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How Many Documents Do You Keep and for How Long?

YSOs that follow a school calendar often use this time of year to clean out storage.  If you don't have a document retention policy, you need one before you destroy any documents. Each organization has its unique needs and records, but we recommend looking at the following two sources. The National Council of Nonprofits has a helpful list of documents that you need to keep permanently:

  • Articles of Incorporation
  • Audit reports, from independent audits
  • Corporate resolutions
  • Checks
  • Determination Letter from the IRS, and correspondence relating to it
  • Financial statements (year-end)
  • Insurance policies
  • Minutes of board meetings and annual meetings of members
  • Real estate deeds, mortgages, bills of sale
  • Tax returns

The Georgia Archives has a helpful list of guidelines for local governments and schools.  Even if your organization is not a school, you may find the guidelines helpful.  In other states, simply do an Internet search for “document retention” to see what time limits other agencies and organizations follow.  If it’s “good enough for government work,” it should be good enough for your YSO.


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