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Finance and Administration Peer Community

From human resources and office policies to financial management and strategic planning and everything in between, the Forum has curated the best policies and practices being used by your colleagues in the philanthropy-serving organization (PSO) network.

As an association of associations, the Forum provides resources and guidance on all aspects of association management for its members. We are always looking for new trends and materials to share with the network. As PSOs develop new policies and best practices, those innovations are shared with the Forum Network and become models and templates for PSOs to use in their own work. If you have resources to share, please share them online or by emailing Brandon Iracks-Edelin.

Finance and Admin Peer Community

The Finance and Administration Peer Community will discuss issues related to the office operations of a PSO. Topics covered will include human resources, office space, file management, accounting, benefits, and any other area of interest.

  • Finance & Administration Listserv ( You must be a member of the Forum & this Peer Community to post to this list.
  • Three round-robin calls per year
  •  Forum’s Annual Conference virtual session

Interested in joining this Peer Community? Submit your email address on the form at the bottom of the Our Networks page.

Forum Staff Lead:  Ivana Bikombe, (202) 869-4327

Harmony Hayes, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees

Harmony Hayes (she/her/hers) has been with GCIR since 2014 and has over 17 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. Prior to joining the GCIR, she worked at The San Francisco Foundation for the Koshland Program where she collaborated with resident leaders in underserved neighborhoods throughout the Bay Area on community development projects.

Harmony earned an M.A. in Economic Development from The University of San Francisco. During that time, she managed a research project with support from USAID to examine the impact of social networks on access to micro-credit in the western highlands of Guatemala. Outside of work, she enjoys traveling, antique shopping, and spending time with her family.

Bridget Dobrowski, Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders 

Bridget Dobrowski is Vice President, Operations and Finance of Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders. She oversees all aspects of SAFSF’s critical infrastructure including information technology, finances, human resources, and organizational structure and protocols. She’s been with SAFSF for over 10 years and has been involved in every aspect of the organization’s growth and development during that time. Starting in a programmatic role and leading the development of the annual SAFSF Forum, Bridget managed newsletter communications and partnered with members on webinar creation for many years, while also overseeing much of the infrastructure she manages today. She transitioned out of program development when SAFSF spun off from its fiscal sponsor and incorporated as a 501c3 non-profit in 2019.

Bridget has a master’s degree in Environmental Science and Management from the Bren School at the UC Santa Barbara. Prior to working for SAFSF, she led a collaborative network at the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary focused on agriculture’s role in improving water quality along the central coast of California. She also spent three field seasons working for the National Park Service and Forest Service as a biological science technician. She is forever grateful that she got paid to hike and camp in such inspirational environments. Bridget was raised in Montana and Ohio and now resides in Santa Barbara, CA with her partner, where she spends her time doing yoga, fixing things around the house, sewing, riding her electric bike, and enjoying the local wineries.


Proper financial procedures provide the backbone of any solid non-profit institution. From preparing the annual 990 filing to determining when and by what process to tap into reserves, regional associations face common challenges together.

Reserve & Investment Policies
A collection of sample PSO financial policy guidelines for reserve funds and investments. A strong reserve policy safeguards operations in the case of unforeseen financial expense, such as a sudden change in office space rental agreements, and permits the organization to continue to operate during difficult financial times.

Whistleblower Policy Template
A sample whistleblower policy that can be adapted for use by philanthropy-serving organizations.

Sample Consultant Contracts
Sample consultant contracts used by philanthropy-serving organizations.

Human Resources

Associations are only as strong as the staff and members who comprise them. Below are resources cover the best practices to keep staffing easy and staffers happy including employee compensation, benefits, management, hiring, personnel policies, position descriptions, and employee communications.
Every organization should have a conflict of interest policy in place to assure that ethical standards are being met in all of the organization's interactions. This area provides a number of examples of conflict of interest policies that can be included in an organization's bylaws or employee handbook.
Sample employee handbooks and manuals from philanthropy-serving organizations.
The Forum collects sample job descriptions and position advertisements for regional association staff. If you would like to contribute a sample document, please email Courtney Moore.
View sample staff evaluation and self-appraisal forms for philanthropy-serving organizations.
Telecommuting Policies
Telecommunications is allowing an increasing number of organizations to efficiently operate in ways that previously could only be accomplished in person. The potential impact of this shift in work is financial, social, cultural, and environmental.
Maternity/Paternity Leave Policies
Sample maternity and/or parternity leave policies at philanthropy-serving organizations. 

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning can help regional associations meet the current and future needs of the foundations they serve. Yet to be successful, a strategic plan must provide concrete goals and realistic deadlines for meeting them. The Forum provides guides and sample documents to help direct the process of creating a strategic plan including SWOT analyses, presentations to the board, and planning memos.


Governance includes every aspect of the board’s roles and responsibilities, from legal and financial responsibilities to how meetings and committees are run to relationships between the board and staff members.  It also covers policies that help guide the organization such as: guiding principles, conflict of interest polices, and mission and values statements.

Board Diversity Assessment
A template to analyze regional association board diversity by grantmaker age, gender, race, type, category, and region.

Plan of Inclusivity for the Board of Directors and Committees
Sample inclusivity plan for board and committee members from the Minnesota Council on Foundations.

Board Self-assessment
Hiring an outside board development consultant can be expensive and doesn't always fit within an organization's timeline for decisions. Over the years, regional associations have developed a number of tools for board members to self-evaluate their efficiency, assigned roles, and productivity.

PSO Board and Committee Descriptions
Sample documents regarding regional association committees, including committee descriptions, scope of responsibilities, and term limits.

Affinity Group Policies
Sample documents regarding policies regarding funder working groups and affinity groups

Board Dashboards
Sample visuals used by RAs to report on metrics to boards including member engagement, programs, and services.

Supplier Diversity Policies
Some organizations are beginning to create policies that increase underrepresented groups providing goods or services to their organization. Sample vendor diversity policies are available from philanthropy-serving organizations.

Organizational Policy and Guideline Review
Written policies and schedules for philanthropy-serving organizations to conduct a periodic review of board approved policies to make sure they are still current and relevant.

Bylaws are like your organization's operating manual and include rules around topics like the size of your board, roles and duties of directors and officers, process for electing directors, etc. Sample bylaws are available from regional philanthropy-serving organizations


The business of philanthropy-serving organizations is a business of partnerships. Building connections in our local communities and working together to create better outcomes for grantmakers can only be accomplished by working collaboratively. PSOs are natural conveners for thier members on many issues based on funding area, geography, or professional role.

Guide to Collaborative Philanthropy
San Diego Grantmakers' Guide to Collaborative Philanthropy describes how they help their members efficiently and effectively form and sustain collaborations. It is based on best practices identified from published research as well as interviews with members, regional associations of grantmakers, foundations, and consultants across the nation.

Collaborative Philanthropy Playbook
Minnesota Council on Foundation's playbook for its members on its collaborative philanthropy model. It includes an overview of MCF’s collaborative philanthropy model; one-pagers about each component of the model; planning templates and guides for starting a network, working group or collaboration; other ways MCF can support peer learning and networking through program partnerships and a quick-start guide for its online community “The Hub.”

Co-Creation: Viewing Partnerships Through A New Lens
"Co-Creation" is a case study about the Connecticut Early Childhood Funder Collaborative, a project of the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy. The case study examines co-creation, an emerging systems change collaboration model which grew out of a funder-and-state partnership. The companion piece, "Taking on New Roles to Address 21st Century Problems," looks at co-creation from the perspective of a regional association of grantmakers.