Considerations for Policies as a Standard of Care

Brent, you have put your finger on a key problem with policies. Your attorney was wise in saying that a policy not followed is worse than no policy at all. If you have a policy, you are letting the world know that you believe that is a reasonable standard of care. If you then don't follow it, you're condemned out of your own mouth.

So what to do? You also rightly point out that organizations must have policies. Here are some practical tips.

First, consider whether you need a given policy or sub-policy at all. That may depend on your organization's size and structure. A tiny non-profit won't need the same layers of policies that a large mission organization has. An organization that rarely works with children won't need as broadly robust child protection policies as an organization that works with children constantly (though it should probably still have something).

Second, don't put too much picky detail in the policies. You need enough flexibility to adapt to a variety of situations. Basic principles can be set forth without dictating every detail.

Third, consider your administrative structure and training. Do you have the personnel to implement your policies? Can you train them?

Fourth, consider natural and spiritual gifting. Some administratively gifted people enjoy putting in place processes to carry out policies and then implementing them. Conversely, a visionary type or an intuitive, empathetic open-ended person will not be able to do that, from lack of ability or interest. The idea is to match your roles and gifting in a way that allows you to implement policies.

Fifth, consider process and systems. Simple and effective ways to get everyone up to speed make it much more likely policies will be implemented. This is an area where organizations can share what has worked for them.

Lastly, policies should further the vision of the mission and the work of the Kingdom. Policies should feel integrated and organic, not like an avalanche of unwanted and unneeded paperwork.

Disclaimer: not official legal or psychological advice or opinion

Because of the generality of the information on this site, it may not apply to a given place, time, or set of facts. It is not intended to be legal advice, and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations