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Facility Agility: Planning for Facility Emergencies

By Erin Gloeckner What is facility agility? Facilities might be static assets that can’t be considered agile, but nonprofit leaders must remain agile in order to resume or maintain operations in the wake of a crisis or emergency. The NRMC team has heard more than a handful of horror stories about nonprofit leaders who believed … Continued

A Blueprint for Facility Risk Management

By Eric Henkel Nonprofits own and operate many different kinds of facilities. Although in other business functions, risk may be less visible or apparent, the facilities we occupy are under our feet and above our heads every day. From warehouses to recreational spaces to commercial kitchens and traditional office space, the facilities that nonprofits occupy … Continued

Safe and Secure: Supporting International Staff

By Eric Henkel The safety and well being of employees is generally a top-of-mind concern for nonprofit leaders. When an organization deploys its staff internationally, additional uncertainty enters the already complex risk landscape. Deployed staff members may work in limited resource environments or in conditions of cultural and political instability. Issues that might seem routine … Continued

We Are the World: International Staff Screening

By Melanie Lockwood Herman The world gets very small after a while, if you stick around long enough. – Edie Falco Your goal of recruiting capable staff members who bring different perspectives and diverse backgrounds to your mission may lead you to  seek and consider applicants who have worked, lived, or even studied in a … Continued

Achieving Fiscal Fitness

Achieving Fiscal Fitness By John Gillespie This year could be a make–or break–year for nonprofits of all sizes. Whether this is the year your organization plans to expand or transitions from treading water to gaining strength, it is imperative to take the time to assess your internal staff and procedures as well as conduct a … Continued

Defining Disability

Defining Disability Supreme Court Offers Additional Insight in Recent Cases by Barbara Raimondo, JD Recently the U.S. Supreme Court handed down three decisions which narrow the definition of who is a qualified individual with a disability for purposes of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The rulings provide that if an individual is able to … Continued

ADA

Election Year Risks

Election Year Risks Avoid these Campaign Pitfalls Most nonprofit managers are aware that a charity may not directly campaign for, or against, a candidate for public office. The penalty is severe — loss of tax-exempt status. However, there is often confusion about related activity, and whether it is improper — or permissible — under IRS … Continued

Insurance Fails to Cover Drunk Driving Accident

Insurance Fails to Cover Drunk Driving Accident This article first appeared in Don Kramer’s Nonprofit Issues, and is reprinted here with permission from the publisher. For more information on Nonprofit Issues, visit Veterans of Foreign Wars Post has no insurance to defend it against a suit for injuries caused by a person drinking at the … Continued

Big Bucks or Big To Do About Nothing: CEO Compensation in the Spotlight

Big Bucks or Big “To Do” About Nothing: CEO Compensation in the Spotlight by Melanie Lockwood Herman Published stories about salaries paid to nonprofit CEOs often include scathing comments from individuals who take offense at what they regard as too-rich pay for charity leaders. And it’s not only donors, journalists and casual onlookers who take … Continued

Whats the Big Deal? The Big Deal is Governance

What’s the Big Deal? The Big Deal is Governance By Jennifer Chandler Hauge Whoa! What’s happening? The IRS has just thrown its biggest punch in over 30 years. Is your nonprofit ready to take the hit? With a quick one-two punch, the IRS has just stepped into the ring. Egged on by Congress, amidst a … Continued

What’s the Board Got to Do With it?

What’s the Board Got to Do With it? The Vital Link Between Good Governance and Risk Management By Melanie Lockwood Herman During my trip to Australia this summer I was surprised and delighted to see that risk management tops the list of key agenda items for a typical nonprofit board. At a conference for board … Continued

Good Governance Is Sound Risk Management

Good Governance Is Sound Risk Management By Jennifer Chandler Hauge Governance has been top-of-mind at the Nonprofit Risk Management Center of late. In Washington, DC, we’ve watched the governing board of “our nation’s museum,” the Smithsonian, re-organize its board, hold the CEO more accountable, and re-think the museum’s business strategies. This instance is one in … Continued

Have You Renewed Your Nonprofit’s Corporate Status?

