Create a records retention policy based on applicable legal and administrative considerations. 

Key factors to consider in developing a records retention policy:

  • Establish a record retention strategy that clarifies how records will be categorized, stored, the retention period, and records disposal.
  • The church council should review and approve the records retention policy.
  • Your records retention policy should be reviewed by a local attorney, CPA and your insurance agent.
  • Statutory requirements: Federal, state or local laws may govern the retention of certain documents.

Insurance policies:  In some cases, allegations against churches can go back for many years. In these instances, insurance policies must be produced for the time of the incident.

Disposal of records:

  • Some organizations maintain a “destruction of records journal.” When the period of time for keeping records has expired, the record is described in the journal before being destroyed.
  • Do not destroy records that are involved in current legal or pending legal cases, including IRS investigations.
  • Invest in a paper shredder to dispose of confidential records.

Electronic storage:

  • Scan and store records electronically rather than as paper copies. This can reduce storage space needs and make retrieval easier.
  • Consult with an attorney before implementing an electronic storage policy to ensure that your records comply with any required legal standards.

Reasons to keep church records include…

  • Legal requirements
  • Potential relevance in future litigation
  • Needs of the organization
  • Historical importance

Related Posts:

Church Records Retention: Keep These 1-3 Years

Church Records Retention: Keep These for 7-10 Years

Church Records Retention: Keep These Permanently