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non-profit liability issues

22 years 10 months ago #94609 by Publisher
We also just added a category in our PTO marketplace on "PTO/PTA Insurance." I imagine any company listed there will be glad to answer questions for you, as well.

Here's a link:


[This message has been edited by Publisher (edited 04-13-2001).]
22 years 11 months ago #94608 by JHB
Replied by JHB on topic RE: non-profit liability issues
Good, glad it was helpful. And, don't worry about posting it here versus there. I certainly didn't want to embarrass you. The different areas take a little getting used to. Tim, the Publisher, can move it over if he wants. The main thing is that you are participating and that you are getting information you need. Have a great day!
22 years 11 months ago #94607 by Sims
Replied by Sims on topic RE: non-profit liability issues
Thank You so much for the information. I am embarressed to say I did post that in the wrong spot. Not to good on navigating or spelling. You gave me the exact advice I was looking for. Thanks for helping Shannon
22 years 11 months ago #94606 by JHB
Replied by JHB on topic RE: non-profit liability issues
If you visit Sandra Pfau's websit at, there's a link "Just for PTO's" that has some good information on incoroporating to reduce liability.

Sandra was one of the presenters at the recent PTO Today Show. She has a lot of experience in this area and was wonderful about answering our questions during the session on legal and tax issue.
22 years 11 months ago #94605 by JHB
Replied by JHB on topic RE: non-profit liability issues
Here's a re-post of my "sharing of best thing learned at the conference". It might be a good starting point for you. (Tim, you might consider moving this topic to "Day to Day Management". Lots of people seem to be interested in liability issues, and that might be a better fit.)

Great show - for me, one of the best sessions was the chance to ask questions of a lawyer and an IRS person. My research had gotten mixed results regarding liability and the need for incorporation and/or insurance. It still boils down to looking at the risks and individually deciding what is necessary, but at least I feel I have the facts now. Listed below is a recap of what I learned:

1) The Volunteer Protection Act of 1997 offers some assistance. However, it doesn't really provide protection against lawsuits but more a viable defense if you are sued (and if you did everything right).

2) School's insurance policy - many well-meaning school staff will tell you that PTO events held on school property are covered. This may or may not be true. Be sure YOU personally see the policy.

3) 501(c)(3) status - great for many reasons, but does not have anything to do with reducing liability.

4)Incorporation - handled at the state level and makes the organization a single legal entity rather than a collection of individuals. So it moves liability away from the officers as individuals. To me, this seems very worth pursuing. In our state, it's a $25 fee and 1 or 2 page form to fill out. I just need to check on annual reporting requirements and make sure they aren't too burdensome.

5) Association or Event Insurance - I talked to many PTO representatives who DO get this. One person told me they pay $80 per year for a policy. For us, I think this is worth exploring, once I find out what the school's policy really does cover.

Much appreciation to Sandra Pfau Englund ( and Steven Pontrbriand (IRS) as presenters. Thanks again for the show! It was great.

22 years 11 months ago #94604 by Sims
non-profit liability issues was created by Sims
We are a fairly new PTO and have recieved a non profit status for tax purposes. This is the PTO's second year of organizing and/or donating money and time to events such as carnivals, assemblies, plays, and various supplies and school equipment. My question is can we be held liable for anything personally or as an organization such as if a child gets hurt at our carnival which is a school fundraiser or I should say PTO fundraiser? We do not have rides just games and food. Or can we be held liable if we donate money for the school to by a piece of equipment and while using that equiopment a child gets hurt? Are there laws regarding this? Would anyone more experienced please offer their advice? This is my first year of involement so thank you in advance.
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