The Contract Process and Steps to Managing it: Part I [INTERACTIVE GRAPHIC]

Okay, okay. Last contracts post…..for now.

But in all fairness, this deluge of posts comes from the surprisingly large amount of questions I’m getting from organizations about contracts. From how to draft them to which contracts to use it seems organizations are starting to get hip to reality; nonprofits are a business and have to protect themselves the way any business would.

But the one topic that is consistently skipped over is that of a contracts system. Most seem to have a slight understanding of the “Why” when it comes to contracts. But most fail to really sit down and plan out the “How.”  How are contracts going to be managed once they’re created? What are my organization’s specific needs, requirements and resources; all of which will dictate how a system is put in place?

Because without getting a handle on the “How”, what happens is contracts become decor.  The sit on top of that bookcase you never use, are scattered around your desk and then there’s that weird stack that made it into the break-room?

To be clear, I understand why this question is often glazed over. Why organizations would rather not contend with it. The whole concept of creating a “Contracts System”  *insert ominous echo* can sound tremendously overwhelming. But it need not be. And I believe the genesis of this intimidation tends to come, again, from not sitting down and thinking about your organization’s specific needs, requirements and resources. In other words, there’s no need to implement the 100 page system that so and so Fortune 500 company uses if you have 3 employees, work out of a co-working space and service fairly local areas.

So I thought this graphic might help illustrate  the process in a way that is less intimidating. If you put your mouse over each cycle, questions to ask, and things to consider, will pop in.   Of course you have to build this out with a more specific system and tools, but at the end of the day all you’re talking about is a life-cycle.

Stay tuned for the second part of this post where I’ll address reasons why it’s important to put a system in place, things to think about when doing so, and a few resources/ideas to get you started.