One of the many realities that non-profit organizations face is the bulk of documents in their filing system. You have your proposals, certificates of grants, invoices, and drafts of letters stored away in your cabinets and virtual fires. On top of that, you will also need to deal with other physical assets, such as pictures, newspapers, and magazines, which are essential for documenting your projects and monitoring the number of mentions your organization has.
You need to understand that a disorganized filing system can affect your business negatively. You may not be able to find that document from five years ago, and you may lose important invoices, which your partners need. With this in mind, it is only right that you invest in improving the organization’s archiving system.
This is something that you may find quite challenging, especially if you don’t have a centralized location in the first place. Nevertheless, here are some of the things to get you started:
Set up a centralized file location
One of the main purposes of archiving and documentation is to make sure that files are easy to find and access. So the first thing you need to do is establish a location where files can be stored and accessed. For instance, you can have a common cabinet in your office or a common folder in the organization’s computer system. To make sure that each file is easy to find and access, you may want to organize your items in folders. Just make sure that the folder system works well with your organization’s workflow.
Start a naming system or convention
Archived files are easy to find and access when you use a consistent naming system. After establishing it, you will need to stick to it. Make sure that everyone in the team that stores and accesses the folders know these naming guidelines. Having this system in place will help avoid duplicating files, which can confuse down the road. Obviously, your naming system should be straightforward to make sure that your team members can follow it easily. One thing you may want to consider in this area is to always include the date in the filing format so that you can find the files in case you’re looking for a specific document created on a specific day.
The future will always be uncertain, which is why you need to protect your organization. In this regard, one of the best things that you can do is to create backups. Doing this will ensure the continuity of your business in case something unexpected happens. Always back up your files locally or using an online drive. Better yet, do both. You will need to make creating back-ups a habit. When it comes to this, consider getting a company specializing in office back-up files.
Add a layer of security
Archiving is not just about collating files and storing them away. You will also need to make sure that they are protected from hackers and thieves. For your physical files, you may use cabinets and shelves with locks. Essential files can be kept in a safe or in a self-storage area. Your virtual file cabinets, on the other hand, should have strong passwords. The same should also apply to all the devices used within your organization – from computers to smartphones.
Make things work
Archiving may seem like a menial job, but you have to acknowledge its importance. You need to realize that businesses and charities run on data, whether old or new, as it helps leaders come up with practical decisions. So if you think your archiving system is quite lax, now’s the time to upgrade it.