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The Corporate Binder: Does the Nonprofit Need One?

The corporate binder is where you keep all of the important documents necessary for running the nonprofit organization and staying compliant. Setting up a corporate binder is pretty simple, but it requires meticulous maintenance to keep it up-to-date. It is a record of all of your minutes and other corporate documents.

This binder can be created physically in a three-ringed binder or virtually using a file on your computer. My suggestions is that you keep both as a back-up plan. You can never be too safe.

Usually, one binder is too much for all the documents the nonprofit organization should be keeping records on a regularly. I prefer to break the binder done into categories that fit together. Here is a list of some things that you need to keep in those binders.

Binder 1 - Structure • Articles of Incorporation • Bylaws • Determination Letter (IRS) • EIN Documents • Permits/Registration • List of Board Member and Resumes • Nonprofit BOD Liability Insurance • State Annual/Bi-annual Reports • Conflict of Interest Documentation • Adopting an operating agreement or shareholder agreement • Initial Bank Accounts Documents • Amended articles of organization or corporate bylaws (if applicable)

Binder 2 – Minutes • Meeting minutes • Notices of meetings sent to members

Binder 3 – Accounting • Bank and credit card statements o Cards for employees (if applicable) o Expense accounts for employees (if applicable) • Approving contracts • Independent Audit Reports • Major Contracts Accounting Records • Copies of Form 990, 990-N, 990-EZ • Loan Documents • Grant and Fundraising Documentation

Binder 4 – Human Resources • Job Descriptions • Contracts for employees and independent contractors • Salary Documents • Employee Benefits o Retirement o Health and Disability • Conflict of Interest Documentation • Sexual Harassment Documentation

Binder 5 – Policies and Procedures • Employee Handbook • Volunteer Handbook • On-boarding Procedure of employees/contractors/clients • Confidentiality Documents

Binder 6 – Property • Leasing Agreement/Deed • Rental Receipts/Mortgage • Insurance

Binder 7 – Miscellaneous • Anything that you are not sure where it fits but it involves power, money, or a major nonprofit organizational decision.

The best way to organize this binder is in chronological order. Place documents in the binder with the new documents on top and the older ones on the bottom. Also, use index tabs to help you find what you are looking for quickly.

If the information is organized and kept current, then you will have no trouble producing them for an audit or grant application.

That’s it! Your corporate binder in a nutshell.


The learn more about running a highly successful nonprofit organization, go on over to TVA Academy and take one of my many course to fill the knowledge gap.

Strategically Yours,

Tracy V. Allen

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