POLICY SERIES WEBINAR ~ MARCH 25, 2008
JESSICA BRODEY: Today we're going to be going over

organizational structure, governance, and insurance. And

in many of these (inaudible) . . .

When we're talking about policies and procedures,

these are very high-level things that you'll be developing.

It is not necessarily the nitty-gritty that we'll get to

later on as we move on to other topics.

Tom, if you could go to the first slide, please, I

would appreciate it.

So one of the first questions that comes to

everyone's mind is, why do we care about policies and

procedures? We're doing just fine without them. We're

able to go step by step, and we have our business, and it's

working just fine. So what about policies and procedures?

Well, one reason policies and procedures are

important is that they really are a means to mitigate your

liability.

If you have a set of actions that are approved that

you have determined are the safe way to proceed, and you do

things in accordance with your policies and procedures,

this really does give you some level of care and

protection. If something goes wrong, if there's a lawsuit

later, you can say, "We did everything possible. We took

all of these steps," et cetera.

By the same token, if you have written policies and

procedures and you're known to consistently diverge from

them, that's also something that can be used against you

because you did something not in accordance with your

policies and procedures.

Another thing that's important about policies and

procedures is that they provide a structure to insure

practices are performed appropriately. Think of this as

sort of your best practice guide. They are really meant to

structure your practices so that things are being done in

the best possible way.

When you don't take the time to sit down and write

out the steps and write out the processes that you'd like

to see happen, people have a tendency to really operate off

the cuff.

And when you operate off the cuff . . . (audio

skip) . . . made sure that that's really the way to do

something. It can be inefficient. It can be expensive.

It can also be just flat-out wrong. And then the ability

to duplicate that over and over again becomes difficult.

And again, it's a safeguard to avoid mistakes. If

you're operating off the cuff, you're more likely to make a

big mistake, to forget something, to lose a paper, to

process something improperly.

And again, policies and procedures can also be your

guidelines for accountability. If you have employees that

are difficult and not doing their job, your policies and

procedures are a measure against what -- against which you

can measure them and say, "I'm sorry. You're falling short

here. You need to do these three things. And if you

don't, we're going to have to terminate you."

It's also a way that you can use that to give merit

assessments and evaluations for employees. You did all of

these things and, in fact, you went above and beyond the

call. Kudos to you.

And then finally it really does help with

continuity. Some of you have turnover, or you just have

people that retire, or you have one or two people that

really know the ins and outs of how things work.

And if that person gets sick or can't make it in or

disappears or just decides to move on to another job, the

transition from that person into another person is

difficult if all of the policies and procedures and basic

ways things are being done aren't written down somewhere.

Tom, next slide, please.

And if any of you have questions along the way,

please feel free to type them in the public-chat area, and

I'll address them.

One of the things that we think might be a little

confusing is, we keep throwing around these terms

"policies" and "procedures." And what do we mean by them?

When we talk about policies, we really mean

high-level guidelines. It's a plan of action to guide

decisions and actions. So it's not your specific

step-by-step, but it's really your metric by how things

should be done.

It sets out your ground rules for effective

interactions. It covers these high-risk areas. Policies

are . . . (audio skip) . . . accepted, well-defined norms

and standards of practice. Norms and standards articulate

what is done, who is served, and what resources are needed.

So your policies and procedures might talk to you

about how you go about getting assistive technology to

reutilize and the fact that they should be sanitized and

all of these things.

But your procedures then are your specifics about

how, in fact, you do the sanitization step by step.

Next slide, please.

Next slide is about defining procedures.

Procedures delineate the processes and activities

necessary to implement policies. They're essentially your

day-to-day operations. They're your step-by-step. It's

where you specify which brand of cleaner that you buy.

It's where you specify what store you like to buy from

because you have a contract there. Your procedures are

where you specify whether you use FedEx or UPS.

Procedures are usually based on professional

guidelines when they are available. So if you find

professional guidelines out there to sanitize something,

for example, you base your guidelines on that.

But the sanitization guidelines might just say,

"Use in a 2 percent solution of bleach," and your

guidelines might say, "We use brand X, 2 percent solution

of bleach for sanitizing."

Your procedures really just provide your

step-by-step guidance for your basic organizational

activities. Things like client intake, sanitization,

delivery of products, hiring of employees. All of those

things could be exact procedures.

Next slide.

So we often come up with questions about how is it

that we -- Tom, you jumped one ahead. Thank you.

How do we get policies and procedures? Most

policies and procedures should be formal, written documents

that can be used as a reference.

Some things we will be reviewing are foundation

steps and decisions that you must do first before you can

decide what your policies and procedures should cover.

So, for example, we're going to talk about legal

status. It's one of our first categories. And within

legal status, there's less about developing policies and

procedures than filing appropriate documents and developing

certain standards so that you can have that perspective as

you're moving into policies and procedures.

Next slide.

So one thing we promised was to give you a little

bit more information about how you actually write policies

and procedures.

The first thing you should know about them is that

they should be organized. There should be a table of

contents. They should be numbered. Like policies should

be grouped together.

So as we move through these next series of

Webinars, we're going to give you groupings, headings of

different categories and subsets. And this is something

that you could use to come up with your groupings for your

policies and procedures.

I strongly encourage people to use an outline

format when creating policies and procedures. That way you

have a numbering system. You number each new policy

differently. Within each policy, each major paragraph has

a section number as well. And that way you can refer back

to policy No. 4321, paragraph 2A. People know where you're

talking about. It's easy to identify. It's easy to point

out.

All of these policies should be composed in such a

way that you could easily put them in a notebook or a

binder or have them bound. You can distribute them to new

employees. Some people put them on a Web site. You can

also use the Internet.

You can look for companies in your state to really

help you out. You can look for similar corporate

structures and similar services and activities and see if

they've posted their policies and procedures online and use

these as a basis for developing your own.

What I want to do is, I'm going to have Tom click

on this link here. And I'm going to show you a set of

policies and procedures online from a college that is local

to where I live.

And the reason I picked this particular

guideline -- this set of guidelines is, if you look at the

top here, they have different chapters. They have a nice

table of contents. And it tells you -- it's all grouped

together -- what's in each of these things.

The first section is all about the board of trustee

bylaws. The second section is about the organization. The

third section is all about the personnel. The fourth is

about student affairs. The next section is about the

educational program, et cetera, et cetera. It's divided up

very nicely and very clearly.

Then when you go down to Chapter 1, it has two

different policies. And it's got the bylaws, and it has a

particular number. Chapter 2 has Organization, and it has

different numbers for each one.

I'd like to scroll down to Chapter 3, Personnel. I

think that each of you can do it on your page. I'm not

sure if, when Tom does it, it will move for everyone. But

feel free -- on the right there's a little scroll bar.

Scroll down to Chapter 3, Personnel.

