Nonprofit Document Retention Schedule

Records  Retention  CalendarFor each document, add its location or where it is stored.

  • Accounts payable ledgers and schedules: 10 years
  • Accounts receivable ledgers and schedules: 10 years
  • Audit reports of accountants: Permanently
  • Bank statements: 10 years
  • Capital stock and bond records:  ledgers, transfer payments, stubs showing issues, record of interest coupon, options, etc.: Permanently
  • Cash books: 10 years
  • Checks (canceled, with exception below): 10 years
  • Checks (canceled, for important payments; i.e., taxes, purchase of property, special contracts, etc. [checks should be filed with the papers pertaining to the underlying
    transaction]): Permanently
  • Contracts and leases (expired): 10 years
  • Contracts and leases still in effect: Permanently
  • Correspondence, general: 4 years
  • Correspondence (legal and important matters): Permanently
  • Depreciation schedules: 10 years
  • Donation records of endowment funds and of significant restricted funds: Permanently
  • Donation records, other: 10 years
  • [Note: Donation records include a written agreement between the donor and the charity with regard to any contribution, an email communication or notes of or recordings of an oral discussion between the charity and the donor where the representative of the charity made representations to the donor with regard to the contribution on which the donor may have relied in making the gift.]
  • Duplicate deposit slips: 10 years
  • Employee personnel records (after termination): 7 years
  • Employment applications: 3 years
  • Expense analyses and expense distribution schedules (includes allowance and reimbursement of employees, officers, etc., for travel and other expenses: 10 years
  • Financial statements (end-of-year): Permanently
  • General ledgers and end-of-year statements: Permanently
  • Insurance policies (expired): Permanently
  • Insurance records, current accident reports, claims, policies, etc.: Permanently
  • Internal reports, miscellaneous: 3 years
  • Inventories of products, materials, supplies: 10 years
  • Invoices to customers: 10 years
  • Invoices from vendors: 10 years
  • Journals: 10 years
  • Minute books of Board of Directors, including Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation: Permanently
  • Payroll records and summaries, including payments to pensioners: 10 years
  • Purchase orders: 3 years
  • Sales records: 10 years
  • Scrap and salvage records: 10 years
  • Subsidiary ledgers: 10 years
  • Tax returns and worksheets, revenue agents’ reports, and other documents relating to determination of tax liability: Permanently
  • Time sheets and cards: 10 years
  • Voucher register and schedules: 10 years
  • Volunteer records: 3 years

Warning: All permitted document destruction shall be halted if the organization is being investigated by a governmental law enforcement agency, and routine destruction shall not be resumed without the written approval of legal counsel or the Chief Executive Officer.

Note: This language, which is not typically included in document management policies from accounting firms, provides important additional guidance and protection for the organization. Organizations that see patients or clients may also have special document retention and privacy policies related to patient and client information.

* Attorney Thomas Silk
Article by Tom Silk, Model Document Retention Policy for Nonprofits

Additional resources located at the National Council of Nonprofits.

Note: This policy does not include the PCI-DSS Policy which is a multifaceted security standard that includes requirements for security management, policies, procedures, network architecture, software design and other critical protective measures. This comprehensive standard is intended to help organizations proactively protect customer account data.