McQuiston: Is Your Nonprofit Mission Protected?

The Jemez Agency

I normally don’t do articles on commercial insurance, but I was talking with one of the nonprofits I insure and it got me thinking.

Los Alamos has a lot of civic minded people who work for or volunteer for our many nonprofit businesses. These businesses, their employees and volunteers have some insurance exposures that may not be getting addressed. So I did a little reading and came across an article from Travelers Insurance that I want to share with you.

Nonprofit leaders today face many of the same critical management resIs Your Nonprofit Mission Protected?ponsibilities as for-profit businesses, but they may lack the same resources and staffing to handle complex issues, from discrimination to data breaches. In some cases, they might not realize all of their potential liabilities and how to protect their volunteers, their staff, and ultimately, their mission.

Charitable organizations, community foundations, cultural institutions, social service agencies, museums, professional organizations and other nonprofits often focus steadfastly on advancing their core mission, whether it’s to serve the community, promote the arts or advance education.

“But that very mission can be at risk if nonprofits do not take the steps to protect their organizations from liabilities that could be costly,” Tom Herendeen, Nonprofit D&O Product Manager for Travelers, said. “Those costs are not just financial, but could also take a toll in terms of the time it will take the nonprofits to respond and the effect it might have on their reputation in the public’s eye.”

Here are three examples of risks that can affect nonprofit organizations:
A lost laptop leading to a data breach that compromises donors’ private information can hurt future fundraising efforts if trust with the community is threatened.
A nonprofit employee caught embezzling funds could tarnish the organization’s reputation and hamper recruitment of volunteers.
A wrongful termination lawsuit from a former staffer involving the nonprofit’s board could lead to board members using their own assets to pay for their legal defense.

As nonprofits manage their budgets, they may consider measures to protect (insure) their organizations as discretionary expenses, when, in fact, they could end up being critical to the organization’s future.

Cyber liability insurance, Fidelity and Crime insurance and Nonprofit Directors & Officers insurance are three policies that can help nonprofits navigate through their unique risks. If you work for or volunteer for a nonprofit, make sure you and your organization have the coverage you need by checking with your insurance professional.