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Finance and Administration Peer Community

From human resources and office policies to financial management and strategic planning and everything in between, the Forum has curated the best policies and practices being used by your colleagues in the philanthropy-serving organization (PSO) network.

As an association of associations, the Forum provides resources and guidance on all aspects of association management for its members. We are always looking for new trends and materials to share with the network. As PSOs develop new policies and best practices, those innovations are shared with the Forum Network and become models and templates for PSOs to use in their own work.  If you have resources to share, please share them online or by emailing Mary O'Neill.

Finance and Admin Peer Community

The Finance and Administration Peer Community will discuss issues related to the office operations of a PSO. Topics covered will include human resources, office space, file management, accounting, benefits, and any other area of interest.

  • Finance & Administration Listserv 
  • Three round-robin calls per year
  • In-person meeting at Forum’s Annual Conference

Interested in joining this Peer Community? Submit your email address on the form at the bottom of the Our Networks page


Proper financial procedures provide the backbone of any solid non-profit institution. From preparing the annual 990 filing to determining when and by what process to tap into reserves, regional associations face common challenges together.

Reserve Policies
A collection of sample regional association financial policy guidelines for reserve funds. A strong reserve policy safeguards operations in the case of unforeseen financial expense, such as a sudden change in office space rental agreements, and permits the organization to continue to operate during difficult financial times.

The Redesigned Form 990: Are You Ready?
PowerPoint slides from a teleconference on the re-designed IRS form 990.

Whistleblower Policy Template
A sample whistleblower policy that can be adapted for use by regional associations.

Investment Policy Statements
Sample regional association investment policies

Human Resources

Associations are only as strong as the staff and members who comprise them. Below are resources cover the best practices to keep staffing easy and staffers happy including employee compensation, benefits, management, hiring, personnel policies, position descriptions, and employee communications.
Every organization should have a conflict of interest policy in place to assure that ethical standards are being met in all of the organization's interactions. This area provides a number of examples of conflict of interest policies that can be included in an organization's bylaws or employee handbook.
Sample regional association employee handbooks and manuals.
The Forum collects sample job descriptions and position advertisements for regional association staff. If you would like to contribute a sample document, please email Courtney Moore.
View sample staff evaluation and self-appraisal forms for regional associations.
Telecommuting Policies
Telecommunications is allowing an increasing number of organizations to efficiently operate in ways that previously could only be accomplished in person. The potential impact of this shift in work is financial, social, cultural, and environmental.

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning can help regional associations meet the current and future needs of the foundations they serve. Yet to be successful, a strategic plan must provide concrete goals and realistic deadlines for meeting them. The Forum provides guides and sample documents to help direct the process of creating a strategic plan including SWOT analyses, presentations to the board, and planning memos.


Governance includes every aspect of the board’s roles and responsibilities, from legal and financial responsibilities to how meetings and committees are run to relationships between the board and staff members.  It also covers policies that help guide the organization such as: guiding principles, conflict of interest polices, and mission and values statements.

How the Funder Network Model Can Be Used
This model is a first generation “flexible description” of how funder networks contribute to outcomes at the levels of membership, philanthropy, and the social sector. 

Board Diversity Assessment
A template to analyze regional association board diversity by grantmaker age, gender, race, type, category, and region.

Plan of Inclusivity for the Board of Directors and Committees
Sample inclusivity plan for board and committee members from the Minnesota Council on Foundations.

Board Self-assessment
Hiring an outside board development consultant can be expensive and doesn't always fit within an organization's timeline for decisions. Over the years, regional associations have developed a number of tools for board members to self-evaluate their efficiency, assigned roles, and productivity.

RA Committee Charters
Sample documents regarding regional association committees, including committee descriptions, scope of responsibilities, and term limits.

Affinity Group Policies
Sample documents regarding policies regarding funder working groups and affinity groups

Board Dashboards
Sample visuals used by RAs to report on metrics to boards including member engagement, programs, and services.

Supplier Diversity Policies
Some organizations are beginning to create policies that increase underrepresented groups providing goods or services to their organization. Sample vendor diversity policies are available from philanthropy-serving organizations.

Organizational Policy and Guideline Review
Written policies and schedules for philanthropy-serving organizations to conduct a periodic review of board approved policies to make sure they are still current and relevant.


The business of regional associations is a business of partnerships. Building connections in our local communities and working together to create better outcomes for grantmakers can only be accomplished by working collaboratively. Regional associations are natural conveners for thier members on many issues based on funding area, geography, or professional role.
San Diego Grantmakers' Guide to Collaborative Philanthropy describes how they help their members efficiently and effectively form and sustain collaborations. It is based on best practices identified from published research as well as interviews with members, regional associations of grantmakers, foundations, and consultants across the nation.
Co-Creation: Viewing Partnerships Through A New Lens
"Co-Creation" is a case study about the Connecticut Early Childhood Funder Collaborative, a project of the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy. The case study examines co-creation, an emerging systems change collaboration model which grew out of a funder-and-state partnership. The companion piece, "Taking on New Roles to Address 21st Century Problems," looks at co-creation from the perspective of a regional association of grantmakers.
This resource monograph developed by Philanthropy Ohio provides brief case studies of several partnerships in which foundations play or have played a pivotal role, beyond funding to convening, advocacy and technical assistance.
A listserve discussion regarding private-public partnerships, including both responses from regional associations and research carried out by Gateway Center for Giving.
This brief explores the world of nonprofit mergers and alliances from a donor-focused perspective and details challenges, opportunities, and key questions to ask for donors who are interested in learning more.
The Nonprofit Guide to Forming Alliances helps nonprofit leaders understand and strategically form alliances that work at a lower level of intensity. This concise guide has tips on how to recognize the wide range of ways that you can work with others, decide what kind of alliance you should create given your circumstances and needs, plan and start an alliance, or strengthen an existing alliance.