Planning a fundraiser?

Fundraising is an important source of capital for many organizations. But if done improperly, it can have an adverse impact on an organization’s assets. When establishing your fundraising goals, discuss the tax and legal implications with your insurance agent, accountant, and attorney.

Ask your insurance agent and attorney about premises liability issues. If someone is injured while attending your event, you could be held liable. With a clear focus on safety, analyze your event from start to finish. Some questions to consider are:
  • What are the potential hazards at the event site?
  • What kind of activities will take place? Do they require permits?
  • Who will attend? Will anyone require special accommodations?
  • What kind of food and beverages will be available? How will you serve them?
  • Will you serve alcohol? Do you have liquor liability coverage and proper licenses?
  • What kind of entertainment will you have?
  • How will you manage security issues, emergencies, parking, and traffic control?

Managing the safety of your event may require a team approach. Identify key personnel, and assign specific tasks to them. Keep a watchful eye on parents who may volunteer at your event, and make sure they’re aware of your safety expectations.

When working with partners or vendors, be sure everyone understands their responsibilities. Review all outside contractors’ insurance arrangements. Get certificates of insurance from all vendors indicating that they have liability coverage with limits equal to or greater than what you carry. Review any contractual indemnification clauses, such as hold-harmless agreements or waivers of subrogation, with your attorney before agreeing to them.

Know your donors. Understand what they’re donating and what they may expect in return. Know the reputations of large contributors, and evaluate the impact their reputation may have on your organization. Before you accept donated goods for resale or use, discuss potential limitations and exclusions of your policy with your insurance agent.

The Nonprofit Risk Management Center offers publications in their e-store that can help you understand the risk management issues involved in hosting fund-raising events:

  • No Strings Attached: Untangling the Risks of Fund-Raising and Collaboration
  • Managing Special Event Risks: Ten Steps to Safety
You can also download State Liability Laws for Charitable Organizations and Volunteers at

The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as all encompassing, or suitable for all situations, conditions, and environments. Please contact us at or your attorney if you have any questions. The article may not be linked to, copied, reproduced, republished, posted, or distributed in any way by non-policyholders of Markel®, without permission.