And you'll see a whole lot of different policies

here, and each one is numbered sequentially. It starts

with a 3 because it's in Chapter 3, and then it's 1002,

1003, 1004. Each one is numbered sequentially.

And this is the organizational technique that was

chosen for these series of plans. And you can choose your

own numbering system, but this is a very good example of

the way a numbering system can work.

Tom, if you could click on "hate violence

activity." Is it opening up?

Well, you know what? If everyone could click on

their own, the "hate violence activity," and open it up, I

would appreciate that. Give you a chance to kind of look

at an exact -- there it goes. I think it's showing. At

least it's showing on my screen.

And what I like about this is that you can see at

the top there's the number. It tells you what chapter it's

in, what the subject of this policy is. And each little

section has a Roman numeral on the side.

Some of the other policies and procedures are far

more detailed, and they have, you know, a subsection

capital "A" and then a little number 1 and then a little

letter "a." And for each little subarea that you have,

that's how you number it. But this is a very good numbered

organized example of a policy and how policies should look.

And the reason I also encourage you to use the

Internet is you can find other policies and procedures out

there, particularly when they're within your state. And

you may say, "Oh, that's a really good policy to have,"

and, "This has been vetted," and, "We should look at some

of those things." And you can borrow language from those

other policies and procedures.

There are numerous sample human resources policies

and procedures out there on the Internet that you can look

to as a guideline for yourself.

Tom, can we go back to the slide now? I think

we're ready to go into Slide 7.

So the next thing that I really would suggest is

that, as you're sitting down and you're deciding what to

start working on for policies, you're going to pick a

subject area. You're going to decide if you want to start

with personnel or if you want to start with operations or

if you want to start with your facilities. But you're

going to pick a subject area.

For your policies, one good way to start is to

start by writing how things should work; what are the

different components involved in your personnel; what are

the different components involved in your operations

management.

Along the way in our Webinar series, we'll be

giving you suggested categories that you can use and that

you can start from. For each of these categories, you

should start talking about goals.

Thank you, Joy.

You should be talking about what goals should be

included. And Joy asked, "What mix of people should be

involved in developing your policies?" And that's a really

great question.

Sometimes it's just done at the very top. It's the

executive director. It's, you know, the main person in

charge. It's just one person.

However, that's not always the best, particularly

in a small organization. You may want to involve everyone

who's doing different things, particularly at the procedure

level. (audio skipped) . . .

. . . Involved in the direction of your

organization that could be department managers. You may

want a particular manager for a particular set of

operations. Or if you have one person that is in charge of

all of the intake of clients or somebody else who's in

charge of all of the intake of the equipment, or it's the

same person who does both of those changes. That person

would be a really key person to bring into the room.

If you have outside counsel or legal assistance,

it's a good idea always to involve them as well. If you

have some people who are really good with management or

human resources, if they're in your own division or some of

you are placed in other organizations, perhaps you could

borrow someone in there. Those are the types of people you

should involve in the writing.

But again, you really start by writing down how you

think things should work and what your goals are before you

get down to the nitty-gritty of the policies and

procedures.

For procedures, you start writing down how things

actually do work and how they actually should work. And

you give really specific steps for carrying out tasks.

And as Tom had said, the Pass It On Center Web site

is going to have resources, such as sample formats, for

developing policies and procedures. We actually have a

person that's been working on some amazing procedures for a

lot of the different topics we'll been discussing over the

next few months. And those procedures we will be providing

that you may chose to use within your own organization as

. . . (audio skip) . . . that you can implement.

And again, remember the distinction between

policies -- policies are really the high-level overview of

things. So your policy may be "We will have -- we will

collect utilized AT and distribute to people with income of

less than $20,000 per year."

For your procedure, that may be, "We fill out this

client intake for No. 2345. We have to have them come in

in person. We have to have them sign a release. They have

to go through an evaluation."

Those are steps by how you serve them. And so

that's the difference between policies, which kind of set

your guidelines and your big, broad goals, and your

procedures, which talk about the implementation of work.

Next slide, please.

So the first topic I wanted to discuss was within

the context of organizational structure. And the first

area within that is legal status. This is not an example

of something that we think that you need to sit down and

write big policies and procedures about.

However, it is an important issue to consider and

discuss so that you can go ahead and implement your

policies and procedures properly.

You need to ask yourself questions about whether

you are, number one, a legal entity at all. Do you have

the proper licenses to operate in the way that you do?

There are a lot of different legal entities. You

can be a corporation. You could be a limited liability

company. You could be a partnership. You could be a sole

proprietorship.

You can also be a nonincorporated entity. That

just means that you kind of function without having a

technical legal status. But that really means that all the

work that you do is being done by you as an individual

rather than the organizational entity.

If you decide to become a legal entity, you have to

decide if you're for profit or nonprofit. You also have to

look and see if you're eligible for tax-exempt status or to

get a tax identification number.

I see Jimmy Brown is raising a hand. Can you type

up -- the question up, and I can address it, if you were

trying to talk?

It's also important that you select the appropriate

legal entity for the activities that you want to do. So it

may make sense, if all you do as an organization is collect

and donate to another organization, to just function as a

sole proprietorship.

Oh, no problem, Jimmy.

I just realized I missed a question from Joy

before. I'll get back to that in one second.

But selecting the appropriate legal entity for your

activities is really important. So you need to sit down

and decide, what's your risk of exposure? How many people

are involved? Because later on when we get into different

issues, do you -- if you need to get insurance, it's often

easier to insure an organization than an individual. So

what level of protection do you want? At what risk are

your own personal assets?

Joy had previously asked, if an organization had a

legal proceeding, and if you have a written procedure but

no overarching policy, wouldn't the procedure be as good as

a policy?

Yes. You don't necessarily need both policies and

procedures. Sometimes it's appropriate to choose one over

the other. Not every area requires a policy. Not every

area requires a procedure. Some area requires one but not

the other.

Sometimes it's good to have both. It's good to

have sort of these overarching stated goals and then get

down to the nitty-gritty of how you want things to work.

Because it's easier to change the procedures a little bit

more frequently.

So if the procedure this month is, "We fill out

this intake form, and we send out products via Federal

Express," and in three months you get a better contract

from UPS, you can change your procedure to say, "We now use

UPS, not Federal Express."

It's a little bit more difficult often to change

policies because they really govern the whole philosophy of

your organization. So some people sometimes have their

procedures taped up on the wall on little Post-it notes or,

you know, little steps on some secretary's desk about how

to go about doing certain things.

What we're hoping to do is take it from that level

and have you quantify it, write it down in some way that's

much more accessible.

Next slide, please.

The next area that we wanted to get into that

really does require a little bit more with respect to

documents is governance. Governance is about the

operations and administration of your organization. How

does it work? How will it be run?

And one thing that's very important is board

structure. Are you going to have a board? If you have a

board, how many board members should you have? What

positions should there be on the board?

