Website Policies: Which Ones You Need And Why They Matter


By: Drew McManus

Although they may not seem terribly sexy, website policies are an extremely important part of an arts organization’s online presence and the types of activities you provide at your site will determine which policies you need and what they should address.

Types Of Policies And Determining Which Ones You Need

Although there are numerous types of policies related to online activity, they aren’t always applicable to arts organizations. For example, you probably won’t need policies geared toward Software as a Service (Saas) or End-User License (EULA) offerings, just know that level of specificity exists.

Please note: this is not legal advice. The purpose of this post is to give you things to think about. Legal information is not legal advice; instead, speak to a lawyer about specifics. And BTW, this is an excellent example of a Disclaimer Policy.

Now that we have that out of the way, here are some of the common policies that apply to arts organizations.

  1. Terms of Service (TOS) Policy: Defines the rules by which an individual agrees to use a service. These are often called Terms of Use or Terms and Conditions. Although not always required by law, they are typically legally binding agreements that certainly help protect your organization and users.
  2. Privacy Policy: Discloses the type of data you collect along with how it is stored and managed. This is a policy every arts organization should have.
    1. It’s worth noting that Cookie Policies were routinely included in this section but it is becoming common to see them as mutually exclusive policies.
  3. Disclaimer Policy: Indicates a site owner is not responsible for advice or information and limits liability. If your site includes content of a technical or legal nature, this is a must-have policy. Interestingly enough, this is one of the policies you’ll often find embedded into individual page alongside the respective content in addition to a general policy page or section.
  4. Return/Refund Policy: If your site has an ecommerce component, you need a refund policy. Even if you don’t offer refunds, that’s still a policy and it needs to be made clear to users.
  5. Delivery/Shipping Policy: Informs users about related details via how you ship your goods and products (this includes printed tickets) along with related costs. This policy is not required by law in most areas but strongly recommended.

Website Policies Which Ones You Need And Why They Matter

If your organization has the resources to consult with an attorney who specializes in website legal agreements, that’s terrific.

Most groups don’t always have that luxury and in those situations, you can find a wide array of online resources to help craft the policies you need.

One option worth checking out is a service that offers step by step policy wizard to create custom policies per your organization’s specific needs. They offer free policies for personal use and commercial use policies begin at $14.95 each (with price breaks for multiple policies). Policies take minutes to create and the final output is provided in raw HTML and plain text formats.

I’ve used this provider for my own businesses and recommend them to clients. Having said that, there are quite a few high-quality policy generators out there, both free and paid. Here are some additional options to explore:

Is there a service your organization has used that you recommend? Take a moment to share with a comment.

Drew McManus
Drew McManus
In addition to my consulting business, I'm also the Principal of Venture Industries Online but don’t let that title fool you into thinking I'm just a tech geek. I bring 20+ years of global broad-based arts consulting experience to the table to help clients break the cycle of choosing one-size-fits-none solutions and instead, deliver options allowing them to get ahead of the tech curve instead of trying to catch up by going slower. With the vision of legacy support strategy and the delights of creative insights, my mission is to deliver a sophisticated next generation technology designed especially for the field of performing arts. The first step in that journey began in 2010 when The Venture Platform was released, a purpose-designed managed website development solution designed especially for arts organizations and artists. For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, lead a team of intrepid arts pros to hack the arts, lead an arts business incubator, and love a good coffee drink.
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