Top 5 risks to churches (and maybe your homeschool group as well)

From the Managing Your Church webpage, I learned the Top 5 Reasons Churches are Taken to Court.

Maybe they are a risk to your homeschool group as well.

In 2017, the top five reasons were

(1) sexual abuse of a child,

(2) property disputes,

(3) personal injuries,

(4) zoning disputes, and

(5) insurance disputes.

 

The article goes on to say:

Churches must be aggressive (in preventing child abuse). Any reasonable suspicion of child abuse must be reported immediately. It doesn’t matter if you or your colleagues are defined as a mandatory reporter in your state or not. Report it. Transfer the risk to the state in terms of what can be done about it.

I think that advice applies to homeschool groups, as well.

Please, please protect the children in your program and get training on how to spot and deal with child abuse.

The article lists the following resources (check with your church host; they may already have some of these resources):

Reducing the Risk, a comprehensive child abuse prevention training program (available in DVD format or online streaming)

50-State Child Abuse Reporting Laws Survey for Clergy and Church Leaders (available as a PDF download or for ChurchLawAndTax.com subscribers)

Church Board Guide to a Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Policy

Child Sexual Abuse Response Plan

Draw the Line: Relational Boundaries for Safe Youth Ministry

Let’s work hard to keep children safe.

Carol Topp, CPA

HomeschoolCPA.com

Does My Homeschool Group Need Directors and Officers Insurance?

Does My Homeschool Group Need Directors and Officers Insurance?

 

Does your homeschool group need to protect your leaders? Sure you do, so you may consider purchasing Directors and Officers (D&O) insurance.

In this short podcast episode (12 minutes)  Carol Topp, the HomeschoolCPA, will explain:

  • What is D&O insurance?
  • What does D&O insurance protect?
  • When to buy D&O insurance?
  • How does being a nonprofit corporation help?
  • Article on Insurance for Homeschool Groups.

In the podcast Carol mentioned …

Money Management in a Homeschool Organization

Does your homeschool group manage their money well? Do you have a budget and know where the money is spent? Do you know how to prevent fraud? This 115 page book will help you to open a checking account, establish a budget, prevent mistakes and fraud, use software to keep the books, prepare a financial statement and hire workers. Sample forms and examples of financial statements in clear English are provided.

Click Here to request more information!

Carol Topp, CPA

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Summer reading for homeschool leaders: Homeschool Co-ops

 

This summer, I’ll be featuring one of my books for homeschool leaders every few weeks.

This week it’s my first book for homeschool leaders,

 

I published this book in 2008 with a different cover. In 2013 I updated it and chose a new cover.

 

HomeschoolCo-opsCover

Original cover

HS Co-ops Cover_400

Updated cover

This book will help homeschool leaders start and run a homeschool co-op.

It has chapters on:

Part One: Starting a Homeschool Co-op
Chapter One: Benefits of Co-ops
Chapter Two: Disadvantages of Co-ops
Chapter Three: Different Types of Co-ops
Chapter Four: Your First Planning Meeting
Chapter Five: What’s in a Name? Names, Missions

Part Two: Running a Homeschool Co-op
Chapter Six: Leadership
Chapter Seven: Co-op Offerings
Chapter Eight: Money Management
Chapter Nine: Managing Volunteers and Conflict
Chapter Ten: Ready for the Next Step? 501c3 Tax Exempt Status

Part Three: Not Burning Out
Chapter Eleven: Avoiding Burn out

Read a sample chapter

Read more about Homeschool Co-ops the book

 

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Insurance Questions for Homeschool Co-ops

 

Do you have questions about insurance for our homeschool co-op?

In this short podcast episode (10 minutes)  Carol Topp, the HomeschoolCPA, answers questions from homeschool leaders about insurance, waivers and using a church’s insurance coverage.

This podcast is an excerpt from a workshop titled Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out.

In the podcast Carol mentioned other podcast episodes in this series. Find them (#121-125) at HomeschoolCPA.com/Podcast

Carol’s article on Insurance for Homeschool Groups

Featured resource

Phone Consultation with Carol Topp, CPA

Phone Consultation: A pre-arranged phone call to discuss your questions. My most popular service for homeschool leaders. It’s like having your own homeschool expert CPA on the phone!

Cost: $75/hour to nonprofit organizations.  $100/hour to for-profit businesses. $60 minimum.

Q &A by Email:  I am willing to answer questions by email, but it is very time consuming to read and reply to emails. I charge a reduced rate of $50/hour to read and reply to emails. Minimum $25.

Contact HomeschoolCPA, Carol Topp, CPA, to arrange a telephone consultation.

Click Here to request more information!

Carol Topp, CPA

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Best of: Insurance for homeschool groups

insurance

 

Here’s a collection of my best blog posts on insurance for homeschool groups:

Start off with my article, Insurance for Homeschool Groups. It discusses the three types of insurance a homeschool organization may need.

Then read through these blog posts for more information:

Three kinds of insurance for homeschool groups

Church requires homeschool group to have insurance

Does a Release of Liability agreement really count for anything?

Insurance provider works with homeschool groups

Do you need insurance on your officers?

I know that a lot of homeschool organizations have a difficult time finding insurance. If you have had success in finding an insurance company that understands homeschool groups, please leave their name in the comments so others can benefit from your knowledge.

Thanks!

Carol Topp, CPA

Insurance and fundraising for a homeschool team

stick_figures_team_puzzle_400_clr_7003

Carol,
Our homeschool group has an engineering class that has become a finalist team in an invention competition at MIT.  The teacher needed us as a non-profit organization to “back” or “sponsor” the team. All that means is we needed to support the team (not financially, but letter of recommendation).