For example, do you want a president, a vice

president, and a treasurer? Do you just want a treasurer

and a secretary? Do you want all of those positions? Do

you want to have a board but no elected positions?

What roles should the board members play? Do the

board members have a very active role? Are they actually

the day-to-day operators of your organization? Or are they

more advisors or just more have to approve or disapprove of

big plans and budgets? What is the role of the board? And

that's something that you should sit down and do.

With respect to what documents you need, when we're

talking about policies and procedures with respect to the

board, these are usually more legal-type documents than the

policies and procedures I was showing you before. Although

you can put a copy of them, like the bylaws, in your

policies and procedures, just like the Montgomery College

policies did.

The one thing that you would need potentially is

articles of incorporation if you're a corporation or

articles of organization if you're an LLC. They're called

different things in different states. But it's the

formation documents.

You're going to want some bylaws that explain how

many people must be present on the board to vote; what --

how long of a term they should serve; how they get elected;

who does the electing and selection of board members? All

of that goes into the bylaws. The discussion that we had

before about positions and roles, that goes into the

bylaws.

You may want to have a vision statement. And we

are going to have some documents that we can share that

give you some information about, how do you write . . .

(audio skip) . . . or a mission statement?

Those things can be very important to your

organization so that when you're trying to explain why you

can or cannot serve a particular group or take on a

particular project or expand in a certain way, you can look

back to your organizational goals, your vision statement,

and assess whether the projects you want to move into

really match up with where your organization wants to go.

Next slide, please.

Now, in addition to the organizational structure,

you have to consider your staffing model. Are you just a

mom-and-pop shop? You're working one or two people out of

the back of a garage, volunteer? If you are, then your

policies and procedures need to reflect that.

Do you have volunteer forms that are signed for

people who are coming in? Do you have a written volunteer

handbook so that the volunteers know what they are or are

not allowed to do? Do you have volunteer commitments that

need to be made? How those volunteers work; what kind of

coverage; what kind of rights they have; what kind of

responsibilities; what permissions they have. All of that

should be written out.

If you, as an organization, are committed to an

all-volunteer force, that could be a policy. You know,

"This organization is managed strictly through volunteer

work. We affiliate with these types of organizations. We

always seek to have a minimum of 'X' number of volunteers

present each day." That's your volunteer process.

Your procedures really are your handbook. What do

volunteers do? How do they go about doing that? It's your

training information. How long do volunteers stay? Under

what grounds does somebody get terminated? Do you need to

do any background checks on these? All of that is your

volunteers policies.

For employee-based organizations, it's very

similar. You have to have a written employee handbook.

What are the different jobs you have? What are the

responsibilities for each of these different employees?

What should employees be doing and shouldn't they be doing?

What are their responsibilities? The more you can write it

out and quantify that, the better off everything really is.

So when we're talking about writing policies and

procedures, let's start from the employee-based. Perhaps

you're an organization, and you have six employees, and the

employees all carry the same title. And in your employee

handbook, you can write down that you will have -- that

these are the positions that you have; these are the tasks

for these positions. "Employees are not allowed to drive

assistive technology to individual's houses, nor are they

allowed to offer -- to drop any clients anywhere in their

own personal car."

A policy could be employee/client intake. It could

be -- just all the ins and outs of what employees are

allowed to do and how they should be doing them.

"Employees must report to work at 9:00 a.m., and they must

stay until 5:00. Employees have the right to a

half-an-hour lunch hour."

These are all things that are really relevant to

the staffing model. "Employees are hired upon the consent

of everyone else working there. At least three people in

the office must interview any new employee."

Whatever your policies and procedures are relating

to that, they should be written down. And if you stop to

think about what your organization does, you first panic,

and you say, "I don't have anything like that written."

But many of you, if you sit down and think about it, you do

have a way of doing things. It just hasn't been written

down.

So what we're asking you to do, in writing policies

and procedures is to start considering what it is that you,

as an organization, do. And the easiest thing to do is to

start looking in these areas and just start writing them

up.

Well, with respect to hiring, what do we do? With

respect to implementation, what do we do? And the things

that should be contained in this employee handbook are

really going to be a smattering of all the other things

that we're going to discuss in future -- in future

Webinars.

So when we talk about facilities management, if an

employee is responsible for managing certain facilities,

those steps and those questions that we'll raise later

would go into the written employee handbook for the person

responsible for facilities management.

So this just tells you that, if you have an

employee, you should have an employee handbook. And the

information that's written in there should come from all

the other sections that we will be discussing in the

future.

Many of you have a hybrid approach. You have some

employees; you have some volunteers. And it is very

important to distinguish responsibilities. There may be,

because of your insurance coverage, some things that

volunteers can do and some things that only employees can

do. And you really need to spell those differences out.

And if you don't know what they are or you've never

considered it, we really strongly urge you to start now.

Next slide, please.

Another area of governance, in addition to your

staffing model and in addition to your board, is an

advisory committee. Do you have an advisory committee? Do

you want an advisory committee?

If you have an advisory committee, the policies

that you'll really need to develop relate to how that

advisory committee is going to work. Policies should

include your selection process for serving on the advisory

committee; the terms of service for the advisors on the

advisory committee; the role, function, and authority of

the advisory committee; the frequency of meeting. Is there

funding for this or a set budget for the advisory

committee? Those are the things that you'll want to put

out there with respect to the advisory committee.

Some of you already have advisory committees, so

it's really just a matter of sitting down and writing this

up. And you may find, "You know, we never really did set

terms. Perhaps we should do that," or, "We don't really

know how this advisory committee came out, but how is it

composed?" "Boy, we only have six representatives from the

blindness community. We could really use some

representatives from other communities. In the future, as

people step off, we'd like to replace them with

representatives from this, this, and that community." And

it gives you a much more organized approach for how you

want your advisory committee to work.

That's correct. Joy pointed out, some people have

advisory committees who also advise a board or board

committee. That's exactly right. When you look at the

role and the function and the authority of your advisory

committee, you should assess, you know, what they're doing.

Are they advising your board? Are they coming in and

advising the employees and the day-to-day administrators?

Are they just providing general advice and evaluation and

community feedback in some other forum? What other role do

they play, and how integral to your organization are they?

And again, Joy's right. This could just be on an

ad hoc or an issue basis. So you could determine that you

do not have a regular advisory committee, but for the

upcoming initiation of project X -- it's a new project that

you're going to deploy -- you may want to bring in an

advisory board to give you feedback about how you deploy

that or to tell you about the effectiveness of something

that you've been doing for the past few years.

Those are all appropriate options for the advisory

committees. And some of you already have them in place.

We're encouraging you to write them up. Some of you have

never considered advisory committees before. It may be

worth . . . (audio skip) . . . engaging in this process.

To stop and think, "Is an advisory committee a good idea

for us in some capacity?"

Next slide, please.

