I've been working at a non-profit for 2 years. The first year was great but I did notice some things that I thought were a bit 'shady'. I report direct to the Exec Director and pay his expenses. Some of them I thought were excessive to say the least and very vague about what they were for e.g. lunch expenses, breakfasts etc. A lot of the time he doesn't get receipts for things either. Unfortunately I log all the expenses on the system and am responsible for that part of the job.

The last year has troubled me more the way he talks about all the staff and I've seen him work it so he gets rid of certain staff by saying that there's no more funding for them.

Seeing as I see all the funding that comes in this isn't true. What happens is the person he doesn't like goes and then he re-advertises the job with a different job title.

Problem for me is that he's turned on me a bit. Why - because I question his expenses and when he asks for advice about getting rid of someone I try to say that it's not ethical etc.

There's also a board that he should inform about certain things but I know he doesn't tell them everything and has even told me not to tell them certain things.

It's put me in an uncomfortable position and it's eating me up. Anyone else been in a similar position. Bear in mind - there's no higher ups I can go to, other than the board.

As I decide what to do -- look for another job or think about whistle blowing -- what is the best way to approach the board (if I go that way), and what are some likely repercussions?

  • Do you think I've not been here long enough to leave? Dec 21, 2015 at 21:03
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    Anyone else been in a similar position. is not really an on topic question. Neither is "What should I do" which is what I sense your question actually is, even though you didn't say it. If you have an on-topic question, please edit your post to include it.
    – BSMP
    Dec 21, 2015 at 21:04
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    Does the organization have any kind of governance/oversight committee/group/process (in most companies, even the CEO has to answer to audit/governance rules)? Would a lack of receipts for those expenses cause trouble in an IRS audit?
    – alroc
    Dec 21, 2015 at 21:04
  • Yep there is a committee but as I said he doesn't always tell them things. Dec 21, 2015 at 21:07
  • BSMP I changed the question to ask one sorry about that Dec 21, 2015 at 21:07

2 Answers 2


Non profits quite often go into grey areas, mostly because they're not looked at as hard and are sometimes used as private piggy banks for years. They also get very political sometimes because of the need for funding. So (speaking from where I am) This is not an unusual issue.

Ultimately if you're in charge of keeping the books balanced or monitoring the money and you think something shady is happening, you should look for another job. Conceivably if it all falls to pieces you might be implicated.

As far as whistle blowing goes, that's another story, you would need to look hard before accusing someone of criminal activities, and even harder at who you're accusing them to. These people usually have strong ties with the board who all might be getting what they view as normal perks for their hard work. So you could get yourself in a lot of strife. Unfortunately quite often whistle blowing is seen as a disgruntled employee by those who actually matter, and it's usually the finance people who take the blame rather than the boss who may have a few uncomfortable moments but probably not much else.

Getting fired and looking for a new job without a reference and tainted by vague problems with financial matters (however undeserved) goes beyond uncomfortable. Particularly if that's your profession.

If it was me, I'd look for a new job and leave as quietly as possible making sure my own work is not the least questionable if anyone investigates in the future.

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    Thanks - so I guess I'm not being paranoid? When I ask questions my boss looks at me like I'm stupid. He says I worry too much. Dec 21, 2015 at 22:11
  • @JoeStrazzere I wish I could say that, but I've had quite a few contracts with non profits, and have found it otherwise, more so here, but even in first World countries. In less developed countries, skimming off the top seems to be almost the norm.
    – Kilisi
    Dec 21, 2015 at 22:11
  • Sorry Joe some examples are: not giving references to staff who leave, talking about staff e.g saying they have mental problems, playing golf when he should be at work and getting me/others to lie for him, making things up for funding Dec 22, 2015 at 0:33

I have close personal knowledge of almost precisely this situation occurring. The person in question processed accounts payable for a company that was bought out. Long story short, the CEO of the acquiring company turned out to be a prolific con artist with a number of serious frauds to his name and ensured that the accounts payable were done by someone with no professional qualification in same, because a professionally-qualified person would have known that what was being paid was not done appropriately.

Be very wary, and report the matter to whichever body regulates non-profits in your country immediately.

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