Charities do a benevolent act of helping underprivileged communities and people around the world. Government support alone would not be sufficient to uplift the lives of poor people, combat diseases and preserve the environment where they are threatened without the assistance of these non-profit charitable organizations.
The role of private groups is always important where basic needs have to be met. In the U.S., more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations are registered based on data from the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS). These are public charities, private foundations, fraternal organizations, civic leagues and chambers of commerce among others.
Who Makes Up a Charity?
A charity is made up of trustees or officers who make sure that the goals of the organization are met. These officers include the directors, board members, governors and committee members.
Specifically, these trustees lead the organization and are the main decision makers who ensure that the appropriate projects get implemented to achieve the charity’s objectives. And while they already possess certain skills and experience, these trustees continue to learn new skills that enable them to contribute more to the organizatio during their stint as officers.
Anybody 18 years old or older possessing a wide range of skills and interests can become a trustee. Commitment to the organization is highly important. One also needs to possess a clean record because people with a criminal record such as those previously convicted of deception or dishonesty are not qualified to hold a position in a charity, according to a San Diego criminal lawyer from Sevenslegal.
Responsibilities of Trustees
Trustees have total control of the charity. They have varied responsibilities but they can delegate tasks to their staff, sub-committees and the management as in the case of larger charities.
Other than creating a vision and working towards the organization’s mission, these officers are responsible for ensuring that the charity has enough funds and that these funds are spent on the right projects to meet the charity’s objectives. Funds raised by the charity have to be properly accounted for as they can be held criminally liable should there be issues such as in providing receipts or statements to donors.
The officers are responsible as well for following what the law requires such as preparing reports and accounts that they send to the appropriate governing body of charities and adhering to their constitution’s rules.
Trustees do not receive income from the organization although they can claim personal expenses in line with their duty. They are also not allowed to become an employee of the nonprofit charity. It is for this reason that any officer needs to be committed to his role to support the charity even with the knowledge that he or she cannot receive any benefit from it. Accepting the role of a trustee should be done out of good will and a sense of civic duty.
There are exceptions, however, such as when a charity’s constitution allows trustees to be paid for certain work they perform. As an example, an officer who is a fundraiser can get paid for organizing events to raise funds.