Hallmark #2: Heralds A Risk Management Champion
The following action steps/tools will help you transform your nonprofit into an organization that heralds a risk management champion:
- To identify an existing champion:
- Sponsor a “Name the Champion” contest among staff and volunteers, using a “suggestion box” (either a physical box or an email box).
- Pay attention to who attends external workshops on risk management topics or internal training sessions and contact them about serving as the champion.
- Include assistance with the identification of a risk management champion as an element of each management employee’s performance goals.
- Identify paid or volunteer leaders who are most enthusiastic about risk management and safety concerns, ideally knowledgeable, practical, caring and thoughtful employees, Potential champions may be the “worriers” such as those who insist on ‘a pound of prevention’ or those who are most cautious about launching new programs or venturing into new activities.
- Develop a succession plan so that there is never a void in risk management leadership.
- To cultivate a risk management champion in your nonprofit:
- Ensure that the champion has an avenue for expressing his/her ideas to those directly in a position to influence change. One effective way to do this is through an "Open Door Policy" or an internal grievance procedure that specifies that there will be no retaliation for employees or volunteers who "blow the whistle" or raise concerns about any issue, including financial accountability, at the nonprofit. Many states have their own statutory protections for whistleblowers, so be sure to consult with an attorney familiar with the law in your state. For resources, including sample Open Door and Whistleblower Protection policies, click here.
- Expect the champion of involve others and to gather or serve as a conduit for information from the rest of the workforce.
- Articulate the role of being the nonprofit’s risk management champion in the champion’s own performance appraisal (if paid staff) and include expectations surrounding the champion’s contribution towards risk management in the individual’s annual performance goals.
- Identify the risk management champion’s authority/ accountability.
- Determine the best route for the champion to use to bring forth suggestions or propose action on risk management concerns.
- Provide professional development opportunities to enhance the champion’s risk management knowledge and skills.
- To reward the risk management champion at your nonprofit:
- Try to make goals, tasks and recognition personal to what motivates a particular champion.
- Ensure that the champion has access to the CEO and the board in order to advocate measures that will enhance best practices in risk management.
- To make everyone (paid and volunteer staff) aware of the champion’s role:
- Encourage the risk management champion to write and/or publish periodic updates on safety and loss prevention activities.
- Schedule time on the board’s agenda for an annual update from the risk management champion.
- Schedule time on the staff’s regular meeting schedule for periodic updates from the risk management champion.