When was the last time you reviewed your club’s policies and procedures? This task often gets moved down the priority list as so many other deadline-oriented tasks are moved up. While boring and dull, a club’s policies and procedures protect your business and will make your life easier. If club leadership, coaches, parents, and athletes know what is expected, you’ll prevent many hassles, alleviate some stressful situations, and avoid endless questions.

Let’s examine some key policies to review before season begins. Keep in mind, some policies are required by law depending on how your business is set up.

1) Code of Conduct: defines the basic standards of club conduct. For example: club values, the protection of club property, etc. Your club’s code of conduct should state how staff, coaches, parents and athletes should behave and what the consequences of misconduct are. The code of conduct is defined in the Employee Handbook, Parent/Player Handbook, and any signed agreements/contracts.

2) Equality: forms the basis of protection against discrimination or harassment in the club and helps to promote diversity. It ensures that the club does not make decisions that discriminate against employees or applicants on the basis of race, ethnic origin, gender, religion, age, disability or sexual orientation. A Transgender Participation Policy can be included under equality.  An equal opportunity policy can be included in your club’s employee handbook, as well as parent/athlete handbook.

3) Health and Safety: should document the club’s responsibilities and duties to ensure safety of your athletes, coaches, staff and spectators. The policy should include any procedures and instructions which involve particular risks and conduct in emergency situations. Ex: Travel Policy, Substance Abuse Policy, Anti-Harassment and Abuse Policy, and Inclement Weather Policy.

4) Use of Social Media, Cell Phones, and the Internet: should stipulate what coaches and employees may and may not share online/on social media, and define what is and is not permitted to be shared on social media. The policy should aim to strike a balance between the employee’s and athlete’s personal rights and the club’s interests. Group chat and texts message policy should also be included.

5) Data Protection: should clearly define how the club uses personal data and what measures the club is taking to protect data. A Data Protection Policy includes the personal data of employees, as well as athlete/parent data. A Document and Retention Policy (also known as a records and information management policy, Record-keeping Policy, or a Records Maintenance Policy) establishes and describes how a company expects its employees to manage company data from creation through destruction. This policy can be included in the Employee and Coach Handbook.

6) Working Times, Absences and Holidays: although club’s operate outside of typical business hours, it’s important to clarify any possible ambiguities concerning working hours, absences and holidays, which can include attendance, vacation and time off, finding a substitute coach, family leave, and maternity leave.

Nonprofit Policies

Every nonprofit needs to adopt governance policies and procedures to ensure that its leaders, employees, and volunteers have a clear plan for handling important parts of the organization’s operations. A nonprofit attorney can help a board examine which policies are most important for the specific organization’s work.

Conflict-of-interest policy: ensures that when conflicts arise, they can be handled in a way that is fair and predictable. The IRS requires that a nonprofit’s conflict of interest policy be approved and adopted prior to filing an application for 501(c)(3) status. It also helps to ensure that the nonprofit’s tax-exempt status is protected.

Budget policy: ensures that an organization’s assets are protected. Adopt a clear policy about who has authority to spend money or commit the organization to a financial obligation, and set limits on how high those obligations can go without board approval.

Executive compensation policy:  The IRS has parameters for what is permissible for tax-exempt nonprofits in setting executive compensation levels. An executive compensation policy for the nonprofit should set the process for determining and documenting executive compensation.

Whistleblower protection policy: this protects employees who report illegal activities by an employer so they do not suffer any adverse consequences. Nonprofits need to make it clear that it is the responsibility of directors, officers, and employees to report any breaches in ethical or legal conduct.

As we head into the club season, take some time to review, revise or create your club’s policies. Careful introduction and communication of policies within the club is important. If you create take the due diligence to create a policy, you also need to make sure it will be enforced. If you’re looking for more information or guidance on club policies, email us at members@jvavolleyball.org.

This article was a collaboration between JVA Executive Director, Jenny Hahn, and JVA Director of Marketing and Education, Briana Schunzel. View additional resources for club directors here.