Not-for-profit school boards: What are my obligations as a voluntary board member?

  • This article outlines strategies school board members can implement to assist in meeting their obligations.
  • Volunteer board members are treated the same as paid board members from a legal perspective.
  • Where a not-for-profit school is a registered charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), board members also need to comply with their requirements.

So, you've been asked to volunteer as a member of a not-for-profit school board. You're probably asking yourself: what responsibilities come with the role?

The simple answer is there are many responsibilities. However, provided you are familiar with them, take the time to properly carry out your duties and act with the best interests of the not-for-profit school in mind, you will be discharging your obligations.

What is a not-for-profit?

A not-for-profit is an organisation that does not operate for the profit, personal gain or other benefit of particular people (i.e. its members, the people who run it or their friends or relatives).

A not-for-profit doesn't have shareholders but does have a set of defined objects that it pursues.

From a legal perspective, a not-for-profit is commonly structured as an incorporated or unincorporated association, company (generally, a public company limited by guarantee), trust, or entity established under letters patent.

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