Reserves Policy

**I’m looking for any examples of a Reserves Policy which incorporates criteria on how and when the organisation dips into reserves, for eg. to maintain staff benefits and/or salaries in a period of financial uncertainty. **

This isn;t strictly to do with HR as such, but we’re keen to put in place sound financial management policies, that will ensure we’re able to continue providing all the radical HR benefits and policies that we’ve put in place so would be useful to see examples from other orgs that already have this kind of policy/wording and willing to share.

Our organisation focuses on Climate Justice and supporting grassroots groups around the UK. We have a flat structure with different working groups taking responsibility for different areas of organisational management,. We have 20 staff and our annual turnover is 500k-600k.


Thanks for posting this @louisehazan! I’m sure others will have this question too, as reserves are critical to a range of progressive or rad policies! I’ve messaged someone I know from another org of similar size and also with a range of (expensive!) radical staff support policies in place, to see if they’ve got any wording that they might be able to share here or upload to the libary…

I’m also very interested to hear if anybody has specific wording about use of reserves for salaries and benefits!

Our reserves policy was approved late last year but we’re yet to be in a position to put it into action. We’re aiming to have 2 separate pots - special reserves for large long-term transformation projects; and an operational reserve covering up to 6 months of critical expenditure costs as a precautionary level of self-insurance against unexpected financial demands or sudden loss of income, increase of expenses, uninsured losses or one-time budgeted expenses. Identification of the need to access reserve funds requires analysis of the reason for the shortfall, the availability of any other sources of funds before using reserves, and evaluation of the time period that the funds will be required and replenished.

(We’re a digital community campaigning organisation in New Zealand, with 12 staff and turnover of around NZ$700k.)

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I would be interested to hear more about this, too!
We’re currently working on an ‘emergency policy’, describing some questions we should ask ourselves when something unexpected (someone falls long-term ill, someone has a child, we loose one of our main funders) might happen, and if and how we use our ‘emergency budget’. Still working on it, but happy to have some exchange about it :).

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Hi @liam, I’m following up on this - have you heard anything back from the other org?

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Hi @Rakesh - thanks for checking in and welcome to the forum! Good to see you here!

So the group I reached out to are unfortunately also in the process of figuring out their own reserves policy as well, so aren’t able to immediately help.

But it did occur to me, that since there’s clearly some interest in this, whether we could come up with some answers (or at least questions!) for things we might want to include in a reserves policy that practices our values, here in the forum?

One that comes to mind, which ties in with what both @Mari_Gastivists and @Nikky were saying, is about figuring out a value-driven reserve allocation process - like, what is the first thing we start putting aside reserves to cover? And the second? Third? etc.

Imagining this as a way of deciding which costs need to be underwritten in order to both survive and to practice our values. And if there are %s of those costs that we can commit to each year, as our reserves build up to meet 100% coverage of different costs.

Anyway - just chucking it out there! Any thoughts or ideas are welcome!

Glad to see this discussion happening! Clearly several groups are grappling with this one right now!

Wondering if any of you would be interested in a group call to talk through your different ideas about reserves and doing them in a way that practices our values?

I can start a doodle poll if there is any interest?