Road Runners Club of America

Growing the Sport of Running Since 1958

Important Club Policies

Well-​organized running clubs are built on the solid foundation of bylaws, policies, and procedures. Bylaws provide the operating framework for governing an organization while policies and procedures provide more guidance and direction related to day-to-day operating instructions for board members and club members.  The RRCA recommends adopting the following policies to ensure your club is following best practices in its operation and governance.

Conflict of Interest Policy

The Officers, directors, and employees of a running club owe a duty of loyalty to the organization they serve, which requires that in serving their organization they act, not in their personal interests or in the interests of others, but rather solely in the interests of the organization.

Officers, Directors, and employees must have undivided allegiance to an organizations mission and may not use their positions, information they have about the organization, or property of the organization, in a manner that allows them to secure a financial benefit for themselves or their relatives. To this effect, all nonprofit running clubs are encouraged to adopt a Conflict of Interest policy with an accompanying disclosure requirement.  All Board of Directors should then ensure they are conducting their operations to limit and prevent self-dealing and personal gain from association with the club by board members. The RRCA Board of Directors has adopted a Conflict of Interest Policy - 2017 and disclosure statement that members are encouraged to use as a template to adopt their own policy.

All members utilizing the nonprofit status through the RRCA's group exemption MUST adopt a conflict of interest policy and submit a copy to the RRCA.

Sarbanes-Oxley Act Policies for Nonprofits

In 2002, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act was passed. Now you are asking yourself, what does Sarbanes-Oxley have to do with running and the RRCA?

Sarbanes-Oxley Act makes it a federal crime for any organization — nonprofit and for-profit to retaliate against a “whistleblower” that reports illegal activity. A board approved whistleblower policy is required for nonprofits under Sarbanes-Oxley. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act also forbids the purging of documents when any organization — nonprofit or for-profit — is under federal investigation. A document destruction policy provides guidelines for the proper disposal of records and to prevent destruction of relevant documentation if an organization is involved in litigation. To ensure compliance with these two provisions for nonprofits, the RRCA Board of Directors has adopted a comprehensive Whistleblower Policy and Document Retention & Destruction Policy. Members taking advantage of the RRCA nonprofit group exemption status should take extra care to ensure that they adopt similar policies to comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Criminal Background Check for People Working with Youth

Anyone working with minors such as coaches, assistant coaches, volunteers, or employees engaged in working with youth (legal minors) on behalf of a club or event must submit to a criminal background check. Criminal background checks should be performed on an ongoing basis throughout the year. The President of a running club or event or a duly authorized official should manage any criminal background check procedure on behalf of the club, event, or youth running program. The results of the criminal background checks should be kept strictly confidential and only people authorized individuals should have access to the reports.

If a background check discloses a criminal conviction for a violent crime against a person including a sex offense within a 20-year period, this person should be disqualified from working with youth. 

Learn more about the RRCA background screening recommendation and adopting a sexual abuse and molestation prevention and reporting polic​y

Criminal Background Check for the Treasurer and/or Staff Responsible for Money

As a guideline, the RRCA recommends having a volunteer treasurer undergo a criminal background check to ensure there is not a history of theft or financial fraud. To assist your organization we recommend you adopt the following policy:

Criminal background checks should be performed on an ongoing basis throughout the year. The President of a running club or event or a duly authorized official should manage any criminal background check procedure on behalf of the club, event, or youth running program. The results of the criminal background checks should be kept strictly confidential and only people authorized individuals should have access to the reports. If a background check discloses a criminal conviction of a theft related or fraudulent crime within a 15-year period, this person should be disqualified from a position involving the handling of funds.

Your organization should also adopt comprehensive financial management policies to help prevent fraud, abuse, and embezzlement by a treasurer or other person with access to club assets/funds.  The RRCA also offers an insurance policy that can help protect a club should fraud, abuse or embezzlement occurs so long as policies are in place to protect an organization's finances.

Ethics Policy or Code of Conduct

Runners are passionate people. They care about their sport and their involvement in their local running club. To help ensure that the interactions of the Board of Directors remains positive and civil even in the face of conflict, clubs are encourage to develop and adopt a code of conduct or an ethics policy to guide board and club members. The RRCA Board of Directors has adopted a Code of Conduct that members are encourage to use as a template to adopt their own policy.

Privacy Policy & Legal Notice

A privacy policy outlines for your members how the club will use their information. Clubs are encouraged to use the RRCA privacy policy as a template. A Legal notice outlines ownership rights for the content found on a club’s website or other information owned by a club such as contact lists, event registration lists, etc. Clubs are encouraged to use the RRCA legal notice as a template.

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