Resources

Nonprofit D&O: What’s New and What You Need to Know

Nonprofit Directors’ and Officers’ liability coverage (D&O”) has evolved from the early days when only a slightly customized corporate form was offered to nonprofit buyers. Today nonprofit D&O is often the first coverage purchased by start-up nonprofits and regarded as a “must-have” coverage in many nonprofit insurance portfolios. Attend this webinar to learn about how the coverage has changed … Continued

Fear Not: Understanding the Risk of Personal Liability

By Melanie Lockwood Herman The risk of personal criminal or civil liability on the part of individual public entity leadership members is small but difficult to quantify. And it is important to note that exercising poor judgment, relying on an expert whose advice is later determined to be faulty, or making a decision based on … Continued

Cyber Liability: Internet Killed the Radio Star

By Erin Gloeckner Remember the first music video that premiered on MTV? The Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star” questioned the impact of new technology on the music industry. Technology and music videos have come a long way since then, and cyber culture continues to be both a benefit and a burden for public entities … Continued

Hitting the Tweet Spot: Managing Social Media Risk

By Emily Stumhofer and Melanie Lockwood Herman The only way to dodge social media risk these days is to abstain from posting, peeking and, with a new ruling from the National Labor Relations Board, liking! And few employers or employees are choosing abstinence these days according to a recent poll. The 2014 Pew Internet Project … Continued

Liability and the Board: What Governing Teams Need to Know

By Melanie Lockwood Herman With more than 1.5 million registered, tax-exempt organizations in the U.S., it’s likely that many times that number of Americans currently serve on nonprofit boards. Board service involves a commitment of time, attention, enthusiasm, and in many cases, a personal financial contribution. When you serve on a board you’re likely to … Continued

Data Privacy and Cyber Liability: What You Don’t Know Puts Your Mission at Risk

By Erin Gloeckner and Melanie Lockwood Herman If you were a long-time donor to a nonprofit, and just learned that your credit card details provided to the nonprofit to make a donation are now in the hands of a hacker, would you ever trust that organization again? In an article about nonprofits and sensitive data … Continued

Travel Safe: Managing the Legal Risks that Arise from International Operations

by Jefferson C. Glassie, Esq., FASAE, and partner Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, LLP Nonprofit organizations are becoming increasingly active in global activities, which are very complex because of cultural, linguistic, operational, and risk issues. Adding to the complexity are legal issues. When does United States law apply, and when does the law of the local … Continued

Waivers and Young Participants

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Except in very rare instances*, a contract signed by a minor** is voidable by the minor until he or she reaches the age of majority. A “voidable” contract is legally binding on both parties unless the minor chooses to void the contract, at which time it will no longer be enforced. … Continued

Employee or Independent Contractor

By the Nonprofit Risk Management Center What’s the Difference and Why Does It Matter? Misclassifying employees as “independent contractors” can get a nonprofit financial hot water with the U.S. Department of Labor, the applicable state DOL or both. If federal or state regulators determine the nonprofit has mistakenly misclassified employees as contractors, enforcement personnel may … Continued

Legal Advice

By the Nonprofit Risk Management Center When and Why You Need It From time to time, every nonprofit needs legal advice. Whether administered as a vaccine—to ward off or prevent violations of law or other missteps by the nonprofit—or as an antidote—to help the nonprofit survive harm that has already infected its operation, sage legal … Continued

Drafting a Memorandum of Understanding

By the Nonprofit Risk Management Center An effective Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) prevents misunderstandings and disputes by clarifying the expectations of the partners. The process of developing an MOU is an instructive and potentially invaluable experience in partnering. You will learn how responsive your partner will be—are your calls returned promptly? Does your partner give … Continued

What Basic Insurance Coverage Should a Nonprofit Consider?

By the Nonprofit Risk Management Center  The first issue for any nonprofit seeking to purchase insurance is to find an experienced, trustworthy insurance agent or broker who understands and specializes in serving nonprofit organizations. Nonprofits are different from commercial businesses and public agencies, and are best served by an insurance professional who appreciates those differences … Continued

Employee Handbooks: Risk Management Road Maps

By the Nonprofit Risk Management Center  Creating written workplace policies and procedures that are legally up-to-date and easy to follow is as important as having adequate insurance. Policies that are clearly communicated to staff and consistently applied serve to safeguard against improvised solutions that can result in a lawsuit. Written policies are the starting point … Continued

Year-Round Tips for Sports/Recreation Programs

By the Nonprofit Risk Management Center Sample waivers, check lists and practical help with topics identified here can be found in Playing to Win, A Risk Management Guide for Nonprofit Sports and Recreation Programs. The book aims to help the program administrator and leader, whether in a sports organization or other nonprofit, determine effective, practical … Continued

Protecting Workers Who Are Victims of Domestic Violence

By Jennifer Chandler Hauge Scene: Your nonprofit. Situation: The phone rings. Your administrative assistant tells you she/he is not coming in today. This isn’t the first time this has happened. This employee has missed a few days here and there due to “illness” or “doctors visits,” but this is the first time she/he has been … Continued

Have You Renewed Your Nonprofits Corporate Status?

