The Invitation to a Nonprofit Board

You may have been just invited to serve on a nonprofit’s board of directors by one of your colleagues. Maybe you are pondering asking to serve on the board of your favorite local nonprofit organization.  What should you consider before committing to a nonprofit board? Are you aware that you could be putting some of your personal assets at risk when doing so?


Serving on a nonprofit board requires your commitment to the organization and its mission.  Know what is expected of you and your responsibilities.  As a board member, you are responsible for making governing decisions in the boardroom.  Some boards require their members pay dues or commit to raising a certain amount of funds during the year.  This may require a lot of time, in addition to attending board meetings.  These requirements are likely outlined in the bylaws or the nonprofit’s governing documents.

The bylaws are a good place to start when contemplating serving on the board of directors.  You can find out how often they meet, any term limits, and fiduciary requirements.  It should include a “job description” for board members.  Ask to read the minutes of recent meetings to see what the nonprofit board’s immediate goals are and where they are heading.  Also, check out their financial statements.  Are they struggling?  A board member will be responsible in assisting to make financial decisions, some not so easy. You can also research their tax returns at

Are there pending claims or lawsuits? What is this nonprofit’s history when it comes to managing risk? Do a quick google search to see if the organization has any negative reviews, news stories, or ratings.

If done well, not only will the position take a large time commitment, it could also be financially costly.  In addition to donating or raising money, you are also risking all of your personal assets – your home, your savings, your earnings.  Is the nonprofit board in question adequately protected? Before serving on a board, be sure and find out if they have Directors and Officers insurance (also referred to as D&O).  This insurance protects individual board members – your personal assets from claims which may arise from any decisions and actions taken during your normal duties and a board member.  

Be sure to make an informed decision when committing your time to serve on a nonprofit board. Doing so can be very rewarding! 

Learn More

Are you interested in learning more about nonprofit insurance? Contact local insurance agent, Sandi Purinton with The Insurance Connection. Contact her at 678-439-8757 or to get a free insurance quote and review.

Disclaimer: This material is for information only. This post does not provide legal or professional advice. Consult with your own attorney or other expert consultants for a professional opinion specific to your situation. The Insurance Connection welcomes all applications, without regard to religion, race, color, national origin, sex, handicap or familial status.