Have You Renewed Your Nonprofit’s Corporate Status? 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 … Continued

Resources for Developing or Revising Conflict of Interest Policies

Resources for Developing or Revising Conflict of Interest Policies The following resources may be helpful in developing or revising a conflict of interest policy: Instructions to

Fiscal Responsibility and Oversight: Empower Your Board to Lead

Fiscal Responsibility and Oversight: Empower Your Board to Lead By Melanie Lockwood Herman (This article is excerpted from the Center’s brand-new book, Financial Risk Management: A Guide for Nonprofit Executives. While it is rare in a mature nonprofit for a board member to perform day-to-day bookkeeping or financial management duties (such as making journal entries … Continued

How to Bring the Power of Intuition to the Discipline of Risk Management

How to Bring the Power of Intuition to the Discipline of Risk Management By Melanie Lockwood Herman set of “steps,” or a series of mathematical calculations. Austen writes: “Conventional wisdom tells us that the road to progress is paved with systematic steps toward measurable goals and reward.” She contrasts a conventional approach with the approach … Continued

Charitable Registration: Resolve to Comply

Charitable Registration: Resolve to Comply By Don Kramer Charities soliciting charitable contributions to further their mission can be tripped up significantly if they don’t pay attention to the requirements for charitable solicitation registration. Thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia require charities, unless exempt or excluded, to register before asking residents of their jurisdictions for … Continued

Look Before You Leap

Look Before You Leap Exercise Caution When Engaging Consultants By Barbara B. Oliver Expertise that is needed on a short-term and targeted basis or during an economic downturn or a drop in donations can spur a nonprofit to seek outside expertise. Those that hire consultants may save dollars in the long run, if they are … Continued

Always on the Record: Crisis Management, the Media and Your Nonprofit

Always on the Record: Crisis Management, the Media and Your Nonprofit There’s no time like the present to begin making a list of “New Year’s Resolutions” for your nonprofit. The good news is that you don’t need to actually start tackling the “to do” items until after you’ve flipped your wall calendar to 2003. One … Continued

Avian Flu Precautions

Avian Flu Precautions By Barbara B. Oliver A recent made-for-TV movie has given rise to questions from caring nonprofit leaders about what they should do to prepare for a potential avian flu pandemic. The answer is to step back from the fear the word “pandemic” engenders and look at three critical risk management issues: 1) … Continued

Teambuilding: Rx for Crisis Survival

Teambuilding: Rx for Crisis Survival New Book Offers Practical Tips for Anticipating, Preventing and Surviving a Crisis By Melanie Lockwood Herman and Barbara B. Oliver The following article is excerpted from a new book from the Nonprofit Risk Management Center, Vital Signs: Anticipating, Preventing and Surviving a Crisis in a Nonprofit. For more information, click … Continued

Keeping Your Organization Viable for the Future

Keeping Your Organization Viable for the Future By Dr. Peggy M. Jackson For generations to come, September 11, 2001, will be remembered as a day in which innocent lives were lost and businesses were destroyed. Yet, it doesn’t take a cataclysmic event to threaten the viability of a business or your nonprofit organization. Torrential rainstorms, … Continued

Be Proactive in Times of Crisis

Be Proactive in Times of Crisis 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, President … Continued

Developing Risk Management Policies for Your Volunteer Program

Developing Risk Management Policies for Your Volunteer Program

Leaving With the Captain?

Leaving With the Captain? By George L. Head, PhD Special Advisor, the Nonprofit Risk Management Center A colleague recently asked me to contribute some ideas for her presentation to an audience interested in evacuating aged and disabled occupants from high-rise residential buildings. Born with cerebral palsy and never able to stand, I believe my experience … Continued

Don’t Be Ensnared by the Risks of Fundraising

Don’t Be Ensnared by the Risks of Fundraising New Book Sheds Light on Fundraising and Collaboration Risks The Nonprofit Risk Management Center has published a new text on the emerging topic of fundraising risks: No Strings Attached: Untangling the Risks of Fundraising & Collaboration. An excerpt from Chapter 4: Individual Donors: Roping ‘Em In appears … Continued