By Jennifer Chandler Hauge Most states require nonprofit corporations to file an annual report with the state in order to maintain the nonprofit corporation’s good standing in that state. If you fail to submit the annual report, the state is unlikely to remind you. Instead, you may discover down the road that unbeknownst to you, … Continued

How Long Should You Keep Out-dated (Expired) Insurance Policies?

By the Nonprofit Risk Management Center In the event you need to file a claim, could you quickly put your hands on all insurance policies that might cover an incident, including expired claims? Insurance policies cover events that are addressed by claims presented to the carrier at some time in the future. By the time … Continued

Employment Law Issues Continue To Pose Risks

By the Nonprofit Risk Management Center Employment practices lawsuits continue to be among the more prevalent and most draining legal actions that a nonprofit is likely to face. Discrimination claims filed with the EEOC rose 9% in 2007 — the biggest jump in close to a decade. Nearly one-third of those claims included an allegation … Continued

Financial Risk Red Flags

By Melanie Lockwood Herman The article below is excerpted from the Nonprofit Risk Management Center’s brand-new book, “Financial Risk Management: A Guide for Nonprofit Executives.” To read more about the book and order a copy for your desk or copies for your entire leadership team, click here: The finance-related risks facing nonprofits are far from … Continued

Managing Risk in Challenging_Times

By the Nonprofit Risk Management Center Team  In the past weeks, the financial markets have taken us on a wild ride. At the Center we’ve counseled several organizations coming to grips with the impact of this changing financial reality. As each of us braces our organizations for the anticipated, yet still unknown effects of the … Continued

Be Proactive in Times of Crisis

By the Nonprofit Risk Management Center Team  The unexpected happens. Even with insightful planning and sound risk management—people are injured, fires destroy, and investments evaporate. When “stuff happens,” savvy nonprofits know that action is needed and that action has to be communicated to stakeholders. Speaking recently about the challenges posed by the economy, Rebecca Rimel, … Continued

Front-Line Risk Managers in Senior Service

By the Nonprofit Risk Management Center  Individuals who regularly visit older individuals and who witness family situations, living conditions, and physical and mental changes obtain a valuable opportunity to detect serious consequences of aging before serious consequences can result. One of the most serious consequences of aging has little to do with the physical and … Continued

The Essence of Youth Protection: Rules, Reporting and Consequences

By John C. Patterson Organizations are obsessed with ferreting out sexual predators and preventing them access to young people. Unfortunately, in their zeal to do this, organizations focus too much on the sexual predator, and not enough on the safety of the children they want to protect. Nearly every organization that offers services to children … Continued

Doing Good or Doing Business,‹ Or Both?

By the Nonprofit Risk Management Center  Whether it’s a nonprofit acting like a for-profit, or a for-profit acting like a nonprofit, to survive in today’s environment both nonprofits and for-profits are borrowing ideas from each other. For-profits are eager to appear “mission based” to consumers who may be more likely to purchase products that claim … Continued

The Culture of Reflection: Lessons Learned from Recent Headlines

By the Nonprofit Risk Management Center Team  While it’s human nature to want to look away or think “this couldn’t happen to me” when you witness or read about another nonprofit’s misfortune, dedicated leaders should commit to adopting a “culture of reflection” that embraces the lessons in unfortunate events. At the Center we’ve been asked … Continued

The Taxman Cometh

By the Nonprofit Risk Management Center Team  What’s on the agenda for the IRS this year? Lois Lerner, the Director of Exempt Organizations, Internal Revenue Service, addressed a gathering of lawyers and accountants in Washington, D.C. last week to share how the IRS views the impact of the economy on the charitable sector and how … Continued

Contractor or Employee? Time to Get it Right

By Melanie Lockwood Herman  It’s nice to know that you’ve answered correctly, particularly on matters over which the Internal Revenue Service has authority. But when it comes to classifying workers as either employees or independent contractors, many nonprofit leaders select the more convenient option. Instead of holding your breath and hoping that the IRS will … Continued

People Who Need People: Are you feeling lucky?