So another area of governance is management. Your

management structure is very key. Some people have a

board, and the board is really the same thing as the people

who run your organization. This is often the case when you

have an all-volunteer organization. The board makes some

big decisions and announces what it wants done, and the

volunteers step up and implement it.

And that's all that you've got. You don't have any

paid, permanent staff or officers that are essentially

employees of the company that have a managerial

responsibility.

Other companies, however, really do have a much

more organized employee structure. And sometimes the

employees just report up to the board. But sometimes the

employees report to officers, that you have a president,

that you have a vice president, or you have the chief

operating officer or the person who's the project head.

That's your management structure. And it's

something that you should consider and write down very

specifics. What role -- if you have both a board and

officers, what role does the board play, what role do the

officers play, to what extent do the officers need to seek

approval from the board, to what extent is there autonomy?

If there are officers, you specify what officers

there are. Often this is done within the bylaws. The

bylaws, in addition to talking about the board, will say,

"The board will appoint a president, a vice president" --

"a president, a vice president, and a secretary," or

whatever it is that is appropriate for your organization.

The board will appoint a chief operating officer, or the

board will appoint a project manager. And that is

specified.

And again, the division of responsibility between

the different officers and between the board is key here

and writing that out so there is no confusion.

Also the staffing management is really critical in

this point. What is the supervisory structure? Who's in

charge? Are there job evaluations and reviews? (Audio

skipped) . . . Happened, how often, is there a formality

there? What is that process? Appeal if you don't like

your reviews.

Just that whole process about the management in

there -- if you want to terminate someone, whose decision

is that? Does the board need to approve it, or can the

chief operating officer or president make that

determination?

Also the services to be provided, the management

and governing -- the governance management people need to

sit down and decide what you, as an organization, want to

engage in; what you should be doing; what services you

should be providing; what are your goals?

This is like the goals that we talked about at the

. . . (audio skip) . . . really might be the nitty-gritty?

What are the parameters for the . . . (audio skip) . . .

that you will be providing? Will you be charging? Will

you be offering it for free? Who do you serve; is it

anyone who walks in the door? What are those services?

And when the next thing that really falls upon the

management and that you need to have passed out are your

standard operating procedures for providing these services?

That's the what, the who, and the how.

And when we talk about policies, we're really

talking about your standard operating procedures, the --

sorry. When we're talking about procedures, we're talking

about your standard operating procedures. It's really the

nitty-gritty, day-to-day, how should you go about doing

your job?

And it is the management who really is ultimately

responsible for ensuring that those standard operating

procedures are in place and are being implemented

appropriately.

Next slide, please.

So the last area that we wanted to cover today --

and we're trying very hard not to throw too much

information at you -- but insurance. There are so many

types of insurance out there. And what you really need to

do is sit down and figure out the first two areas that we

discussed.

Who are you as an organization? What is your legal

entity status? What is your staffing model? And how does

your governance work? And then based on those things, you

can answer some questions about what types of insurance are

appropriate for your organization.

Do you need directors and officers insurance?

Well, if you have a board, and you have directors and

officers, then, yes, you really should get directors and

officers insurance.

If you don't have directors and officers but maybe

you just have a key person, you have one person who's kind

of in charge and running the organization and a whole lot

of volunteers, you may want to insure just that key person.

If you have employees, you'll need insurance for

the actions of your employees. If you have volunteers, you

have to figure out if you want to insure your volunteers or

if your volunteers need to be insured through whatever

organization they volunteer through.

If you have drivers . . . (audio skip) . . . you'll

need driver transportation insurance. Just because your

driver has car insurance, doesn't mean that you are insured

when the driver is transporting something. That's a very

different issue that we'll talk a little bit more in depth

about. But again, it's something to keep in mind.

If you have facilities -- facilities could be your

storage units off-site. Facilities could be the place

where individuals walk in and meet with you and are served,

your clients -- then you need to insure your facilities,

and you need to insure them in two ways.

One is in case something happens to them: a leak,

damage to the facility. It's also to insure the facility

in case something bad happens at the facility. Either an

employee gets injured at the facility; or if you have

clients that come in, if the client walks in and slips and

falls on ice because the front sidewalk wasn't shoveled

properly, you'll need to have proper insurance to insure

that you can take care of that.

Your inventory -- what happens if there's a fire,

if there's a theft, if something happens to your inventory?

Do you have your inventory appropriately insured?

And then again, your activities. What activities

are you engaged in? Are you going out to people's houses

and delivering equipment to them? Are you engaged in

activities where people come into your building? Are you

engaged in activities where you go places and do big

collections? You need to have insurance that appropriately

reflects the activities that you are doing.

We talked about property. Now, a lot of property

is your inventory and your facilities. But you could have

sort of your on-site property and your off-site property.

You can have trucks. You can have big luggage carts for

moving things around. You can have land that you somehow

own that you're building . . . (audio skip) . . . on. So

you want to make sure that your property is insured also as

well.

And then the last thing I really wanted to raise

about insurance -- this is one of those areas that you're

not writing policies and procedures for insurance, but you

are looking to make a determination about acquiring

insurance policies.

And the questions that you need to ask, the

policies that are relevant here are, who are you going to

insure? What groups? What categories of insurance do you

think are important for your organization? What activities

will you insure?

And your activities and your policies must be

consistent with the insurance coverage that you have. So

if you have insurance coverage that refuses to cover you

for transporting any equipment, then you, as an

organization, need to ensure that your policies and

procedures state "No transporting equipment."

If your policies and procedures say that you can't

store anything in a room that doesn't have a lock on it,

then you shouldn't put your equipment in a room that

doesn't have a lock on it, and your policies and procedures

should reflect that.

Next slide, please.

Okay. That's really it for the substance of this

Webinar. That leaves us 45 minutes for answering some

questions. We also have a couple of other documents that

we're going to want to share with you that are some

examples of the more specific next steps and ways that you

can work.

Our next Webinar is called "User Services." It's

going to be May 13th from 2:00 to 3:30. Topics are going

to include client intake, equipment matching, training and

technical assistance, delivery, follow-up, and Web site

operations.

At that one, because it's a little bit -- we'll be

drilling down to the next level. We will have sample

policies for Web sites and procedures for those things. We

will have some of these other, you know, policies and

procedures, perhaps, for client intakes. So we will give

you specific examples of policies and procedures then.

This one we were trying to focus on how you start

the process of writing. But many of these topics were

abstract because both insurance and the legal status,

organizational structure issues are a step back. They're

not really about developing policies and procedures.

They're about making decisions, structured decisions, so

that, when it's time to write policies and procedures, you

have a basis for doing that.

I'm going to open it up to questions and actually

perhaps turn it over to Joy if you want to show the next --

that document that we had discussed.

JOY KNISKERN: Yes. We can certainly do that. And

what I would like to suggest is that we certainly want

to -- you know, before we get to that document, maybe have

some questions and answers.

