What to Consider Before Joining a Nonprofit Board

What to Consider Before Joining a Nonprofit Board

What to Take Into Consideration Before Joining a Non-profit Board


You’re thinking of joining a non-profit board because you’re passionate about the cause and want to help further the mission. You know that your skills can be put to good use on a non-profit board. Although it may be the last thing you think about when you volunteer on the board of a non-profit but are you aware you might be putting your personal assets at risk? Non-profits face many of the same threats as for-profit businesses, including the potential for lawsuits. If the non-profit is sued and lacks adequate planning and protection, you could lose your savings, your home, and additional assets.


Unfortunately, non-profits can be insufficiently protected when it comes to claims. Nearly two out of three non-profits reported a Directors & Officers liability claims within the past ten years. Lawsuits can be filed by donors, vendors, competitors, employees, government regulators, and others. When you become a member of the board, you face being personally sued, and be responsible for the cost of hiring your own attorney to defend yourself.


Serving on a non-profit board can be fulfilling and meaningful, and it is a commitment of your time and talent. That is why it is so important to take the time to understand the non-profit’s mission, how it operates, and whether you may have any conflicts of interested before you decide to join a board.


Here is what you should consider first before joining a non-profit board:

  • What’s expected of you as a board member? Learn what others board members will expect of you to that you better understand your duty.
  • Who else sits on the board of directors? Consider meetings with the chairperson before committing to the board to understand their leadership style and their vision for the nonprofit.
  • Does the organization have employees? If so, are they properly trained, do they have written employment policies, and do managers make sure they comply with employment laws?
  • Review the reporting and corporate governance documents and bylaws. Review budgets, employee salaries, and other financial documents.
  • Are there ongoing on previous lawsuits? Issues and disagreements could signal a red flag for a potential lawsuit.
  • Does the organization have a Directors & Officers Liability insurance policy? Understand the scope of coverage and limits of liability provides to make sure you would be protected.


Serving on a board of a non-profit organization can be a rewarding experience, but it is critical to protect yourself by making sure you make an informed decision.


To discuss the insurance options that are available for you and the non-profit please contact CAV Insurance Agency, serving Wellesley, Dover and surrounding towns.