January 18, 2017
Lawsuits against churches and ministries are on the rise, making their board members especially vulnerable. Sometimes, courts have found directors and officers personally liable when their actions have resulted in financial damages.
Consider these examples:
Even well-meaning actions could put the personal assets of board members at risk. However, by taking steps to limit liability, church and ministry boards can find stronger legal positions in which they can properly function.
Incorporate your ministry
If a church is incorporated, board members can gain the same legal protections that apply to board members in businesses. This protection comes with two requirements:
When incorporating, first contact an attorney who is familiar with not-for-profit laws in your state.
Include bylaw protection
If your bylaws do not include indemnification provisions, enlist the help of a local attorney to draft some. These provisions could prevent board members from having to pay out-of-pocket costs if they are sued in connection with their ministry work. Evaluate your bylaws regularly by appointing a task force to review the bylaws for necessary changes or additions.
Consider charitable immunity laws
Most states have charitable immunity laws that can protect volunteer workers—and potentially board members—from being sued in connection with their volunteer service. That immunity, however, is limited because the laws generally:
Charitable immunity laws are complicated and vary by state. Ask a local attorney to review applicable state and federal charitable immunity laws with you.
Insure your board members
Standard general liability insurance policies do not cover claims against directors or officers for financial damages resulting from their failure to perform their duties. Separate directors and officers coverage helps protect board members’ personal assets in the event of certain financial damages and lawsuits. It also covers financial damages that other parties undergo when leaders fail to perform their duties properly.
Water and the damage it brings can be one of the most devastating property claims a ministry or organization can experience. Fortunately, there's a solution that identifies leaks when they start, as small as 1/2-ounce-per-minute. It's called FloLogic.
The ability to inspire others to give is a blessing. Because fundraising can be both exciting and challenging, there are some important details to consider that can help your donors, and organization, have a smooth and successful experience.
Has your church or school ever been asked to loan or rent one of your vans or buses to another ministry? Rather than running the risk of loaning or renting your own vehicle, you could consider aiding them financially in renting or chartering a vehicle from a rental agency.
A periodic review of your insurance policy is a good way to make sure your ministry is protected for its most current needs, but it also may offer the opportunity to find some significant savings.
Having insurance coverage specifically designed for long-term international missions helps protect your people and organization from the financial impact caused by injuries, lawsuits, property damage, and more.
With the holiday season right around the corner, it’s wise for ministries to evaluate their fire safety plan. Whether your ministry is hosting a holiday party, prepping treats for charity, or running a community kitchen, make sure you’re well-prepared with these tips.
As school is back in session, it’s important to make sure your school is equipped with the correct safety procedures. Thinking about your school’s physical security as a series of layers can help you find gaps in your plan. Transportation and volunteers are just two important aspects of your school safety plan to think about.
Anyone who turns on the news, flips through a magazine, or browses the web can see that American society and culture are experiencing rapid transitions. Some ministries have valid concerns that issues surrounding societal shifts may expose them to negative publicity, governmental scrutiny, or litigation.
The questions become: when and how can ministries operate within their deeply held religious beliefs when they may conflict with others’ rights?
Cyber security is increasingly crucial in our technologically advanced world. Scammers use many schemes when attempting to steal your data, but you can outsmart them by understanding their methods.
Having gas leak detectors placed within your ministry where a propane, natural gas or liquified petroleum gas fueled appliance is located is always the smart choice. The state of Maine decided to take this a step further and make it a law.
Most ministry leaders don’t realize there is funding available to non-profit employers including churches, schools, colleges, and camps. This post includes some highlights about the credit and guidance on where to start to see if your ministry is eligible.
The Atlantic hurricane season officially started June 1, and weather experts say this season is likely to produce above-normal activity. Take action to prepare your ministry to withstand a hurricane now, so you’re not scrambling when a watch or warning is posted.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Though child abuse may not be something you could ever imagine happening within your ministry, sexual abuse of a minor is one of the top five reasons churches end up in court, according to Church Law & Tax. Studies also show that a child is much more likely to be sexually abused by a trusted adult than a stranger.
When severe storms strike, they can produce high winds and tornadoes. Damaging winds can wreak havoc on your ministry’s property and to buildings. A high wind event can crash debris through your windows, strip your siding, down trees on your parking lot, peel shingles off your roof, and fling back the flashing.
Thieves are taking advantage of soaring precious metal prices. Take steps to protect your ministry’s vehicles and property.
As temperatures plummet, the risk of freezing pipes soars. Frozen pipes can cause costly messes that could also put your ministry on hold while you clean up.
Preparing for this Christmas season may require additional creativity, due to the uncertainty of what COVID-19 may bring in our local community.
A mid-November deadline in the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) bankruptcy proceedings may have you wondering what the organization’s bankruptcy filing means for your ministry if you ever hosted or chartered Boy Scout Troops.