Drive Safely: Transporting Participants Without Incident

Drive Safely Transporting Participants Without Incident According to the National Association of Fleet Administrators, 20 percent of fleet drivers will be involved in a vehicle accident annually, at an astounding price tag of $18 billion to U.S. employers. Certain types of accidents — such as when a van flips over — seem to occur with … Continued

Staff Training: Neglected Element of the Risk Management Equation

Staff Training Neglected Element of the Risk Management Equation By Melanie Lockwood Herman Nonprofit leaders are quick to rank staff training as an important goal in the workplace. During discussions with funders and other external stakeholders many managers tout the commitment of their organizations to provide inservice training to paid and volunteer personnel. Yet the … Continued

Grievance Procedures and Internal Dispute Resolution

Grievance Procedures and Internal Dispute Resolution Practical Tips for Resolving Internal Disputes Peaceably The following text is excerpted from Section 3 of the Center’s new book: Taking the High Road: A Guide to Effective and Legal Employment Practices for Nonprofits. To order a copy, call (202) 785-3891 or

Human Resource Risks and the Forest of Fog

Human Resource Risks and the Forest of Fog By Melanie Lockwood Herman

The AFL-CIO Split: What it Means to Non-Union Nonprofits

The AFL-CIO Split: What it Means to Non-Union Nonprofits By Karla Grossenbacher, Partner, Seyfarth Shaw LLP At the end of July 2005, during the AFL-CIO’s annual convention in Chicago, four of the largest AFL-CIO unions — the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, UNITE-HERE and the United Food and Commercial Workers … Continued

Volunteer or Employee: Do You Know the Difference?

Volunteer or Employee: Do You Know the Difference? To get RISK HELP on classification and other HR issues throughout the year, join the Center as an Q: What is the definition of a volunteer? A: Federal law, under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, (FLSA) defines individuals that provide services without any expectation of compensation, … Continued

Looking Back, Looking Ahead: Employment Law Changes for 2009

Looking Back, Looking Ahead: Employment Law Changes for 2009 By Jennifer Chandler Hauge

Liability and Screening: Proceed with Caution

Liability and Screening: Proceed with Caution Second edition of popular text offers new insights Recently the Nonprofit Risk Management Center released the second edition of the Staff Screening Tool Kit — one of the organization’s most popular books since its debut in 1994. The new edition, subtitled Building a Strong Foundation Through Careful Staffing,” includes … Continued

Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment Nonprofits are not exempt from sexual harassment claims like those recently in the news for business firms and public agencies. For example, a legal secretary in California received a multimillion dollar verdict against a law firm. A trial in the District of Columbia revealed grotesque and pervasive harassment in the D.C. Department of … Continued

Stop Identity Theft — From the Inside Out

Stop Identity Theft — From the Inside Out

EEOC Resources Offer Valuable Help

By Jennifer Chandler Hauge, Esq. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the enforcement body that will challenge an employer’s hiring or employment practices when a discrimination complaint is lodged by an employee, a former employee or an applicant. However, the EEOC is also in the business of helping employers avoid acting in a discriminatory … Continued

Sound Policies and Timely Investigations

Sound Policies and Timely Investigations Essential Ingredients for Avoiding By Melanie Lockwood Herman and Leslie T. White Employer liability for sexual harassment continues to attract the media’s attention. Multi-million dollar judgments and recent Supreme Court rulings have generated renewed interest in the topic. Consequently, employees have a growing awareness of the availability of legal remedies … Continued

The Rules of the FLSA Game Are A-Changin’

The Rules of the FLSA Game Are A-Changin’ Most nonprofit employers know that it’s critically important to distinguish between “exempt” and “non-exempt” employees or risk exposure to costly awards of multiples of back pay and penalties. For those of you who don’t know, “exempt” means exempt from the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the … Continued

Emergency Succession Planning: A New Risk Management To Do

Emergency Succession Planning: A New Risk Management To Do” That perspective is being changed by the Washington, DC-based Center for Nonprofit Advancement. CNA has taken an important step to broaden the perspective by developing an Emergency Succession Plan Template. The Nonprofit Risk Management Center was pleased to be one of the organizations that lent a … Continued

Whistleblower Protections in the Nonprofit Sector

Whistleblower Protections in the Nonprofit Sector By Jason M. Zuckerman Since the enactment of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX), publicly traded companies have begun to focus on protecting whistleblowers and providing mechanisms for employees to raise concerns. This results from numerous provisions in SOX that mandate whistleblower protection, a high number of SOX whistleblower-retaliation … Continued

What is “Negligent Hiring?”

