What is your nonprofit’s mission – and does your organization follow it? Many nonprofit leaders have a strong sense of mission, while others may stray due to lack of understanding, pressing demands from others, or the pull of funding opportunities. Each director and officer owes a fiduciary duty of obedience to the nonprofit’s mission as part of his or her governing leadership. This is the third and final fiduciary responsibility, concluding our series on the legal responsibilities of a nonprofit organization’s directors and officers: the duties of care, loyalty, and obedience.
When does a nonprofit director or officer owe loyalty to the organization, and just how much loyalty? The general answer is that by serving a nonprofit, directors and officers put on their “hat” (or role) to serve the nonprofit with faithful allegiance, continually, steadfastly, and without interruption except in the event of occasional conflicts that may arise. This article continues our series on the three fiduciary duties of directors and officers of a nonprofit corporation, focuses on the duty of loyalty.
You’ve been asked to serve as a nonprofit director or officer, or perhaps you are already doing so. What legal responsibilities do you take on as a director or officer? In legal terminology, these responsibilities are known as “fiduciary” duties, the first of which is the duty of care. Additional fiduciary duties of loyalty and obedience will be addressed in subsequent articles.
The Basics of Fiduciary Duties