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Nonprofit management experts often direct “nonprofits” to take specific steps to improve their governance, internal operations, strategic planning and fundraising activities. But as we well know, the “nonprofit” itself is incapable of “doing” anything—it’s the people behind the desks, on the other end of the phone, and seated around the board … Continued

Conquer Your Fear with Familiarity

By Melanie Lockwood Herman I’ve often remarked that, in the absence of fear, few nonprofit leaders would look to the Nonprofit Risk Management Center for advice and assistance. Fear motivates leaders to attend risk management workshops, purchase online tools, and read the books and guides we publish. Yes, fear can be a good thing, but … Continued

Reality Check: The Myth of Multitasking and Debunking The Blame Game

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Feedback from a reader of the NRMC’s eNews reminded me of one theme in one of the most thought-provoking “books” currently residing on my electronic reading device. The book, by Joseph T. Hallinan is titled: Why We Make Mistakes: How We Look Without Seeing, Forget Things in Seconds, and Are All … Continued

Conquering the Fear of Scrutiny

By Melanie Lockwood Herman I Would Prefer That You Not Look To err is human. And to fear scrutiny of our shortcomings is human nature. Although the popularity of reality TV shows suggests otherwise, most people value their privacy and would prefer to keep television cameras out of their homes. It should not be surprising … Continued

People Who Need People

A SOURCE for Tools, Advice, and Training to control risks… so you can Focus on your Nonprofit’s mission.   June 29, 2011 People Who Need People By Melanie Lockwood Herman Without people the mission of your nonprofit is all promise and no action. As a result, you’re probably well aware of the importance of effective … Continued

Baby, It’s Hot Outside

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Eight long months ago, in an article titled “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” I wrote about how increasingly cold temperatures prompted me to reflect on the idea that thoughtful planning and goal setting go “hand in glove” with effective risk management. Now that the temperatures in the Mid-Atlantic are hovering uncomfortably close … Continued

No Surprises in Volunteer Management

By Erin Gloeckner Volunteers are at the heart of most nonprofits, but your nonprofit’s heart may beat a dangerous rhythm without volunteer risk management. Every nonprofit with volunteers is at risk of experiencing these surprises: The risk of a volunteer abusing a client The risk of a volunteer’s actions harming the nonprofit’s reputation The risk … Continued

Guns in the Workplace: Protect Your Mission

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Last week a RISK eNews reader wrote to inquire about the intersection of “conceal and carry” laws and the desire of a nonprofit to provide a violence and weapon-free workplace. All 50 states, but not the District of Columbia, have adopted laws that generally permit individuals to carry loaded and concealed … Continued

Liability Trends for Nonprofit Organizations

Liability Trends for Nonprofit Organizations by Eric Schall Employees. Former employees. Donors. Grantors. Third parties. Fellow board members. You probably don’t like to think of them as liability risks to your nonprofit organization, yet all of them can make your nonprofit the target of a lawsuit. Such lawsuits can easily cost a nonprofit organization hundreds … Continued

Myths of Volunteer Risk Management ‹ Part 3

Myths of Volunteer Risk Management — Part 3 by Hal Denton and Fiona Lally This is the third in a series of articles concerning myths about volunteer liability. This installment covers the concept of agency as it relates to volunteer activities and how an organization should address its potential liability for the actions of its … Continued

Myths of Volunteer Risk Management ‹ Part 2

Myths of Volunteer Risk Management — Part 2 by Hal Denton and Fiona Lally This is the second of a six-part series on common myths associated with the risks of using volunteers in nonprofit organizations. We’ll look at each myth for its impact on liability assessment, the purchase of insurance, and risk management planning. Myth … Continued

Private, Keep Out!

Private, Keep Out! Meeting Your Clients’ Expectations of Privacy Online by Dennis M. Kirschbaum, ARM I would not call myself a runner. Yes, I do jog for exercise a few times a week, but to me a runner is someone who competes in races, wears a number, and has the special shorts and shirts purchased … Continued

Tell Me About It: Communicating With Key Constituencies During a Lawsuit

The article below is excerpted from a new publication available from the Nonprofit Risk Management Center, The Best Defense: 10 Steps to Surviving a Lawsuit. The article addresses the topic covered in Step 6: Communicate with Constituencies. Receiving notice of a lawsuit can be terribly upsetting. Your first inclination may be to start talking with … Continued

Increasing Your Liability Protection

Increasing Your Liability Protection Excess vs. umbrella limits By George L. Head, Ph.D. Special Advisor, Nonprofit Risk Management Center

Who Can Sue a Nonprofit Board?

One of the myths associated with nonprofit D&O exposures is that there are few sources of claims since nonprofits don’t have shareholders. While it is true that the vast majority of lawsuits filed against nonprofit boards are filed by current and former employees (alleging wrongful employment practices), nonprofits serve large and varied constituencies to which … Continued