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May person serve as executive director of two nonprofits?

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May person serve as executive director of two nonprofits?

I am currently the part-time executive director of a small nonprofit and I have a business plan for my own nonprofit venture that I would like to start next year. Both nonprofits would serve the same community (the new one would serve other counties nearby as well). They are both "education" based and there may be a conflict of interest when it comes to funding. The workload is not my concern so much as being an E.D. at two locations. Is there any legal reason I can't remain E.D. at both places while this is happening? 

We have previously said it is not a particularly good idea to have one person serve as president of the board of two separate nonprofits at the same time except in unusual circumstances. (See Question:  “Should a person be president of two nonprofits at the same time?”) This situation seems even more difficult, especially when it appears that the two organizations could be competitive in programming as well as fundraising. 

You should be sure that the board of your present employer is aware of your intention. If you don’t get their okay, you could be charged with a breach of fiduciary duty for usurping a corporate opportunity for your present group to expand. You could also find yourself involuntarily without the option of working for two groups at the same time.

I am not aware of any legal reason you couldn’t serve as E.D. of both organizations at the same time. Lots of association managers contract with multiple associations for administrative management. But those groups are usually not competitive in program or funding, and the managers provide more administration than leadership. I would want to know a lot more about how this might work before saying it is a good idea.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

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