Despite everyone’s best intentions, sometimes thing do go wrong. Often the worst of situations can be best handled with a little advance preparation and good communications. Chapter leadership should be mindful of potential risks associated with operating a chapter, managing money and creating partnerships with external organizations.
In addition to banking accounts, a chapter may have the need to open various other types of accounts. Chapters may find need for online accounts with various services, post office box accounts, etc. Care should be taken when opening any type of account in the chapter’s name to ensure multiple officers have access to the account or at a minimum, the access to change the account.
Banking accounts are possibly the most critical types of accounts a chapter will make use of. Therefore, it is critical that chapters follow good risk-management principles. Banking accounts should be created with at least two officers holding signature authority. Check with your financial institution to make sure multiple individuals have access to the account and can make changes if needed. For more information on banking, see the Chapter Finances section of this handbook.
All bank accounts should be in the name of: “Friends of Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites DBA [Chapter Name]”
Post Office Boxes
Post office boxes are a great way to have chapter mail disconnected from any one officer and to maintain the identity of the chapter. When opening a post office box, the chapter should make sure the box is opened as a business. Rates may be a bit higher for business PO Boxes, but the flexibility they offer is worth the additional cost.
Boxes should be opened under the same name as banking accounts: Friends of Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites DBA [Chapter Name]. PO Boxes should list at least two officers as having access to receive mail and make changes to the account. In addition, at least two keys should be obtained. One may be kept in the hands of the officer responsible for checking the mailbox. The other should be kept secured in a safe location to which all officers have access. The site office is a good place to keep a clearly labeled PO Box key.
Chapters will often find the need to open accounts for various services online. This may be for e-mail discussion groups, PayPal accounts or accounts with various printers or other services. If the account is critical to the success of the chapter, usernames and passwords should be shared among at least two officers. For example, a chapter uses Facebook to keep in touch with site supporters and to post information about upcoming programs. The Facebook page should have at least two administrators who can access the account, make changes and assign new administrators as needed. In the case of other online services that do not offer flexible administrator accounts, the single username and password should be shared with at least two officers and kept in a safe place.
All chapter records should be maintained in a manner to mitigate risk to the chapter. Financial records, meeting minutes, organizational paperwork, etc. should be maintained in at least two locations. For most situations, copies of chapter records can be maintained at the office of the site. Simple copies are usually enough to satisfy this requirement.
All chapter records should be retained for a minimum of five years (seven for financial information) and are open to the public and the Division by request.
Additionally, all records should be archived annually and stored at the park or historic site your chapter supports. Your site manager can work with you to find a small area or filing cabinet in which to store chapter records and materials.
Site managers should provide a small area or filing cabinet in which to store chapter records for archival and security purposes.
For electronic files, backups should be maintained in at least two locations with at least two officers having access. Making and keeping electronic backups does not have to be a complicated process. A very simple way to maintain electronic backups of important chapter information is to create a free e-mail account with an online provider like Google. When a new file needs to be backed up, simply attach the file to an e-mail message and send it to the online repository. As long as at least two people have access to the account, the records will be stored online and accessible should the need arise. Most online e-mail providers offer large amounts of storage space and are very reliable.
Statewide Friends provides insurance coverage to chapters at no charge to meet all the requirements of the Master Agreement. Chapters do not need to purchase additional insurance for normal activities. A primary exception is for chapter sponsored events which may be considered high-risk.
High risk events include any events involving the opportunity for serious injury or death. Tree climbing, equestrian events, archery and any event where alcohol may be served are examples of high risk events.
Chapters may need to purchase specific event coverage if they are sponsoring a high-risk event. Otherwise, most chapter activities are covered.
In such cases, Statewide Friends will work with an insurance provider to add an additional rider for a specific event or activity.
The following basic insurance types are included in the umbrella policy through Statewide Friends and cover chapter activities:
- Director’s and Officer’s Liability Insurance
- Commercial General Liability Insurance
- Volunteer Liability Insurance
The Master Agreement calls for an array of insurance coverages to fit most situations. For a complete list of these requirements, see the Master Agreement located in the Appendices for this handbook.