Documents are a vital part in the effective functioning of any organization. We need a repository both for documents on a short-term basis to help us to work consistently and productively and also to keep track of progress in projects and activities. Creating standards for document management and ensuring that documents are created, managed and disposed of appropriately is a key part of good information management that will improve efficiency and mitigate legal and compliance risks (e.g. requirements relating to data protection, tax and human resources obligations). This must also be supported with the necessary guidance and training for everyone creating or using these documents to ensure they are confident and competent document handlers with access to all necessary information. Finally, retaining documents provides for seamless transitions whenever staff and volunteers change within our organization, providing for ongoing institutional memory that isn’t dependent on any one person.


  1. Document – ISO9000 defines a document as “information and its supporting medium”, meaning that it can include a wide range of both hard copy and digital formats and is not simply limited to written information. It can also be a photograph, video or audio record of an event. (
  2. Staff – paid staff, contractors (short or long term)
  3. Volunteers – unpaid people involved in the governance and ministry of the church
  4. Vital Records – Records necessary for church operations
  5. Google Workspace – Google Workspace, formerly known as G Suite, is a collection of cloud computing,productivity and collaboration tools, software and products developed and marketed by Google.
  6. UUCNH – The Unitarian Universalist Church of the North Hills
  7. Digital and Electronic – are synonyms

Purpose – this policy sets out standards to:

  1. As appropriate and approved by authorized individuals, allow documents to be accessed, used andreused, or retained in a controlled and efficient manner.
  2. Ensure the continuity of UUCNH operations and ministry from year to year.
  3. Ensure that documents are kept, maintained and stored in the most economical and safely-preservedway consistent with the objectives for which they were created and the overall health of UUCNH.


This policy applies to any individual creating or handling documents on UUCNH’s behalf. The policy applies to all documents held in any format (paper or digital), including (but not limited to):

  1. Policies and guidance
  2.  Meeting minutes and supporting documents
  3. Reports
  4. Contracts
  5. Presentations
  6. Official communications
  7. Photographs
  8. Orders of Service
  9. Receipts, invoices, checks, and other records of payment or amounts owed
  10. All Accounting documents
  11. Human Resource and other employee files
  12. Documents required to be maintained by any employer as required by Pennsylvania and federal law
  13. Disciplinary reports of any sort
  14. Staff, member, or contractor dismissal papers
  15. Tax records and supporting documents
  16. Correspondence, filings, and other documents concerning UUCNH’s membership in the Unitarian Universalist Association of America
  17. All permits, licenses, certificates, membership cards or the like, regardless of duration or source (including expired documents that were in effect within the past 10 years)
  18. All legally required documentation, regardless of the source of such regulation
  19. All other documents necessary for the operation and management of UUCNH in a lawful manner

Document Retention Requirements

The attached PDF outlines the documents to be retained and the group, team, committee, or task force within UUCNH responsible for maintaining them.


  1. Electronic Records
    1. Google Workspace
  2. Foundational & Legal Documents
    1. Original Paper Doc – Locked File Cabinet in safe deposit box
    2. Scan of Document – Google Workspace
    3. Fire-proof Safe
  3. Paper Records
    1. Scanned and placed in Google Workspace
    2. Locked Office File Cabinet in UUCNH office
    3. Fire-proof Safe (Bylaws, Corporate Documents in paper form, Membership Book, Architectural Diagrams
  4. Photos
    1. Google Workspace
    2. Chosen or fragile documents in the UUCNH office
  5. Financial Records
    1. Bank – Electronic Statements saved to Dropbox
    2. Pledge/Contribution Records – Breeze with backup in Google Workspace 3. Financial Reports: – Google Workspace
    4. Employee tax documents – QuickBooks


  1. Board of Trustees
    1. Ensure board committees are adhering to policy
    2. Ensure that organizational documents are retained according to this Policy
    3. Grant and withdraw permissions to access documents
    4. Review and instruct on corrective methods for violations of this Policy
    5. Ensure maintenance of corporate and legally required documents
    6. Ensure only current Board members have access to Board files and former members’ access is withdrawn
  2. Minister & Ministry Council
    1. Ensure ministry teams are adhering to policy
    2. Ensure that operational documents are retained according to this Policy
  3. Team / Committee Chairs and Team Members
    1. Ensure team/committee documents are retained as specified
    2. Ensure only current team members have access to their team/committee files and former members’ access is withdrawn
  4. Communications Team
    1. Provide Google Workspace Support as required
    2. Perform Google Workspace Audit


Introduction – Purpose – Scope

Types of Documents to be Retained

How long should we keep records?

Records Management Guidelines

Approved by the UUCHN Board of Trustees – April 20, 2021

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