And I know -- as you were going through all of

this, Jessica, I know perhaps for many of you just going

through all this can seem very daunting. And I know, when

we've talked with individual programs, what we've learned

is oftentimes a person will say, "Well, we don't really

have policies, but we have some operational guidelines that

we use," or, "We use a form to do X, Y, Z, and this is what

we use for a person in our program to sign off on the piece

of equipment they're taking home."

And so I know that everybody out there, you

probably have documents, as Jessica had mentioned earlier,

that you're already using. And so what our hope is is that

you can take a step back and look at what's been presented

and say, "Okay. What -- you know, of all of this, where do

I need to do the most shoring up?"

And as you go through that process, we'd like to

invite you to -- if you're developing a policy or

procedure, to share that with us, to share it with Jessica.

We'd be more than happy to work with you on a piece that

you are already developing or sit down and work on and then

help you shape some of those things.

So with that, I'd like to first see if anybody else

has some comments and also to hear from some of you about

perhaps some of the policies or operational guidelines that

you've developed.

JESSICA BRODEY: Complete silence. That means that

you all are so confused that you have no idea what to ask,

or I did . . . (audio skip) . . . that I've answered every

question.

Any comments on which of the two categories you

guys are falling into?

JOY KNISKERN: Let's see. I know, as you were

going through your information, Jessica, one of the things

that occurred to me is that, if -- I think there are many

of us, for instance, that work with kids in our various

programs. We'll distribute equipment to parents and, in

some cases, to teachers or providers who are working with

kids.

And when you talked about background checks, I know

that one of the things in our state contracts that we ran

into is that for any state contracts we require background

checks. And one of the things that we began to think of

was, "Does that mean that, with the people with whom we

subcontract, we should tighten things up a little bit in

our contracts and suggest that, if they do use volunteers,

that they go through appropriate background checks, maybe

even fingerprinting or something like that?"

Any other -- any comments, questions?

JESSICA BRODEY: Well, until somebody poses a

question, Joy, I want to pick up on something else you had

said.

You talked about how many organizations are already

using documents. And a lot of you already have ways of

doing things. We're trying to encourage you to figure out

how to really articulate what those steps are.

If you have a form that you use to sign off on

getting a piece of AT somewhere, and you know that it has

to go through three people and get a signature before you

can get that AT out, that's your policy right there.

That's actually -- it's your procedure.

And your procedure could be called "Distribution of

AT." Step one, get this form. Step two, fill it out.

Step three, have these three people sign off on it. You

can mention them by title. You can mention them by name if

that's what appropriate. If it's any three people in the

office, that's fine. But you spell that part out.

Step four, what do you do with the form after it's

been filled out? Turn it back in to so and so. Step five

is file it. Save it for this particular record. Step six

is, you know, set up a meeting to distribute the equipment.

Many of you have these things that you already

innately know how they're working. And you think, "Well,

if we know how to do it, why do we need to write it down?"

Because today you know how to do it, but somebody else

could come in tomorrow and take over, and they won't know

how to do it.

It also matters because sometimes you write it out,

and you look at this, and you say, "Boy, there's 53 steps

just to do this simple thing. Is there an easier way to do

it?" And it may help you improve your own internal

efficiency. It may also help you find some shortcomings in

your process.

"You know, as we wrote it up, we notice that we

never file these forms. Even though we fill them out, they

all end up in the garbage." That's a problem with your

policies and procedures.

So if you write them up, you then add a new line

about how it should be filed. And you then have a new

responsibility for somebody to take charge of that filing.

How many people know their legal status as an

entity? Are you incorporated? How many people actually

know the answer to that and have that question resolved?

JOY KNISKERN: And we welcome you to either type it

in or, if you've got a microphone that's working, just jump

right in.

JESSICA BRODEY: Sarah wrote that, as a

subcontractor, she's unsure how to deal with this issue.

That's a really good point. So just to understand, are you

a subcontractor for the state on a particular project? Is

that what it is? If you could confirm.

And then Debbie and Jean from Kentucky wrote that

they're incorporated, nonprofit.

So, Sarah, I'm going to wait until you respond.

But just to kind of talk about that, if you as a

subcontractor are a company, that's your legal status. You

are a subcontractor yourself. If you're just an individual

that's being paid by the state -- so, okay, you're a

subcontractor with the U of I, and you're a center for

independent living, your organization, the entity that

holds the contract.

Is the entity that holds the subcontract a

corporation, or are you just a person, a sole

proprietorship?

Okay. So you're a nonprofit 501(c)(3), which means

that you're an incorporated entity. That's good because

being incorporated gives you a whole level of protection.

And then your function is to -- you have a subcontract that

you are implementing.

So you've already got your legal status set. You

know as you move forward that you are a 501(c)(3). So this

is a good example. Do you have a board of directors or

not?

So you do have a board of directors. So again,

when you're . . . (audio skip) . . . about things, you know

that you're a corporation who's a nonprofit that has a

board of directors, and your mission and your goal is, at

least on one level, to implement this subcontract. You may

have other things that you do as well, but one of those

things that you'll be considering is implementing this

subcontract that you have.

Now, on your board do you already have all of your

officers set and bylaws written? I'm going to keep talking

because I haven't seen an answer yet.

In most cases -- oh, here we go. "Yes, but the AT

project is new, and they haven't really been involved in

it." Okay. Great.

So then the first thing is -- it might be worth it

to go and look at the board of directors and figure out if

the AT project (inaudible) fits in with the bylaws that you

have in existence, or do the bylaws need to be amended in

some way to consider the AT project and how that management

is going to work?

And it just takes review of the existing bylaws to

see how those things fit together. But you already have a

really great structure in place that you can kind of pick

up from. So those are a few less steps that you have to

take.

Now, do you have somebody in particular that is in

charge of just the AT project part? I'm assuming that you

do. It's either going to be an officer or a project

manager. That could go into the bylaws that there is this

AT project and that it's run by so and so.

And you may want to clarify your role with respect

to the management and how you interplay and report back to

the board what your obligations are there between you and

the board. That's an example of how you may want to amend

your bylaws and talk to them about it.

In the absence of that, then you have your set of

policies and procedures, and you look to the bylaws that

are already in existence for the rest of the organization.

And everything that you do after that needs to be

consistent with the existing bylaws. No conflicts there.

And you can also publicly look to other arms of the

organization. And if they have employment policies, if

they have all of these other things, you don't need to

reinvent the wheel. You can adopt what they already have

and just apply them to your organization as well and to

your little project as well.

And, in fact, many of those things may already be

covering you. So these are -- as you're moving forward,

these are a lot of questions that you wouldn't have to

answer. But finding out how your project, what you do,

fits into the bigger organizational structure is what's

key.