Now that we have become finalists it is very possible we will be selected to travel to MIT for the competition.  Our concern is liability.  Is there a way for us to continue to support the team without a worry about insurance for the travel?  Can we have parents sign a waiver of liability?
The teacher has agreed to fund raise but NOT have any of the money go through our accounting, since we need to limit our income due to the 5013c requirements.  Our income needs to stay below a certain amount. We are a large coop and so our dues add up quickly.
Mary S
Mary,
Congratulations on your Engineering teams success!

I’m not an insurance or risk expert, so I am not really sure how “sponsoring” an academic team makes your organization responsible if there is an accident while traveling. Yes, have parents sign a waiver, but that is not guarantee that you’re free of responsibility. It just reminds parents that they should be carrying medical insurance on their children.

  • Act in a responsible, safe manner and you’ll lessen the risk.
  • Ask for drivers licenses from the drivers.
  • Ask if they have speeding tickets, their own insurance, etc.
  • Have chaperones at all times, never let the kids go off by themselves, etc.

I bet you can search the internet and find a waiver and maybe even rules to follow. Ask the competition for samples of waivers or contact the other groups coming and ask for their policies.

Does your co-op have liability insurance? You should call your insurance agent and talk to him/her. They may say your group is covered under your current policy or write you a special event rider.

Limits on nonprofit income

The dollar limits the IRS imposes are for organizations that have not yet applied for 501c3 status (if gross income is under $5,000 a year, a group can be considered tax exempt without filing the application form with the IRS).

If you already have 501c3 status (and have an IRS letter to prove it), you are not limited in the dollar amount you can raise. For example, the Red Cross raises millions each year to help  in disasters.

The IRS does have dollar thresholds when filing the annual Form 990. For example if your gross income is under $50,000 you file the simple on-line 990-N form once a year. If your gross income is $50,000-$200,000, you file the Form 990-EZ. The gross income determines what form you file, but does not limit the amount you can raise.

Check with whoever told you that you had to stay under a certain dollar amount. I think he/she may be confused.

Carol Topp, CPA

Preventing child abuse in your homeschool group

Hello Carol,

Thank you so much for all the insight you have offered! I am looking for information on background checks, and creating abuse prevention policy in our homeschool co-op. I have found vague info on how to protect children, but I am looking for written policy to implement. Could you please share with me any resources on this topic you may have.
Thank you for all your time,
Heather K.
Heather,
Thank you for your kind words. I’m glad the website was helpful.

I usually recommend homeschool leaders contact a large, local church and speak with the children’s director. They will have lots of information on background checks and policies. They may even share their policy with you.

National Center for Life and Liberty (NCLL) offers a short ebook “Preventing Child Abuse in Your Ministry” by Attorney David Gibbs III. You can download it for free (after giving, name, email, address and phone number) at http://www.ncll.org/resources/free/2014/august . It was quite good and offered general guidelines of what to have in a child abuse prevention policy, but it does not have a sample policy.
You might also join this Facebook group I belong to and ask your question there:
I Am a Homeschool Group Leader https://www.facebook.com/groups/72534255742/
I hope that helps,
Carol Topp, CPA

Church requires homeschool group to have insurance

insurance
Carol,
A local church is requiring us to have insurance to rent their facility.  That has never been needed before.  Do you have any comments about or guidance for us regarding that?  I’m curious about what you’ve seen with other organizations, suggestions for getting short or long term coverage, etc.  Just what you know off the top of your head.
Thanks so much!
Natalie B in Texas

 

Natalie,

I wrote an article on insurance for homeschool groups. There are 3 types in insurance a homeschool group might be interested in buying. Sounds like you need the general liability type.
Insurance for homeschool groups

Some homeschool groups have a hard time finding insurance, but one homeschool leader found a helpful insurance company.

These blog posts I’ve written about insurance will be helpful.
http://homeschoolcpa.com/blog/insurance/

I hope that helps!

Carol Topp, CPA

Does a Release of Liability Agreement really count for anything?

Over on the I Am A homeschool Group Leader on Facebook,   Betty asked a great question:

 

Does a Release of Liability Agreement really count for anything? I see these all of the time; we had one last year as well, but with all of our insurance concerns this year I am beginning to wonder if they are valid at all. Will they hold up in court? Are they sufficient in lieu of insurance?

My reply:

The best information on using liability waivers I heard came from TJ Schmidt, an attorney with Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). I heard him speak at a homeschool convention. He explained that waivers may deter people from suing you. A member may think twice about filing a lawsuit because he or she remembered  signing a liability waiver. That may be why insurance companies require waivers; they cut down on claims and lawsuits.

Liability waivers are NOT sufficient in lieu of insurance. Waivers will not pay damages or attorney fees if there is a claim or lawsuit. That’s what insurance does.

Liability waivers also show that your organization practices due diligence. It demonstrates that you run an organizations that values safety and protection, which might be helpful in a claim or lawsuit.

Carol Topp, CPA

Insurance quote?

Hi Carol,

Our homeschool group needs liability insurance so we can continue renting space from a church.

Do you give insurance quotes, or can you direct us to someone who can?

Thanks, Janet

Janet,

I’m an accountant, not an insurance agent, but I did write several blog posts on insurance for homeschool groups.

Read the blog posts here: http://homeschoolcpa.com/blog/insurance/

You’ll find a few agencies that write policies for homeschool groups as well as advice on reducing your risk in your co-op.

Read my article Insurance for Homeschool Groups as well.

You can find it on my website HomeschoolCPA.com under Leader Tools/Articles.
http://homeschoolcpa.com/leader-tools/articles/

Carol Topp, CPA