What is “Negligent Hiring?”

The Road to Safety

The Road to Safety New Book Explores Practical, Legal, and Effective Employment Policies The following text is excerpted from the introduction of the Center’s new book: Taking the High Road: A Guide to Effective and Legal Employment Practices for Nonprofits. To order a copy, call (202) 785-3891 or click here to order online. Revisiting the … Continued

Creating an Effective Employee Handbook for Your Nonprofit

Creating an Effective Employee Handbook for Your Nonprofit

Five Things That Should Never Appear in an Employee Handbook

Five Things That Should Never Appear in an Employee Handbook By Melanie Lockwood Herman An employee handbook is a valuable risk management tool when it lays down the organization’s expectations and spells out the consequences if employees don’t live up to the expectations. There are numerous resources available to help guide you with regard to … Continued

Lessons From the High Road

Lessons From the High Road New Edition of Employment Law Nonprofits Defensible Policies By Jennifer Chandler Hauge and Melanie Lockwood Herman

Strengthen the Weakest Link in the Chain

Strengthen the Weakest Link in the Chain If asked to name the number one resource that your nonprofit has, I’d wager that it would be your staff of paid and volunteer people. Whether that’s one person and a telephone or thousands of people spread throughout the country, who represents your organization is of utmost importance … Continued

Relocating Risks: A Primer for Nonprofits on the Move

Relocating Risks: A Primer for Nonprofits on the Move By Barbara B. Oliver

New Audit Standards May Feel Like a Foreign Landscape

Has your auditor given you a call about the new audit standards under Statement on Auditing Standards, No. 112 (“SAS 112”)? Officially known as “Communicating Internal Control Related Matters Identified in An Audit,” the new requirements will be unfamiliar to many nonprofits that receive a management letter identifying “significant deficiencies” or “material weaknesses” in internal … Continued

Financial Sustainability: The New Frontier

By Melanie Herman and Jessica Say Ensuring that adequate funds are available to support the mission of a nonprofit may be the ultimate challenge facing today’s nonprofit sector leaders. The clarion call to “diversify” an agency’s funding sources is often heard, but ultimately hard to achieve. Uncertainty about the ability of a nonprofit to finance … Continued

Friends, Not Food

Friends, Not Food By Melanie Lockwood Herman There are a host of memorable quips and conversations in the 2003 film Finding Nemo. One of my favorite moments in the film involves the strangely lovable shark, Bruce, and his epiphany about friendship at sea. Bruce reflects on the need to change his image by changing his … Continued

How to be the Worlds Smartest Risk Manager

How to be the World’s Smartest Risk Manager By Melanie Lockwood Herman I’ve just finished the National Geographic book, “How to Be the World’s Smartest Traveler.” Who doesn’t want to be the world’s “smartest” anything?! As a big fan of the expression, “don’t believe everything you read,” I had no expectation of becoming the world’s … Continued

How to Lose Your 501(c)(3) Tax Exempt Status (Without Really Trying)

It’s easy for a nonprofit organization to maintain its tax exempt status—and can be just as easy to lose it. Each year, the IRS revokes the tax-exempt status of more than 100 501(c)(3) organizations. Organizations recognized as exempt from federal income tax under this section of the Internal Revenue Code include private foundations as well … Continued

I Have a Complaint!

I Have a Complaint! Let’s face it no one’s perfect, including nonprofit organizations created to “make a difference.” Even with a dedicated leadership team and hard-working staff, mistakes are made, egos are bruised and things go wrong in the life of every tax-exempt, nonprofit organization.

