An older woman stands at the head of a table in a business setting. Around the table are a professional woman in a red wheelchair, a black man in a suit, a blond woman and a dark haired woman, and an older white man in a suit.

Question: Is it possible to pay board members a $100.00 per meeting stipend as a means of encouraging board membership?

A board member typically is not paid by a non-profit as a provision of serving on the board without a conflict of interest. You would have to check your secretary of state’s office to see if that is true in your state. You will also want to check your bylaws, which typically prohibit this. It is considered best practice by the IRS not to compensate your board members and if you do, you have to report that on your annual 990 filing. If they are paid more than $600 a year you would need to file a 1099 form for them. The IRS does consider “reasonable” compensation to be allowed, although they do not define what is reasonable.

There are some things you can pay board members for. You can provide them with mileage or other reimbursement for costs of attending the meeting or representing your organization in the community. You can provide them with memberships to professional organizations like NCIL and APRIL. You can provide them with materials related to representing your center in outreach, like business cards or a notebook or portfolio of information, and with polo shirts from the organization so they can represent you in the community.

Probably the area of greatest concern is that board members that receive compensation for their services as board members can lose immunity in lawsuits if your state protects volunteer board members in its Good Samaritan Act or similar law.

In the case of the SILC, board/council member compensation is addressed in Section 705 of the Rehabilitation Act as amended:

(f) COMPENSATION AND EXPENSES.—The Council may use available resources to reimburse members of the Council for reasonable and necessary expenses of attending Council meetings and performing Council duties (such as personal assistance services), and to pay reasonable compensation to a member of the Council, if such member is not employed or must forfeit wages from other employment, for each day the member is engaged in performing Council duties. 29 U.S.C. 796d

Can volunteer board members be paid?

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