Our Articles of Incorporation are filed with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions and are reviewed every three years, including amendments, current address, current corporate name.
We have bylaws outlining our board governance structure, including how board members are elected, term limits, and how they are removed.
We have at least three independent board members, and members serving in the roles of: president/chair, secretary, and treasurer. Any paid board or staff do not have voting rights on the board. At least one member has financial expertise.
We document minutes to meetings held or actions taken by the board and any committees of the board, and retain these minutes as part of our permanent record.
We have a comprehensive policy manual that includes all of our written policies. Policies are reviewed and updated periodically. Our board members have access to all of our policies. At a minimum, our manual includes: conflict of interest, whistleblower, and record retention and destruction policies.
Organizations that operate in a fiscal or host-organization relationship with another organization or group have a written agreement on file outlining the roles and responsibilities of each party. This agreement was mutually approved.
A Conflict of Interest policy exists and board members are asked annually to disclose via a form. Anyone with a conflict abstains from voting on related matters and the abstention is noted in the minutes to the meeting.
Our board is diverse in lived experience, expertise, and perspectives in order to plan for the future, manage risk, make prudent decisions and take full advantage of opportunities.
We have a compensation policy that requires board approval of executive compensation and outlines how our executive director is evaluated annually in relation to previously agreed upon set of expectations/goals. A salary survey using relevant comparability data is completed periodically.
Our board members regularly attend and participate in meetings and make an annual charitable gift to the organization that is meaningful to them.
We have a policy on virtual meetings involving votes that ensures the ability to fully discuss issues and vote.
Our board has a process for how urgent matters are handled between meetings.
We have an annual calendar of board meetings. Our board meets at least quarterly.
Roles for board, executive director, employees (if applicable) are defined, often called job descriptions. The Executive Director is often in charge of operations and the board focused on policy and planning.
We have a strategic plan that has been developed with input from our staff, board, and other community stakeholders.
Board members are oriented on their responsibilities including vision, mission, bylaws, policies, programs and services and financials. Board members are aware of, and understand, their Fiduciary Duty to the organization.
The board takes a self assessment annually reminding them of their duties.
1 out of 7
The board understands our organization's exempt charitable status and considers how decisions may impact its status.
Human Resources & Operations
We have written personnel policies and procedures that includes procedures for: hiring, performance reviews, employee benefits and leave, grievance/whistleblower, termination, non-discrimination and ADA compliance, employee record keeping, and reimbursement. Whistleblower, discrimination, and harassment procedures are clearly defined. All staff members acknowledge in writing that they have read and have access to the personnel handbook/policies.
We have documented key processes to ensure easy training/transition of future volunteers or employees.
All required federal and state payroll taxes are filed and paid timely, including federal and state unemployment as applicable.
We have EEOC, OSHA, Wage and Hour, Employee Polygraph Protection Act posters displayed.
Employees have filled out proper hiring paperwork including I-9, W-4 and WT-4 (Wisconsin).
We have a succession plan should the executive director or key employee leave.
We have a disaster plan that includes backing up files off-site and how the organization will continue operations if the current location becomes inoperable.
Personnel files are maintained with essential documents for all current and former employees within the guidance of our record retention policy.
We provide opportunities for employees' professional development and training with their job skill area and also in such areas as cultural humility and personal development.
Employee benefits, including paid time off, are administered in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations, on a non-discriminatory basis, and in accordance with our personnel policy manual.
Each staff person is given an annual evaluation in relation to previously agreed upon set of expectations/goals.
2 out of 7
We complete a compensation and benefits survey annually to ensure our wages and benefits are comparable to similar organizations in our region.
Financial Oversight & Risk Management
We have written financial policies ensuring adequate internal controls based on the size and functions of our organization (e.g. Dual signatures for checks over a certain threshold, limited access to accounts and credit cards, etc.). Controls are designed to safeguard the organization's assets and reduce the potential for fraud and abuse.
Our accounting records are maintained in an accounting software system in a way that supports proper checks and balances and produces financial statements on the GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) basis or other generally accepted comprehensive basis of accounting (e.g. cash basis).
Our board approves an annual operating budget including both anticipated revenue and expenses based on our known previous activities, anticipated changes, and alignment with our strategic plan. Variances between budget and actual are explained and approved by the board with the presentation of financial statements.
Financial statements are presented to and reviewed by the full board at least quarterly. Financial statements include a balance sheet (statement of financial position), income statement (statement of activities), and a budget to actual comparison.
The board has set a financial reserve (unrestricted net asset) target aimed to ensure continuity of mission and services, and measures and compares actual reserves to the target at least annually.