Better Knowledge Enhances the Insurance-Purchasing Decision

Better Knowledge Enhances the Insurance-Purchasing Decision What Nonprofits Can Learn from Recent Headlines By Melanie Lockwood Herman and George L. Head, Ph.D.

Ten Tips for Buying Insurance

Ten Tips for Buying Insurance Many nonprofit managers dread the insurance purchasing process. An insurer may demand a lot of information, but then decline to offer a policy. The process may seem to waste valuable time and resources.

Riding Out the Hard Insurance Market

Riding Out the Hard Insurance Market What Your Nonprofit Can Do to Survive and Thrive in Deteriorating Market Conditions By Melanie Lockwood Herman

Protecting Your Nonprofit and the Board

Protecting Your Nonprofit and the Board New Book on Nonprofit D&O Insurance Suggests Multi-Faceted Strategy The Nonprofit Risk Management Center offers a comprehensive text on insurance for nonprofits,

“Everything’s Fine? We’ve Got Insurance!”

Everything’s Fine? We’ve Got Insurance!” By George L. Head Insurance clearly has its proper, but limited, place in risk financing, which is to pay the truly unpredictable, truly catastrophic loss for which no one can plan or take effective precautions. Relying more on retention for lesser, more predictable and preventable losses, however, leaves your nonprofit … Continued

Who’s Afraid of Claims Made?

Who’s Afraid of Claims Made?

Love Those Deductibles!

Love Those Deductibles! By George L. Head, PhD, CPCU, ARM, CSP, CLU

PERI Unveils Online Self-Assessment and Educational Tool

PERI Unveils Online Self-Assessment and Educational Tool In May 2009, the Public Entity Risk Institute (PERI), a nonprofit research institute focused on support for risk management, launched Insuranceformynonprofit.org, an innovative website that helps small and medium sized nonprofit organizations assess their insurance needs and submit requests for insurance quotes to participating insurers. According to PERI … Continued

The “Additional Insured”

The “Additional Insured” By George L. Head, PhD, CPCU, ARM, CSP, CLU, Special Advisor, Nonprofit Risk Management Center

Increase your Insurance Buying IQ

Increase your Insurance Buying IQ

Professional Liability and Governance Exposures: A Closer Look

Professional Liability and Governance Exposures: A Closer Look By Pamela Davis Of the myriad of exposures encountered by nonprofit organizations, two are frequently unappreciated and confused: exposures resulting from the consequences of corporate governance and exposures resulting from errors and omissions associated with the delivery of professional and paraprofessional services. The coverage forms that have … Continued

Theft of Funds is Not Covered by Insurance

Theft of Funds Is Not Covered by Insurance This article first appeared in Don Kramer’s Nonprofit Issues, and is reprinted here with permission from the publisher. For more information on Nonprofit Issues, visit

New Electronic Filing Requirement for Small Tax-Exempt Organizations

New Electronic Filing Requirement for Small Tax-Exempt Organizations Annual Electronic Notice — e-Postcard (Form 990-N) Striving to comply with local, state and federal laws is a first step in managing risk well. Acceptable excuses for noncompliance do not include: “I didn’t know.” The penalty for noncompliance may be financial, or in the case of a … Continued

The Audit Committee and Its Expanding Role in Risk Management

The Audit Committee and Its Expanding Role in Risk Management By H. Felix Kloman The National Association of Corporate Directors and The Center for Board Leadership have just published Audit Committees: A Practical Guide.” It is the work of a Blue Ribbon Committee on Audit Committees and will have a major effect on the practice … Continued

Broken Promises, Shattered Trust

Broken Promises, Shattered Trust Preventing and Responding to Fraud and Misuse of Assets in a Nonprofit Organization by Melanie Lockwood Herman Michael McNee, Principal in the Metro New York Higher Education/Not-for-Profit Practice of Arthur Andersen, LLP was the final speaker at the recent fraud workshop. During his presentation, McNee shared insights from a career that … Continued

Accountability Measures: A Closer Look at Service Statistics

Accountability Measures A Closer Look at Service Statistics By John C. Patterson, Senior Program Director In this age of increased accountability, nonprofits are subjected to increased scrutiny in financial management, outcome measurement, and new service statistics. Service Statistics Service statistics may include an organization’s membership, numbers of clients served, and hours of service delivered. Organizations … Continued

