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Effective management of human resources is essential for achieving successful organizational success. Nonprofits adopt and follow fair and equitable human resource and volunteer management practices to attract and retain qualified individuals. Nonprofits must adhere to all legal employment practices and provide a safe work environment. Nonprofit organizations establish specific policies and practices that promote mutual cooperation to advance the organization’s interests and that reflect appropriate industry standards for remuneration.


  • Legal Practices are legally required of all Montana nonprofits
  • Essential Practices are widely recognized as industry standards and generally expected of all nonprofits
  • Recommended Practices should be considered by all nonprofits, with implementation dependent on capacity and life stage


Additional legal, essential and recommended Employee and Volunteer can be found in the Montana Nonprofit Association’s Resource Library. 


  1. ★★★A nonprofit must comply with all local, state, and federal employment laws in hiring and employing personnel. MT, US
  2. ★★★ A nonprofit and its board of directors must establish and abide by an encompassing equal opportunity employment policy. US
  3. ★★ A nonprofit aspires to expand these protections to reflect an inclusive environment for staff, volunteers, and constituents to deliberately reflect the diversity of the community. A nonprofit upholds the inherent dignity of all individuals and sets a tone for all individuals to be treated fairly and with respect.
  4. ★★★ A nonprofit’s board of directors or its designees must set reasonable compensation for the organization’s chief executive; such compensation includes salary, raises, bonuses, and other benefits. Also in “Governance”, US
  5. ★★ The board of directors determines that the compensation is reasonable based on comparable data and reflects the chief executive’s qualifications and performance prior to approving and paying the compensation. Any board members with a conflict of interest in the decision recuse themselves. The basis for the board’s determination, the recusals, and approval is promptly documented in board minutes. They also stay informed about the compensation of other key personnel. Also in “Governance”
  6. ★★★ A nonprofit must establish its compensation structure to ensure all individuals are given equal pay for equal work. US
  7. ★★★ A nonprofit must determine the status of any individual providing services in return for compensation (employee or independent contractor as defined by federal and state law), and timely pay and withhold all applicable state and federal employment taxes. MT, US
  8. ★ A nonprofit uses the skills of individuals—employees or volunteers—who are suited for the positions they occupy and who are committed to the goals, values, and objectives of the organization.
  9. ★ A nonprofit strives to employ staff and use the abilities and talents of volunteers who reflect the diversity of the community and the constituents it serves and aspires to serve, as appropriate to advance program effectiveness.
  10. ★★ A nonprofit has a formal orientation program for new employees. It includes, at a minimum, the history and mission of the organization, personnel policies and procedures, criteria for standards of performance, and all state and federally mandated employee training programs. Similar practices are implemented for volunteers.
  11. ★ A nonprofit also supports the education and professional development of personnel and provides employees with opportunities for growth and advancement. 
  12. ★ A nonprofit encourages and provides opportunities for professional development training on cultural competency, diversity, and inclusion for staff, volunteers, and board members; provides mentoring that affirms individuality; and manages toward inclusion.
  13. ★★ A nonprofit provides employees with clear, current job descriptions and the tools needed to produce quality work. Similar practices are implemented for volunteers. These position descriptions reflect and state the nondiscrimination policy of the organization.
  14. ★★ In addition to ongoing consistent dialogue with staff, a nonprofit annually evaluates the job performance of staff, provides guidance, and articulates goals, objectives and expectations; it also provides clear and equitable procedures for taking disciplinary action.
  15. ★ A nonprofit has a system in place for the succession of employees, separate from a transition plan, most notably for the chief executive and key board leadership.

  17. ★★ A nonprofit adopts a set of specific policies and procedures for employees and another for volunteers.
  18. ★★ A nonprofit maintains a personnel file with a separate secure file with any medical information for each employee. 
  19. ★★★ A nonprofit must establish employee record(s) retention policies and procedures that are consistent with applicable laws. MT, US
  20. ★★ A nonprofit also establishes employee record(s) retention policies and procedures that are consistent with best industry and subsectors practices. 
  21. ★★★ When required, nonprofits must conduct and use background checks for certain positions in compliance with state and federal law. MT, US.
  22. ★★ In addition, nonprofits conduct background checks on staff and volunteers who come in contact with vulnerable populations, who perform financial duties, or who serve in other sensitive areas in addition to what is required by law.
  23. ★★★ Nonprofits must provide a safe work environment that is free from illegal discrimination and harassment. MT, US
  24. ★★ A nonprofit provides a healthy and affirming work environment as well.
  25. ★★★ A nonprofit defines employment as “at-will” during the defined probationary period. If an employer does not establish a specific probationary period or provide that there is no probationary period prior to or at the time of hire, there is a probationary period of 6 months from the date of hire. Upon completion of the defined probationary period, a nonprofit must demonstrate “good cause,” as outlined in state law, to legally terminate employment. MT