Documentation And Procedures For Travel

Nonprofit work can often mean that employees at many levels are required to travel to far-flung locations for meetings or conferences. Some of this travel can involve expenses, such as lodging and meals that require some kind of expense or reimbursement on the part of the organization.


Nonprofit consultant Thomas McLaughlin notes that organizations can incur problems in such areas as morale, bookkeeping and staffing if they don’t have clear procedures about business travel. He outlines some of the considerations that have to be kept in mind and that should have some kind of clearly-stated procedure. They include:


* Who books the travel and how reimbursement is handled. For example, can employees use their own travel agent or must they use the employer’s choice?;

* Who pays;

* Restrictions, if any, on employee travel;

* Policy on seat upgrades;

* Meals. Some employers reimburse up to a certain amount or require receipts after more than a certain amount;

* Ground travel reimbursement. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has standard rates, so there should be clear guidelines about reporting car mileage and permissible car rentals;

* Scheduling. Is an employee who finishes at 7 p.m. expected to take a late flight and be at work at the normal time next morning?;

* Behavioral expectations. “Don’t embarrass the organization,” for example;

* International travel. Passports, visas and health requirements need to be known and followed; and,

* Insurance and workers’ compensation. It never hurts to be on top of these.