Nonprofit organizations are a mainstay of our society. However, as a medical professional participating in charitable work, you could be held liable for protection of your volunteers! Nonprofit board members are open to this risk when they run an NPO, and many are not aware that they may be held personally liable for the actions of the organization.
How can you tell if you are at risk?
- Are you a member of a nonprofit organization? If so, you could be held liable. If your role is: volunteer,
employee, director, or officer, you are at risk!
- Are you protected under the Volunteer Protection Act? As a volunteer or employee, this may be enough to prevent you from being held responsible for negligence or misconduct on behalf of the NPO. However, as a director or officer, the VPA does nothing to safeguard you in those instances.
- Are your organization’s net assets lower than your personal assets? In most NPOs, this is the case, and can leave the directors and officers even more exposed to threats.
- Are you a board member? If so, you also have a legal responsibility to exercise due care. Your responsibilities carry extra liability!
- Are you following your organizations mission, by laws, and rules to the letter? If your organization has a failure in fiduciary duty, misuse of funds, or any kind of improper conduct by volunteers or employees, these suits can jeopardize the organization itself! The result? Directors and officers can be held personally liable.