We have all seen those two types of people, at home and at work. The cleaners vs. the savers. In the office the time you MUST keep things sometimes clashes with the space you have to keep them longer term. Here are some suggestions for how long to keep things, from regulations that vary based on the type of item it is. You can use this to develop your own document retention schedule.
- You are required to keep financial and program records 5 years, but we suggest 7 years. This includes the backup documentation for payments you’ve made.
- If you have any pending complaints or law suits you must keep related information for at least one year after the issue is resolved and all appeals exhausted.
- Anything you use to show delivery of services — I & R logs, Consumer Services Records — should be kept five years; but if you have a consumer data base there is no reason to delete the record.
- Also if you keep electronic records they must be accessible – not just stored. If you are asked to produce the board minutes showing the board approved a key purchase or policy, can you find it?
- We suggest you keep all your original organizational documents – Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws (each change), 501(c)3 letter from IRS, 990 forms, and anything of historical value when you hit your 40th Anniversary as a Center.
- Board meeting minutes with handouts going back 5 years including E.D. Evaluations or other decisions that happened in executive session. (If you aren’t confirming executive session decisions in the open meetings you should address that.)
- Keep another two years of minutes only, without all the handouts.
- Broken or obsolete equipment can be discarded — you just need to keep track of how you have disposed of it.