Document retention and destruction policy

As part of a commitment to transparency and disclosure, the LION Board has instituted policies on maintaining corporate documents.

I. Purpose

A. LION recognizes the importance of maintaining records for many reasons, including, but not limited to the following:

  1. Maintain a record of the legal structure of LION.
  2. Document Board and board committee membership, decisions and activities.
  3. Maintain LION’s policies – both board and administrative.
  4. Allow LION to demonstrate effective pursuit of its mission, to evaluate the success of its programs, and to determine whether the organization is achieving desired results
  5. Maintain a record of federal and state filings and important supporting information
  6. Maintain a record of financial statements and budgets and important supporting information, to monitor budgetary and financial results and activities, and to identify sources of receipts
  7. Identify all donations, grants and sponsorships to maintain required documents.
  8. Maintain personnel and employment records as appropriate
  9. Maintain records of all contracts or other documents creating legal obligations or potential legal liabilities, including insurance contracts, vendor contracts, personal service contracts, leases and other property related contracts, as well as notices of any legal processes involving LION or of any government investigations.
  10. LION’s goal is to maintain such documents for a time period defined at a minimum by law, but otherwise for as long as such documents create an important historical record of LION’s activities or may be relevant to LION’s business needs, legal obligations, or any litigation or investigation.

II. Method of Retention

A. LION may maintain records in electronic form or paper or in any other safe and reliable manner.

B. Records, whether paper or digital, shall be stored in a secure location, which may be in the LION offices or in a storage facility or other location.

C. LION shall maintain a record of where records, both original and back-up are stored or located so that they may be accessed within a reasonable period of time.

III. Document Destruction, Including Prohibition on Document Destruction

A. Documents not covered by this policy shall be destroyed when no longer useful to LION and the files of LION should be periodically culled of such documents.

B. Documents covered by this policy must be maintained for the period established in this policy, at a minimum, but may be maintained for a longer period of time.

C. Documents may not be destroyed and must be preserved and not altered in any manner in LION knows or has been informed that they may be relevant to an investigation by any government entity or to litigation or potential litigation.

IV. Board Chair’s or Executive Director’s Authority

A. The Board Chair (or the Executive Director, if applicable) is authorized and directed to take steps to reasonably implement this policy and shall report to the Board on any issues, resource constraints, or concerns related to adequate implementation of this policy.

B. The Board Chair (or Executive Director, if applicable) shall notify the Board of any additional document retention requirements mandated by law that should be added to this policy, and is directed to implement such requirements, even if not included in this policy.

C. The Board Chair (or Executive Director, if applicable) may, by administrative policy and without Board authorization, create additional document retention requirements, as long as such requirements are not more restrictive than this policy.

V. Documents that must be managed and maintained with retention periods

Legal Structure of LION

  1. Articles of Incorporation and any amendments Permanently
  2. Bylaws and any amendments Permanently
  3. IRS Form 1023 and amendments Permanently
  4. IRS letter recognizing LION’s tax exempt status Permanently

Board and Board Committee Membership, Decisions and Activities

  1. Minutes of Board and standing committee meetings Permanently
  2. Financial statements and budgets approved by the Board or any committee of the Board Permanently
  3. List of board members, contact information and terms Permanently
  4. Periodic reviews of Board effectiveness conducted by the Board, a committee of the board, or a consultant Permanently
  5. Board Resolutions should be maintained as part of the minutes Permanently
  6. Annual Conflict of Interest disclosure statements 10 years after the director is no longer on the board

LION’s Policies – Both Board and Administrative

  1. Board policies, including effective dates, amendments and revisions Permanently
  2. Administrative policies, including record of effective dates, amendments and revisions 5 years after last effective date

Planning Documents

Documents that demonstrate effective pursuit of LION’s mission, evaluate program success and determine whether the organization is achieving desired results

  1. Strategic planning documents approved by the Board 15 years after end of effective period
  2. Board, board committee, management reviews or evaluations of LION projects 15 years
  3. Consultants’ reports on core LION projects 15 years
  4. Program files on LION’s programs (more than $25,000 annually) 10 years for major projects

Financial statement, budgets, tax returns and important supporting information

  1. Federal annual tax returns and any amendments Permanently
  2. Business records that support federal annual returns (including bank statements; cash books; journals) 10 years
  3. Financial reviews by outside CPAs or audited financial statements Permanently
  4. Documents that establish LION’s source of receipts for tax and other purposes, including accounts payable ledgers and schedules and accounts receivable ledgers and schedules; cancelled checks; duplicate deposit slips; invoices to and from customers 10 years
  5. Capital stock and bond records Permanently

Donations and grants

  1. Records of all donations, names and contact information for donor, any limitations on use, and disbursements Permanently
  2. Grants: records shall be kept as required by any grant document, but shall include the names and contact information of the grantor, any limitations on use, and disbursements Permanently


  1. Personnel and employment records 10 years after termination
  2. Contracts or other documents creating legal obligations or potential legal liabilities, including insurance contracts, leases and other property related contracts as well as notices of any legal processes involving LION or of any government investigations 10 years after termination
  3. General correspondence 4 years
  4. Legal and important matters correspondence Permanently
  5. Employment applications 3 years
  6. Inventories of products, materials supplies 3 years
  7. Payroll records and summaries, including payments to retirees 10 years
  8. Sales records 10 years
  9. Volunteer records 3 years


Email and other correspondence not pertinent to Board policy-making or the performance of organizational activities shall fall outside these policies.

All permitted document destruction should be halted if the organization is investigated by a governmental law enforcement agency, and routine destruction shall not be resumed without the written approval of legal counsel or the Board Chair.