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How to check if you have conflicts of interest

In this step from the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission learn the three things to consider if you have a conflict of interest.
Two children with disabilities are seated at a table, hugging. One child is smiling towards the camera. The other child's face is extremely close to the first child and their open eyes are staring at the first child's cheek.
© ACNC

To effectively manage conflicts of interest, we first need to know how to identify them.

To decide if you have a conflict of interest, consider these 3 things:

  • The charity’s purposes,
  • Your personal interests, and
  • Your duties as a board member.

Next, consider how these relate to each other and where they may overlap.

Diagram with 'Conflict of interest?' in centre circle. Three circles branch directly from this centre circle. They are labelled: 'Your charity's purposes'; 'Your interests'; and 'Your duties'.

If you think there is a chance that your interests may conflict with the interests of the charity (even at some point in the future), you should bring this up when you speak with the charity about joining the board.

In Step 2.1, we covered the duties and responsibilities of board members. Following these duties will help ensure you and the charity’s board can respond appropriately to, or even avoid, conflicts of interest.

For example, a board member cannot improperly use their position to gain an advantage for themselves or someone else, or to act in a way that causes harm or detriment to the charity.

Case study

Your charity is seeking a new CEO. You are a board member in charge of recruitment for the position and notice a friend of yours has applied for the role.

You know this is a conflict of interest because a board member cannot improperly use their position to gain an advantage for themselves or someone else, or to act in a way that causes harm or detriment to the charity.

You have to manage this conflict of interest in case your friend is the best candidate for the role and gets appointed.

What can you do to demonstrate that the conflict has been managed properly in the recruitment process?

Discuss your answers in the group chat.

© ACNC
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