And where you'll be . . . (audio skip) . . . and

having to take charge and taking responsibility or writing

new policies and procedures will probably be in the topics

that we'll be covering next week: your client intake,

equipment matching, training, technical assistance,

delivery, follow-up, Web site operations. Because those

things are going to be unique to your project.

So many of you could be in similar situations where

you already have a structure behind you. You're part of a

church organization. You're part of a state organization.

You're part of a university. You have a subcontract. You

already are a 501(c)(3). You're part of an organization

that has nine other projects.

So when we talk about legal status, you don't have

to change your legal status. It's sometimes just knowing

what your legal status is. So that you know, okay, we're a

nonprofit. We're incorporated. We already have bylaws.

We already have officers. How does that affect us? How do

these things work together? Has our project . . . (audio

skip) . . . in those things.

So that's the kind of thing that we're asking you

to consider at this level. And we intentionally started

with very high-level topics because we're hoping that many

of you will say, "Oh, great. Been there. Done that.

We've accomplished something. Check."

And for those of you that haven't, well, you have

to start with these big nebulous issues first in order to

be able to burrow down and get to the day-to-day

operations.

If you don't know your legal status, then how can

you figure out how to work day to day because you don't

know what your liability is for different things. You

don't know what you are or are not permitted to do.

So we're kind of starting at the 360-foot overview

level. And we're burrowing down step by step. And I hope

that that helps some of you who are maybe in a similar

situation as Sarah.

JOY KNISKERN: Thank you, Jessica. And I see that

Sarah's got one more question, and then I can make a

comment, and we'll move on. Let's see what Sarah says.

"Is it appropriate to change the bylaws if this is

a demonstration grant subcontract?" Good comment.

Jessica, would you like to comment on that?

JESSICA BRODEY: It may be. I mean it may be that

the bylaws already say that any subgrants will be managed

by the grant manager, or whatever your official title is,

and that you don't want to specify this particular grant

because that money could go away in a few years, and so

it's too difficult to have to keep changing.

But you want to look to the bylaws and figure out

how and to what extent they cover you. And if they don't,

then getting appropriate language in that addresses where

you fit in, even if it's not necessarily specific to your

project.

Because, in the future, there are likely to be

other subcontracts that your organization does. And if

it's not this one, it will be some other one. So then you

can write very broad statements and change the bylaws so

that any future subcontract would be appropriately covered.

JOY KNISKERN: And I would agree with that. And

also, many of the demonstration grant subcontracts, if

they're federal subcontracts, you know, part of the goal is

certainly sustainability. So the whole point, I think, of

working on some of these things is to give you a foundation

where you can have more stability with your programs.

And if you even look at some of the information

that Jessica presented, for instance about volunteers, many

of us use lots and lots of volunteers. And we know that

that can be both a blessing, and it can also be a hurdle

when you lose volunteers and you have to replace them and

retrain them and so on.

And, of course, you're always going to have to go

through that process, for example, of -- in just that one

area, working with new volunteers and training them. But

if you've got some written procedures, some documented ways

that you do business, then that's -- it's kind of like the

80/20 rule, 80 percent of your problems are caused by 20

percent of the things that you may or may not have done

that you wish you had done in hindsight.

So I think the other thing I would like to mention

here is that we have certainly a very mixed and diverse

audience today. We have somebody -- people representing

manufacturers and suppliers, I know. And we also have

state AT programs that are operating reutilization model

programs and other individuals as well.

And I know that, from a state AT program, one of

the things we have to be concerned about is developing

subcontracts, if we're subcontracting, contracting out our

work, that is, you know, pretty solid stuff. And then

those subcontractors are the ones who are really in the

day-to-day work often of doing the business of reutilizing

products and equipment.

And so really, you know, if you're a demonstration

program or operating a reuse program as an IL center or

another nonprofit, then I think the challenge for you is to

take a look at this stuff and say, "Okay. What do we need

to develop to make sure our program is safe and stable and

sustainable in these basic sort of foundation pieces?"

TOM PATTERSON: Thanks, Joy.

Jessica, I was wondering if you could link what

you've been talking about today back to the first Webinar

in the series. And I think there really is a connection.

And if you could clarify that, I would appreciate it.

JESSICA BRODEY: By the first Webinar, do you mean

the FDA, Tom?

TOM PATTERSON: Well, yes, in the sense of relating

the concept of policies and procedures with the overall

subject of liability.

JESSICA BRODEY: Okay. And this is what I was

talking about, I think, on one of the first slides. I

don't remember which of the early slides.

But there are so many reasons why policies and

procedures are important. And they really do help to

mitigate liability. You're at risk for liability when

there is anything that's unknown. And the best thing that

you can do to try and limit or mitigate your liability is

to provide a set of good practices and guidelines that --

for carrying out activities and doing your best to ensure

that the actions that you engage in are consistent with

those policies and procedures.

And we encourage this because, as I was saying in

the beginning, if you're acting off the cuff, without

thought, without planning, if you're doing something on the

fly, that's when you are most likely to make a mistake.

And when mistakes happen is when liability comes in.

So part of this is about creating just good

practices to ensure that you are less likely to make any

mistakes. If you have good practices, then bad things are

less likely to happen.

Also, if you have good practices and you plan

things out in advance, then you are in a much better place

to protect yourself. You can say, "You know what? We've

thought about this. We planned accordingly. We've been

doing it this way since this thing happened. And it was

really beyond our control. It was not a sign of negligence

because we were being careful."

It gives you a level of defense to show that there

was forethought and that you were taking care. And that's

why I think it is so critical.

There's a question from Sarah about, "As a

subcontractor, are we to write the policies and procedures,

or is it just to talk it over with your grant receiver?"

But I do think that because -- it depends on how

much authority they're giving you. If they've essentially

turned over the whole project to you for implementation and

for execution, then I think it is within your right to

develop policies and procedures about how you will be

operating things.

And it may be that you develop them and then need

to get them approved or confirmed by your grantor. But, in

general, the likelihood is that most of the day-to-day

decisions are being left to you with their approval. So

this is one of those examples of things that you can come

up with for how you are going to operate.

And there may be (audio skipped) to high level that

are really beyond your capacity and that you can go and

turn around and ask the grantor, "What do you think about

this? What's your position on this? Can you develop

positions on that?" And that's fair.

Not everything that we will talk about in the next

few Webinars will be an important policy or procedure for

every person to do. Sometimes it is not applicable to a

particular situation.

Joy asks -- or Joy wrote two things about, number

one, the good practices, how you treat customers from A to

Z. That again applies to how that minimizes liability, I

think. And talking about and developing the policies and

procedures. I think this was in response to Sarah, that a

collaborative process is usually best.

Sorry, Joy. Just to jump back in, can we get to

that other document that we might want to put up at some

point? I think that that might be a good help for people

kind of in their heads to determine how it is that they

want to move forward.

JOY KNISKERN: Yes, we'll be getting that document

up in just a moment.

And I think that -- Sarah, I hope this has helped

you get a picture of, you know, how to best move forward.

