English translation, article originally appearing in the Vision China Times, Melbourne (15 January 2015)
We all know that volunteering is good for your health, improves your mood and lowers your stress levels. In fact, sharing and helping out in the community can become an essential part of your social and career success, whether you are the director of a charity organisation, spend time with the elderly in nursing homes, or help organise community events. For the overseas Chinese population, especially for new migrants, it’s vital to participate and contribute to building strong Chinese communities in Australia.
As valued as it is to give your time to charity, there are risks to consider if you’re working or volunteering in an association or charity such as:
Associations and charities can be subject to lawsuits and losses in the same way that businesses are, and so it’s important for members and volunteers, particularly those who on boards or committees of associations, to consider the below questions:
1.CAN YOU AFFORD THE UNEXPECTED AND EXPENSIVE?
Your organisation’s purpose is to do good. However, unexpected things can always happen and someone, or something, might be damaged or hurt during the organisation’s activities. Sometimes, even if the organisation hasn’t done anything wrong, it can still suffer from expensive legal fees. Accidents, which can lead to insurance claims, can be as simple as the following:
Other incidents could be even more complex. Here are some real life examples:
2.WHAT ABOUT FRAUD?
Unfortunately, dishonesty and fraud is a fact of life. Charities and associations are increasingly at risk of fraud. If you’re a board or committee member, you run an additional risk of being accused of fraud, even if you’ve done nothing wrong. Here are some real life examples:
3.ARE VOLUNTEERS AND EMPLOYEES PROPERLY PROTECTED?
This is an important question to ask, regardless of whether you’re the volunteer or if you are organising a group of volunteers to help out in your association’s activities. Here are a few things to consider:
Not-for-profit organizations form an invaluable part of our society and every participant takes pride in offering to the community. Like a business, they must also prepare for challenging events, know what risks they face and reduce the likelihood of potentially costly ‘surprises’. Consult a professional insurance broker to find out the optimal solution for your organization and make the most out of the organization budget.