The Significance of Giving Tuesday
While most of us may be in the midst of planning our Thanksgiving menu or trying to get a jump-start on our holiday shopping list, nonprofits across the globe are gearing up for Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday — which falls on November 28th this year — marks a unique opportunity for nonprofit and social services organizations to engage donors, raise funds, and advance their missions. In 2022, U.S. nonprofit organizations alone raised an estimated $3.1 billion in donations on Giving Tuesday — a 15% increase compared to 2021. Over 37 million Americans, drawn together by a shared purpose, took part last year by donating, raising funds, and drawing awareness to various causes and needs.
For the nonprofit sector, Giving Tuesday is a significant part of the final quarter of the year, which is when many nonprofits and charitable organizations raise the majority of their funds. Unfortunately, for nonprofits, end-of-year is also when they experience increased risks and exposures.
Common Insurance Risks and Exposures for Nonprofits
Nonprofit organizations, despite their altruistic goals, face a range of risks and exposures that can affect their operations and financial stability. Many of these risks are challenges nonprofits face throughout the year, but the likelihood increases alongside large fundraising efforts and other events. Here are just a few of the things nonprofits need to consider and guard against this giving season:
- Volunteer Accidents and Exposures: One of the hallmarks of nonprofit organizations is their reliance on volunteers, and during the holiday season, many nonprofits see a surge in volunteer support. Even with proper training, planning, and preparation, accidents can happen, and a volunteer might get hurt or sick as a result of their volunteer responsibilities. There’s also always a risk of a volunteer accidentally or intentionally harming someone else or damaging property. In these situations, the nonprofit organization could be held responsible for expenses and damages.
- Incidents at Fundraising Events: Many nonprofits coordinate large fundraising events during the holiday season — from food drives and races to concerts and formal dinners. These events leave nonprofits vulnerable to a range of liability claims, including injuries, property damage, and theft. Let’s say, for example, a nonprofit throws an elaborate fundraising dinner at a local venue. A guest knocks over a candle, and an accidental fire quickly breaks out, which causes damage to the building and injures several guests. The nonprofit could find themselves facing significant medical costs, as well as repair and replacement costs for the property damage. They may also have to shoulder legal expenses if the venue or a guest decides to sue. Whether nonprofits host events at their own property or off-site, they need to consider how they’ll address things like property damage or injuries, should the unexpected happen.
- Car Accidents Involving Volunteers or Staff: As fundraising or event activity increases, so does time on the road for both volunteers and employees. What happens if one of them gets involved in a car accident and gets hurt while driving to or from an event or picking up and distributing donations? The nonprofit could be held liable for medical bills and other damages, as well as the costs of legal defenses if the accident results in a lawsuit.
- Leadership Mistakes and Negligence: The directors and officers of nonprofit organizations make critical decisions related to donations, fundraising, and other business operations. Nonprofit leaders can be held personally responsible for any mistakes, negligence, and professional oversights that could result in serious legal issues for their organizations. A nonprofit board, for example, might make a well-intended decision to invest a significant portion of their organization’s funds into a risky business venture. The venture fails, and the nonprofit experiences significant financial losses. The nonprofit’s donors and stakeholders could then bring a lawsuit against the board members, alleging mismanagement of funds and seeking restitution.
- Cybersecurity Threats: Nonprofits often process donations and store donor information electronically. This makes them vulnerable to data breaches and cyberattacks that can compromise sensitive information and harm the organization’s reputation. For instance, someone breaches a nonprofit’s database. Not only do they siphon nonprofit funds, but they also steal personal donor data, including credit card information. The nonprofit is financially devastated and is now responsible for the costs of notifying affected donors and providing credit-monitoring services. They may also face costly legal action.
Protection Through Specialized Nonprofit Insurance
As nonprofits gear up for Giving Tuesday and other end-of-year fundraising campaigns, it’s crucial to be prepared for potential risks and exposures that may arise. With the right insurance coverage, nonprofits can guard against common risks and ensure smooth operations during large fundraising campaigns — and throughout the rest of the year.
MiniCo has worked closely with nonprofit and social services organizations for nearly five decades and understands the subtle nuances and challenges of mission-driven organizations. Our Nonprofit and Social Services Insurance program is the most comprehensive in the marketplace, offering tailored coverage to fit any need and budget. Get coverage details, submission requirements, and applications at our website.