Is Volunteering Your New Year’s Resolution?

With 2012 just around the corner, many of us start to think about New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps you’re thinking about contributing to your community by becoming a board member for a local charity or non-profit group. Or maybe you already sit on a volunteer board, but you want to learn more about your role and responsibilities.

Clicklaw can help! If you’re considering becoming a board member of a charity or non-profit group,  check out this video below called Welcome Aboard: The Role and Responsibilities of Board Members, produced by the Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick.

Welcome Aboard from PLEIS NB on Vimeo.

This video provides an overview of the important role of a board of directors in a charity or non-profit organization. Julie is asked to consider joining the board of directors of the local animal shelter. Although she occasionally volunteers, she feels like she needs more information about the work of the board before she agrees to join. Julie turns to her father and others involved in charities and non-profit organizations to learn more about the commitment she would be making and the rewarding experiences that can come from being a board member.

Welcome Aboard HandbookThere is also a Welcome Aboard handbook in pdf format that is a good companion piece for this video. This 36 page handbook provides worksheets that can help you decide if the board opportunity you’re exploring is the right fit for you. It also includes information for board members on your rights and duties, and worksheets that you can use to better understand your role in your organization.

Volunteers and the LawThe People’s Law School publishes a booklet called Volunteers and the Law: A Guide for Volunteers, Organizations and Boards. This booklet includes information on a wide range of topics, including a section on your responsibilities as a board member (see chapter 4).

Charity CentralAnother really useful resource is the website Charity Central. Produced by the Legal Resource Centre in Alberta, Charity Central offers information in a modular format, so you can learn about the requirements of the Income Tax Act in the areas of receipting, fundraising, record keeping, and accountability and transparency practices. They also have checklists you can download, including Self-Diagnostic Packs that can help small to mid-sized charities to assess their current accountability and transparency practices.

Clicklaw has these and other resources that you can use to learn more about being a volunteer board member in your community. Have a look and use these to make your New Year’s resolution one you can keep!

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