Filing Structure

Many new nonprofit leaders (and some seasoned leaders) don’t have a good system for filing their work. A trivial concern? Not at all. Mismanaging your files can make your workflow incredibly inefficient over time. Plus, it can dramatically increase the frustration experienced by  team members who want to collaborate with you on your mission but can’t find what they need to do so. While you can afford to be a little idiosyncratic with your personal folders; when it comes to shared folders, there needs to be a logical systems for where you put things.

There are no standards for filing systems for nonprofits. However, there is a little common sense can go a long way:

  1. Folders should correspond with business units
  2. The contents should have a common purpose (e.g., records, templates, reports, brochures, pictures, minutes, correspondences)
  3. Individual work product should be filed separately, in personal folders
  4. There should be common naming taxonomy for files that helps with retrieval
  5. Confidential information should be protected

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