, Grants and Scholarships Committee, Public Facility Assistance Committee.
Junior Tennis Council: Junior Team Tennis Committee, Player Development Committee.
Officials Council: Tournaments and Assignments Committee, Training and Recruitment Committee, Disciplinary Committee.
Example: Volunteer Position Description
- A volunteer position description should accurately define what work is anticipated for each position. To get the maximum performance from your volunteers, and to keep them happy, they should know exactly what is expected of them. Here are key elements in a volunteer job description:
- Position Title
- Anticipated Results
- Supervisor’s Name
- Qualifications for the Job
- Work Site
- Brief Position Description
- Agency Name, Address, and Phone Number
- Time Parameters of the Job
- Training Requirements
- Evaluation Requirements
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4. Follow Generally Accepted Record Keeping Procedures
Each organization is different in the types of documents they use. It is important to have archives and records for legal purposes; however, it is not necessary to keep every piece of paper ever printed by your organization.
Website Help: National Intramural Recreational Sports Association’s Guidelines www.nirsa.org/Content/NavigationMenu/AboutUs/GoverningDocuments/Records_Retention_Schedule.pdf
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5. Maintain Regular Two-Way Commnication Between Leadership and Constituents
- a. Create a website where you can regularly post information for constituents.
b. Use media resources to disseminate information (Newspapers, Radio PSA’s, Cable Access Channels, etc).
c. At the beginning of the program, be clear as to what communication is expected from both parties.
Example: MYAS Communications Policy
- Over the past several years, the Minnesota Youth Athletic Services (MYAS) has experienced overwhelming growth in numbers of athletes, teams, tournaments, leagues, etc. While we value everyone’s opinion, it has become necessary for the MYAS to develop the policy whereby our staff will communicate with the travel directors, coaches, and association representatives only.
There is not adequate time in the day to discuss rulings, controversial situations, etc. with individual athletes or parents. As an alternative, we encourage your constructive criticisms and suggestions be communicated by a team representative, who is welcome to contact our office for a response or necessary action.
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6. Establish Risk Management Procedures
Establish risk management procedures including but not limited to accident/medical/liability insurance to all affiliated groups including but limited to coaches, athletes, and officials and regular inspection of all equipment and facilities.
Risk management is a process of analyzing potential harm or liability to an organization, its members, or the people it serves, and then develop policies and procedures to minimize that harm or liability. Steps taken in risk management include: (1) Anticipation, (2) Evaluation, (3) Prevention, (4) What to do if the event occurs, (5) Covering the cost, and (6) Analyzing.
Risk management is not the same as risk elimination. It will not be possible to totally anticipate all potential harm or eliminate all possible consequences. The goal is to avoid making a bad situation worse.
Talk to your insurance company, accountant, attorney, police, other clubs, etc. for ideas and suggections. The following suggestion are just examples…and are not the only or best solutions.
Anticipation: What can go wrong? Brainstorm to indentify both the event and the problems that could result.
- a: Player gets injured during a game
b: Player gets molested by coach
c: Club treasurer embezzles the club’s funds
d: A meteor strikes the field during the game.
Evaluation: How likely are these events and how severe are the consequences?
- a: Could easily occur
b: Could possibly occur
c: A possibility
d: Remote possibility
Prevention: What can be done to avoid or reduce this risk upfront? There is usually not a single correct action, and the action may depend on variables with the risk.
- a: Better training and conditioning for the players.
b: Background checks and follow-ups. Always have two adults present.
c: Annual audits, requiring two signatures for checks.
d: Nothing can be done to avoid.
What to do: Different courses of action can be taken depending on what it is that has happened. Preplanning will have a major impact on how the event affects your organization. Often, a decision tree can be used to analyze and provide guidance in what to do.
- a: Determine the nature and extent of the injury. Has there been first aid training provided to the coach or team manager?
b: Contact the authorities and do not interfere with their investigation. Support the victim and family.
c: Contact the police. Determine the extent of the loss.
Covering the cost: Condsider preparations to spread or reduce the cost and consequences. The cost may be financial or perhaps publicity. The event may trigger an emergency communications plan to be followed, is there insurance to cover a financial loss, or should preparations be made for a lawsuit?
Analyzing: Check your response…did your plan work? How well? What can be improved? What could have been done differently?
Even if nothing has occured, the risk management plan should be reveiwed and updated periodically. Insurance, laws, and people change!