And, as I mentioned, I think it's really a collaborative

process certainly in your case and in many cases the best

way to go because you're working directly with people in

the field, and you're going to have a different idea or

perhaps a different vision of how things might work best

and, for instance, just the kinds of equipment that

wouldn't do you much good to accept in donations to be real

specific about it.

You're going to have a better idea as the kinds of

things that the people are asking you for, the types of

equipment. And that would translate into what you develop

perhaps in procedures and some policies about the kind of

donations that you would or wouldn't accept, things like

that.

And so I'm going to turn this over to Jessica

again. We've got another resource up here for you to take

a look at.

JESSICA BRODEY: Thanks, Joy.

Now, this document was created by another

subcontractor with the Pass It On Center. And her name is

Trish Redmon. And she has done a lot of really great work.

She's going to be doing a lot for the upcoming Webinars to

help with sort of your sample procedures, the really

nitty-gritty of how do you do things. She's really working

on trying to develop some of those and put out some of the

best practices for everybody.

What I thought was interesting is she took the

concepts that we were talking about today, and she put it

into a document to sort of spell out the approach that you

might want to take in going ahead.

So for the overview, she put "Get started, define

activities, and make decisions before an organization

exists, which really is (inaudible) . . . State and federal

law considering organizational status, choose profit or

nonprofit status, identify steps --

Sarah says she lost audio. Is it everyone or just

Sarah? Sarah, you have the "Talk" button pushed. I don't

know if that affects you. Can anyone hear me now? I'm not

exactly sure what happened, but hopefully we're clear now.

I'm going to go back a little bit. And please let

me know again if the audio disappears.

One of the things that we were talking about with

identifying appropriate legal structure is that you should

go and seek legal advice and review your options and choose

whether you're for profit or nonprofit and identify how you

go about incorporating.

Many of you don't have to look at this step. Many

of you are already incorporated, already have a legal

structure. You're an organization that's been around a

long time. Or you're shared within another organization.

I see someone from DC Shares is on. And they have

a very unique status because they are connected to a

broader organization, but they function outside the offices

of that organization, and they have some interesting

partnerships.

So there are a lot of questions that can still come

up with respect to your legal status and structure. The

question is, are you part of the larger entity that funds

you? Are you actually part of their legal structure or

status? Or are your something . . . (audio skip) . . .

they are just funding?

And those are all questions that just should be

considered and asked. When you are choosing . . . (audio

skip) . . . model. Again, you review the different

governance models that we spoke about. You review the

different management models. You select a board of

directors. You complete the organizational tasks.

And many of these things will . . . (audio skip) .

. . done because many of you have organizations that are .

. . (audio skip) . . . and are in existence.

But you may want to go back and review and see, are

you missing documents? Do you not have a mission

statement? Are your bylaws complete and up to date? Do

you have officers that have already been selected for

everything?

These are sort of the, if you're starting from

scratch, what you'd have to do. If you're an organization

that exists, some of these things may not apply.

Now, we have here the CEO First Official Steps.

Well, they propose a management structure, you know, the

different roles and create the organizational chart,

prepare job descriptions.

You may find that you have your structure, but you

don't have job descriptions. You haven't determined which

of the roles for your employees versus your volunteers.

You may not have really come up with a whole fair

compensation for your salaries. It might just be people

were getting paid that, and that's what it was.

So one thing that you can do is really try to take

those things that are in existence and answer some of these

questions and define some of these things along the way.

Recruiting managers. You may already have your

managers in place, so recruitment of managers may not be an

issue.

And lastly, we put down "Develop and write policies

and procedures." So the next step is to really identify

which policies and procedures are needed. And the Webinars

and the checklists that we've been providing are really the

attempt to help you figure out what do you need, and what

do you already have?

And then we ask you to create a framework, an

organizational structure for drafting. So your framework

for drafting could be that you identify all the different

ones, that you come up with the outline of how they'll fit

together, that you determine a set or group of people for

getting it done.

You could assign it out and give people deadlines

for writing things up. You could ask people to search the

Internet. You could go to another organization and borrow

their policies and procedures and just adapt them to your

own.

That is really the best way to go about doing this

for your whole structure for drafting. You could figure

out a numbering system for how you want to do it.

So this is really how we propose that you move

forward. And the first three topics that we threw out for

you to consider were your legal status, your governance

concerns, and insurance. Because these are really

high-level issues that you want to ask first.

At the next Webinar we're going to come back, and

we're going to get into some of the topics that are your

day-to-day operations. And we're going to throw out a

whole other set of issues and give you a whole set of ideas

for what kinds of policies and procedures you might be

needing on those particular issues.

So as you're moving forward with trying to write up

some of your policies and procedures, you can wait and use

our categories as we go. You can jump ahead of us and then

come with questions. But those are the areas and the order

in which we'll be focusing on them.

TOM PATTERSON: Well, the Internet is a wonderful

thing. And of course there are glitches here and there,

but I'm sure Jessica can finish up.

JOY KNISKERN: I'm wondering if you can hear me.

If somebody could respond real quickly. Because I'm

showing that I have audio on. Oh, good. I have no idea

what happened.

The last time we had a Webinar on the 25th of

March, we had, I think, no technical glitches. We've had a

few today, and we continue to work on that. I want to --

yeah, maybe that helped. Thank you, Jessica.

As I was looking at -- I had one comment, and that

was, as I was looking at the slide on the left with the

tools and resources in the right-hand box, if you scroll

down, it talks about how to write a mission statement and

sample mission statements.

That's some of -- some of the things that we'll be

working on as tools and resources for you. And I'm

thinking, in terms of folks like Sarah where you're a part

of an independent living center. And I have no doubt that

your independent living center already has a mission

statement and all of those other things that we discussed.

If you are going to be working on, for example --

and, oh, well, we have something right up here that Trish

has already developed on how to write a mission statement.

So for any of these products and resources that we've

already developed, we will be posting that on our Web site

and getting that out to you so that those of you who can

use it, you've got it right there.

If you are operating a reuse activity inside of an

organization or as a part of an organization, like a center

for independent living, it I think is very helpful often to

go through the exercise of doing a mission statement for

that initiative as a part of your overall organization.

And, yes, the submission statement. That's exactly

what we're talking about. And so for some of the things

that we've gone over today, if it applies to your reuse

program, you can take a stab at that because I think it

will help you in clarifying where you are, where you need

to be, and will lend some stability to your program.

And I will release my mike for comments. We've got

about another -- actually, we've got 20 more minutes where

we could entertain discussion and comments and sharing of

some of the challenges and questions you may have in terms

of structuring some of these tools for your reuse programs.

Yes, we will definitely send out these documents to

our e-mail list. And that would include the PowerPoint

presentation that Jessica has done and auxiliary documents

that we have. And we will be posting those on our Web site

as well. And so, yes, definitely.

