Conflict of Interest Policy: Not Optional!

Do you know what your board’s conflict of interest policy includes? Do all of your board members sign a conflict of interest disclosure statement each year? Do board members regularly disclose new possible conflicts? Does your board’s policy require recusal of a board member with a conflicting interest? Is there a board process for dealing with conflicts? 

If you answered no to any of these questions, it’s time to review your conflict of interest policy! Remember, the purpose of a conflict of interest policy is to protect your camp. Having a clear policy that is routinely reviewed by the board and includes annual disclosures will help prevent potential conflicts that can negatively impact your camp.

What exactly is a conflict of interest?

conflict of interest is an actual or perceived interest by an officer, board member/director, or staff member in an action that results in, or has the appearance of resulting in, personal, organizational, or professional gain.

Here’s an example from BoardEffect:

“A board member works as an insurance agent outside of duties on the board. The organization places their commercial insurance policies with the insurance agency where the board member works full time. The insurance agency pays the insurance agent a commission for all new business that the agent brings into the agency. The agency paid a commission to the agent for the board bringing their insurance policies to the agency. In this situation, the insurance agent has directly profited from his relationship on the board.”

What should a conflict of interest policy include?

A conflict of interest policy should, at a minimum, require those with a conflict to disclose the conflict and excuse that individual from voting on such matters involving that conflict.

Where can I learn more?

The National Council of Nonprofits is a great resource to learn more about conflict of interest policies.

JCamp 180’s Knowledge Center also has a number of conflict of interest templates that you can use to create or strengthen your existing policy. Check your individual state rules for corporations. Some states require specific language that must be included in the conflict of interest policy and detail how conflicts are to be managed. 

Written by Tara Acker. Tara is a Mentor with JCamp 180. Her focus areas at JCamp 180 include Jewish Camp Branding, Day Camps, financial literacy for Jewish Camps, and organizational development. 

Who we are: JCamp 180 is a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF). Our goal is to significantly enhance the long-term effectiveness of nonprofit Jewish camps in North America. To meet this goal, we provide affiliated Jewish camps with consulting services, annual conferences, shared resources, professional development, and matching grant opportunities. Find more at