The organization has reviewed grants, contracts, and other state and federal requirements for when/if an independent audit/review by an independent CPA is deemed necessary. The Organization understands and complies with any audit requirements that currently exist, and keeps upcoming thresholds and requirements on its radar. **Note: WI DFI requires an independent audit for charitable organizations with annual support revenue over 500,000 dollars or an independent review for charitable organizations with annual support revenue over 300,000 dollars..
Vendors have completed a W-9. Independent contractor status has been evaluated, and 1099 contractors have been identified for year-end tax filings.
The organization understands the difference between an employee and an indepdent contractor. Any 1099 contractors have been identified for year-end tax filings.
If you receive donated funds, they are clearly categorized as unrestricted, temporarily restricted or permanently restricted in the organization’s financial statements and communications in accordance with the donor or grantor wishes/stipulations. Restricted funds are accounted for and segregated in the financial statements.
3 out of 7
The organization carries Directors and Officers (D&O) Liability Insurance. As deemed necessary, we carry insurance for our properties, events, and an umbrella policy in order to protect its assets.
Marketing & Communication
We communicate our effectiveness to the community and funders. This is done typically through an annual report. The annual report includes our mission, programs and outcomes, financial information, current board members, staff, partners and donors.
We participate with appropriate networks and/or coalitions.
We have a brand standards manual that is shared with employees and volunteers that addresses both internal and external communication. It is upheld for violations to protect its brand. The plan identifies our target audiences, key messages and evaluation strategies.
We have a social media policy communicated to all employees, volunteers, and board members that outlines clear rules around the use of social media and that designates one person or team to oversee such efforts.
We copyright or trademark organizational materials as appropriate.
Our board members are identified on our website.
4 out of 7
We are aware and comply with the CAN-SPAM Act (sender's address must be identified and the recipient must have the ability to opt out).
If soliciting/accepting charitable contribution, we have a gift acceptance policy that guides our organization in the types of gifts it can accept and educates the staff and board about critical issues triggered by certain gifts. At a minimum, the policy outlines the types of gifts the organization will accept or not accept, under what circumstances gifts will be accepted or not accepted and how gifts will be recognized and recorded.
We have a fundraising plan that outlines how the organization will secure needed private contributions to meet the operating budget. The plan is realistic; it based on previous fundraising results and available capacity to implement the activities. The board was involved in making the plan and it is approved in conjunction with the annual operating budget.
We have a secure database that confidentially stores all of the organization's donor information, including contact information and complete giftmaking history.
Donors contributing more than $250 receive a written acknowledgement/receipt for contributions no later than by the end of the calendar year. The gift acknowledgement includes all relevant information as required by the IRS for proper recording of various gift types (cash vs. stock vs. in-kind, for example).
Contributions are sought and administered in an ethical manner consistent with the Association of Fundraising Professional's Donor Bill of Rights.
Volunteers' roles are clearly defined and written, recruited, screened, and trained with background checks conducted, if appropriate.
Feedback is provided to volunteers. Volunteers are recognized periodically and commended.
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Volunteer time is recorded and allocated to programs as in-kind contributions.
Program Management & Effectiveness
We regularly evaluate our programs for effectiveness and financial sustainability, ending and starting programs as appropriate.
Our fees and services is readily available to the public. When charging for services, nonprofits should price equitably and take into account the consequences of denial of services due to an individual’s inability to pay.
6 out of 7
We regularly seek input from individuals who benefit from our mission, community groups, and the general public.
Legal Compliance & Preserving Tax Exemption Status
An officer, director or key employees does not economically benefit from the decisions they are able to make.
As a 501(c)3 organization, we do not directly or indirectly participate in, or intervene in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.
As a charitable organization (501(c)3), we do not engage in substantial legislative activities (commonly known as lobbying).
We know our IRS filing requirements (990N, 990EZ, 990 and/or 990-T) and are compliant. A copy is reviewed by the board prior to filing each year.
We have and follow a records retention policy that outlines the systematic review, retention and destruction of records (electronic or paper) received or created by the organization in connection with the transaction of organization business. The policy ensures compliance with federal and state laws and regulations to eliminate accidental or innocent destruction of records. The policy also addresses backup and recovery of essential records.
With the exception of private foundations, we meet the public support test for 501(c)3 tax exempt status - at least 1/3 (33.3%) of donations are given by donors who give less than 2% of the nonprofit’s overall receipts.
We have received our Letter of Determination from the IRS indicating tax exempt charitable status.
7 out of 7
We have evaluated whether we are required to have a seller's permit for items that we sell. If required, we have obtained a seller's permit, and collect and remit sales tax to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. If we are not required to have a seller's permit, we periodically evaluate our sales and determined the meet the definition of occasional sales or otherwise exempt sales.