And so what questions do others of you have?

JESSICA BRODEY: Well, I'm going to turn the tables

and ask a couple of questions. And if at any time you have

your own question, please chime in.

My next question to you is, when I've talked to you

a little bit about organizational structure of how to write

policies and procedures earlier, and I showed you an

example of the policies and procedures from Montgomery

College, did that help you visualize what policies and

procedures should look like, or do you have other questions

about how to write a policy or procedures, what it should

look like?

JOY KNISKERN: I'm seeing that Sarah Johnnes

suggested it would be nice if there was a space, perhaps a

wiki space where we can share ideas. And that's a great

idea.

We have plans to release a blog on the Pass It On

Center Web site fairly soon. And we think that that might

be a start.

Would that be helpful to y'all? Good.

And while Tom is pulling that up, you can

actually -- if you can get to the Web site where it lists

some of the information there, we can get back to Jessica's

comment.

I know, Sheila, you said, yes, it would certainly

help if we had a blog. And I also know that you all --

that in Kansas you have some -- you do have at least a

procedure where you don't hold equipment for more than 90

days. And I was just very impressed to hear from Sarah at

the ATIA conference a little bit about how you do that.

And I thought that that was very helpful.

You know, it would be very helpful to see any kind

of policies or procedures you use about the whole process

of distributing equipment and your practice, at least, of

not holding onto it for more than 90 days.

And what that does for you, as I understand it, is

it means that you don't have a need for a large space to

store equipment.

I'm also seeing that Sharon Alderman mentioned that

it would be helpful to have a blog. That sounds great.

And, Vivian, you've got a comment. You used one of

the little emoticons. Thank you. Hands up. Okay. Good.

I don't know if Tom went over that, but if you

haven't tried using the emoticons in the place above where

you type in a question or a comment, you can pull down, and

you can use emoticons too. Those are fun.

Okay, Jessica. We can go back to what you had

talked about with the Montgomery College example.

JESSICA BRODEY: Tom, if you could click on that

link again, that would be great, and take everyone to the

Web site. Thank you.

So here's what I was just kind of using as a

starting point for showing you guys how policies and

procedures really should look. And I wondered if this was

helpful, if you had any other questions in addition to this

about how structures should work while you're looking at

it.

And I know that the question often comes up, "How

do we do this? This seems very daunting." So I was trying

to give a concrete example of a format that was very good

and a structure that was very appropriate to use as a

model.

And you don't have to use the same exact modeling

system or numbering system. But it's a really good basic

example of how things should be divided up. And you don't

have to call them chapters. You can just put Roman

numeral I, board of trustees bylaws; Roman numeral II,

organization. You can do it in any way.

And what I also thought was interesting about this,

that, while they have a notebook version of this, this was

an Internet version that allows you to look at everything

online. And as you move to the Internet, that's a really

great format for interacting with your employees.

So looking at this, do you have more specific

questions about how do you write or organize a set of

policies and procedures?

That's a really good question. I see Joy has got

her hand up. Sarah, there was no talking happening before,

so I don't think you were missing sound. I could be wrong

about that.

The issue with the rural program. I think that,

from -- at least as part of the policy series, we're going

to be looking just broadly about policy issues. The

specific needs of the difference between rural and urban I

think might be covered by the Pass It On Center in a

different way. So I'm going to turn that over to Joy.

But the actual policy series that we're working on,

we're not really distinguishing between those differences

other than to say you consider them in writing your

policies and procedures.

And I'm going to release now so Joy can speak.

JOY KNISKERN: Yes. I think that, yes, you

definitely have issues that are really different in rural

states in terms of setting up a program and how you work

with your different populations and certainly in terms of

getting donations and distributing equipment, finding

volunteers.

I mean every category that you go down, you would

have very different issues. And I think what would really

help us would be perhaps to schedule a conference call for

those of you who are in rural areas to look at and just

hear from you, let you do some talking about some of the

issues and some of the concerns that you have as far as

working in a rural setting. And then that would really

help us formulate and work with you and some of the unique

needs that you may have.

Even in Georgia, where we have, for example, you

know, very concentrated urban areas, we also have a lot of

distribution issues throughout the state because a large

part of Georgia is very rural.

But I think it would be a great -- I'm glad to see

that you said it would be a great idea. That sounds good.

We'll get together with our team, and we'll use

perhaps a meeting wizard to send out a list of dates where

we could basically talk.

And what we'd ask of you all, anybody in a rural

area that wants to participate, is if you could send some

questions and some thoughts back and forth once we do a

meeting wizard, that would really help us so that we can

focus an agenda that will really produce some idea that we

can share with everybody. Does that work for y'all?

When you say organizational software in terms of

policy and procedure development, that sounds like a good

question. Would you like to clarify that a little bit

more?

I see. In other words, using Inspiration -- for

those of you who -- if anybody's not familiar with

Inspiration, it's basically a software program that is a

way to map out your ideas. It's a tool to develop ideas

and to organize your thinking in maps. And then you can

use it to basically outline and write.

And I know that some of our staff use Inspiration.

And a couple of our subcontractors have used that from

anything from writing grants to writing a paper on a topic.

But I don't know of anybody specifically who has used it to

develop their policies and procedures. Great, great idea.

Has anybody used that?

We're not hearing that anybody has at this point.

That doesn't mean that people haven't. But I think what we

will do is certainly make sure that the person that Jessica

referenced, Trish Redmon, who is working on a lot of

product development for us, that she has a chance to look

at that as a tool since many of our centers may be using

that in different venues.

And Sarah has asked, "Is it a free software?"

Perhaps somebody else can respond to -- right. There is a

30-day trial version. And I don't know what the going

price of it is right now.

But if you just Google "Inspiration Software," you

should be able to get to that and -- it is a great tool.

What a great idea.

Hi, Trish. Great. And so we'll take a look at

that. That's wonderful. Trish is with us.

And their Web site -- if you Google them, you get

to them, but it's www.inspiration.com. So that's pretty

straightforward.

I would basically like to thank everybody for

joining us today. We really appreciate your time, your

comments, your questions. We hope this has been helpful to

you.

And as you go through the process of working with

some of these materials, we really welcome your continuing

comments and also any policies, procedures, paperwork that

you use in your various programs.

And again, we look very much forward to talking

with you again in our next series, which will be held on

May 13th from 2:00 to 3:30.

And, as Jessica mentioned, we will be going over

your customer intake, equipment matching, training and

technical assistance, delivery, follow-up, and Web site

operations. We'll be getting into some of the nitty-gritty

of all of this.

Thanks so much for joining us today, and we'll talk

with you again.

TOM PATTERSON: I just wanted to ask folks who

perhaps are joining us via word of mouth that, if I don't

have your e-mail address, if you could get that to me, I'd

appreciate it. And you can type it into the text box, or

you can send it to tom@passitoncenter.org.