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Operations & Administration

Regardless of the organization type or the programs, products and services offered, all businesses and organizations have some basic Operations & Administration needs. In this module, we’ll go through each of the six (6) main Operations and Administration components. 

These include:

  • General administrative items such as a phone number and open hours; 
  • Staffing or volunteers;
  • Financial and accounting considerations;
  • Fundraising and sales; 
  • Marketing; and
  • Press relations. 

The Build & Create Section also includes prompts for filing with the Secretary of State and obtaining the organization’s EIN.

General Administration

General administration refers to the basic daily operational tasks needed for any organization. Here, we focus on how people connect with the organization, and how those communications are managed. This includes making sure there is a:

  • Phone number;
  • Mailing address and/or physical address;
  • Email address;
  • Hours of Operation; and 
  • Website URL.

In addition, it’s important to have clearly defined processes for who will be responsible for answering the phone, checking the mail, responding to emails and managing any in-person open hours. 

Human Resources

Whether it’s a large operation or a sole proprietor type of business, all businesses and organizations need to have a clear vision of what roles, responsibilities and tasks are needed to accomplish the mission. Equally as important, names or titles that clearly reflect the responsibilities of the position are important. Developing a Human Resources Plan helps to determine the best staffing structure to accomplish the organization’s goals. Staffing can range from full time staff and part-time staff to independent contractors and full or part-time volunteers.

In addition, advisory or programmatic committees and task forces can also be a part of staffing structures. These structures are useful when diverse skills sets and ideas are needed to accomplish a task. For example, an events committee might be responsible for putting on an annual event. Committees tend to be longer term, and have a broad focus for on-going or annual activities, while a Task Force is often used to complete a certain task and then disband. 

Having a clear job description for staff, contractors, volunteers, committees and task forces ensures expectations and responsibilities are clear to all involved. 

Budget, Finance and Accounting

Finance and Accounting

Businesses and organizations also need to have some basic financial policies in place that determine who can sign checks and pay bills, and who can receive income and deposit funds into the bank account. At least two positions checking the bank account helps to ensure everyone is protected. This might include the President or CEO and the Treasurer. In a sole proprietorship or single person LLC, this might include a hired accountant. When it comes to planning finances and accounting policies, this is where organizations also need to have their EIN, state filings and 501(c)3 (if applicable) in place. 


In addition to financial and accounting policies and procedures, businesses and organizations establish an annual operating budget that clearly outlines planned income and expenses for the organization. It can be helpful to break the budget down into two parts that follow the same structure of the organization: 

  • Governance, Operations & Administration (Overhead); and
  • Programs, Products and Services.

This helps to easily see what’s needed for “overhead” as opposed to what’s needed for the programs, products and services. 

NOTE: It’s always important for small business owners, entrepreneurs and sole proprietors to include a salary for themselves as part of the budget. 

Fundraising & Revenue

It’s important to have a clear strategy to raise money and meet the income budget goals. A fundraising or sales and revenue plan helps to provide clarity and guidance about how those goals will be met by laying out tasks, timelines, responsible parties, and anticipated results. Remember, fundraising and/or sales strategies are actions with the specific intended result of securing revenue, not just marketing or raising awareness.

Marketing & Outreach

Regardless of the organization type, the basics for an organization’s marketing and outreach needs include the logo, tagline, website address, and basic general outreach strategies, such a handing out brochures and business cards, or hanging posters and flyers. 

NOTE: When it comes to marketing and branding, make sure your logo looks good in color and black and white, as well as printed and online. In addition, when selecting your desired website address be sure to consider how the words or initials look when they’re combined together. For example, The Best Association Ever should carefully consider their abbreviations and word combinations. 

Media & Press

Finally, when it comes to Operations and Administration, it’s important to have clear policies related to media and press. This specifically includes identifying the authorized spokesperson(s), and how press inquiries are handled. Remember, a press release is a great (and free!) way to build relationships with reporters and the community on behalf of your business or organization. Even if the press release doesn’t get picked up, it’s a great way to communicate with your own constituents through your email channels, social media accounts or website. 

Build & Create

In this section, you can start building (or reviewing) the nuts and bolts of your business or organization. You can also use the Integrity Check and Knowledge Review to make sure you’ve gotten down the basics. 

Step 1: General Administration Worksheet

Review or complete the general administration worksheet .

General Admin Worksheet

Step 2: Human Resources Planning Worksheet

Review or complete the Human Resources Planning worksheet. Review or complete the key primary job descriptions for staff and/or volunteers.

HR Planning Worksheet

Job Description Template

Step 3: Financial Policies, EIN and State Filings, Budget

Review or complete the financial policies worksheet. Review or complete the budget. 

Financial Policies Worksheet

Budget Worksheet

Step 4: Fundraising/Sales/Revenue Planning Worksheet

Review or complete your Fundraising/Sales/Revenue Plan.  

Fundraising/Sales Plan

Step 5: Marketing & Outreach Worksheets

Review or complete the Marketing Worksheet and the Outreach Plan worksheet. 

Marketing Worksheet

Outreach Plan Worksheet

Step 6: Press Policy

Review or complete the Press Policy worksheet.

Press Worksheet

Integrity Check

Next: Programs, Products & Services