April 24th, 2013
When or Do I Get to Throw It Away???
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act addresses the destruction of business
records and documents and turns intentional document destruction into a process
that must be carefully monitored.
Nonprofit organizations should have a written, mandatory
document retention and periodic destruction policy. Policies such as this will
eliminate accidental or innocent destruction. In addition, it is important for
administrative personnel to know the length of time records should be retained
to be in compliance.
The following table provides the minimum requirements.
This information is provided as guidance in determining
your organization’s document retention policy.
Type of Document Minimum Requirement
Accounts payable ledgers and schedules 7 years
Audit reports Permanently
Bank Reconciliations 2 years
Bank statements 3 years
Checks (for important payments and purchases) Permanently
mortgages, notes and leases (expired) 7 years
Contracts (still in effect) Permanently
Correspondence (general) 2 years
(legal and important matters) Permanently
(with customers and vendors) 2 years
Deeds, mortgages, and bills of sale Permanently
Depreciation Schedules Permanently
Duplicate deposit slips 2 years
Employment applications 3 years
Expense Analyses/expense distribution schedules 7 years
Year End Financial Statements Permanently
Insurance Policies (expired) 3 years
Insurance records, current accident
reports, claims, policies, etc. Permanently
Internal audit reports 3 years
of products, materials, and supplies 7 years
(to customers, from vendors) 7 years
Minute books, bylaws and charter Permanently
Patents and related Papers Permanently
Payroll records and summaries 7 years
Personnel files (terminated employees) 7 years
Retirement and pension records Permanently
Tax returns and worksheets Permanently
Timesheets 7 years
registrations and copyrights Permanently
Withholding tax statements 7 years
©2004 National Council of Nonprofit Associations, www.ncna.org
May be duplicated for non-commercial use, with attribution, by
The National Council of Nonprofit Associations (NCNA) is the network of state and
regional nonprofit associations serving over 22,000 members in 46 states and the
District of Columbia. NCNA links local organizations to a national
audience through state associations and helps small and mid-sized nonprofits:
manage and lead more effectively; collaborate and exchange solutions; save money
through group buying opportunities; engage in critical policy issues affecting
the sector; and achieve greater impact in their communities.
Gift Acceptance Policies
GIFT ACCEPTANCE POLICIES
By Larry C. Howlett CPA
The following policies intend to provide
guidance to a charity in accepting gifts in setting standards in evaluating
various kinds of gifts. The types
of gifts, the limitation/restrictions placed on the gifts and the charity’s
administration of the gifts should be considered in accepting
The members of the board of directors,
officers and staff should determine how these points apply to the charity, make
changes as needed and operate within these guidelines to best deal with donors
and protect the charity.
Gifts should only be accepted if the donor
intends to benefit the charity and not seek personal financial gain from the
Gift acceptance policies may be used to
preserve relationships with donors, a valuable asset of a charity.
Established written policies provide a means for the contact person of
the charity to defect the rejection of an offered gift on the policy, not a
personal choice. The donor may
observe the charity is professional in its operations and maintains a high level
of integrity. A gift acceptance
policy provides a means of consistency and communication with
The mission statement should be stated to
remind everyone of the purposes of gifts must conform to the purposes of the
The charity should primarily only accept
unrestricted gifts so the donated items may be used as the organization wishes
for its purposes. Donor imposed
restrictions should conform to the mission of the charity.
One of the recognized restrictions may be endowment for board established
purposes. Restrictions that are
beyond the mission of the donor or for the private benefit of the donor should
Donors must retain no control over the
gifts. Any offers of gifts, where
the donors retain any degree of control should be rejected.
The organization must accept only gifts when they have free and
unencumbered control to the gifts.
In evaluating if the charity should accept
real estate gifts, it must request the donor secures an environmental clearance
of the property. The organization
should also consider if it can manage the property or dispose of it properly if
Larry C. Howlett
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