IN is OUT, and OUT is IN Outsourcing the Finance or Accounting Function in a Nonprofit

By Alex Ricketts Fiscal Outsourcing Outsourcing financial tasks has become a popular trend in the nonprofit sector. Common reasons nonprofit leaders outsource some or all of their financial management responsibilities include: to gain access to expertise the nonprofit doesn’t require on a full-time basis, to reduce the cost of financial management activity, and to enable … Continued

Key Questions: Evaluating CEO Performance

Key Questions: Evaluating CEO Performance Attorney Eileen Morgan Johnson (

Let’s Get Entrepreneurial

Most would agree that both “initiative” and “risk-taking” are key to success in an increasingly competitive, fast-paced and high-tech nonprofit sector. But what tools and resources are available to ensure that awareness of both upside and downside risk undergirds the commitment to being entrepreneurial? The Board The mission of a nonprofit starts and ends 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

Managing Holiday Party Risks

Managing Holiday Party Risks By Arley Turner It’s time to celebrate! Whether your nonprofit landed a new grant, improved service to consumers, or logged a record number of volunteer hours this year, a celebratory party is overdue. Office parties are a great idea for numerous reasons. They provide an opportunity for telecommuters to reconnect with … Continued

The Eye of the Beholder: Managing Reputation Risk

The Eye of the Beholder: Managing Reputation Risk By Melanie Lockwood Herman

Code of Conduct Sample

S A M P L E This form may be adapted to use with preteen or teenage participants in your program. You may wish to make the language less formal or the vocabulary less sophisticated, depending on the developmental stage of the young people in your programs. You might also wish to add or subtract … Continued

Calculated Risk: The Risk Management Checkup: Ten Tips

Calculated Risk The Risk Management Checkup: Ten Tips by Dennis M. Kirschbaum, ARM Most of you who are reading this newsletter have given some thought to managing risk within your organizations. You’ve taken a look at your insurance requirements, reviewed your personnel policies, examined your service delivery to make sure that safety procedures are being … Continued

Personal Devices at Work

Personal Devices at Work by Erin Gloeckner

Planning for Summer Fun

Planning for Summer Fun By Michael Gurtler The beginning of the summer swim season is just around the corner. Many pools, beaches, lakes and ponds will see high rates of use over the summer weeks. In addition, many nonprofit organizations will sponsor special summer events that involve swimming and other forms of water-inspired recreation. While … Continued

Calculated Risk: The End of the World as We’ve Known It Not!

Calculated Risk The End of the World as We’ve Known It — Not! by Dennis M. Kirschbaum, ARM During the last century, a handful of historians and academicians debated the question of who was the first risk manager. In his new book, The Polar Bear Strategy, author John Ross traces back the history of risk … Continued

Stepping Around or Stepping Up?

Stepping Around or Stepping Up? Coping with difficult risk management issues By Linda Varnado

Risk in the Cloud

Risk in the Cloud by Erin Gloeckner

Risk Management Heat Wave

Risk Management Heat Wave by Melanie Lockwood Herman Most human beings want to be loved and respected. And that includes risk leaders in today’s nonprofit organizations. Whether your title is “Risk Manager” or “Chief Financial Officer,” “General Counsel” or something else, your commitment to champion effective risk management shouldn’t make you any less lovable than … Continued

Accountability Measures: A Closer Look at Service Statistics

Accountability Measures A Closer Look at Service Statistics By John C. Patterson In this age of increased accountability, nonprofits are subjected to increased scrutiny in financial management, outcome measurement, and new service statistics. Service Statistics Service statistics may include an organization’s membership, numbers of clients served, and hours of service delivered. Organizations have a great … Continued

Risk Management Resolutions

Risk Management Resolutions It’s Never too Late to Begin Anew By Melanie Lockwood Herman Although the first month of your New Year is history and no doubt you have already made progress on many of your annual resolutions, we’d like to suggest three really important ones from a risk management standpoint. Unlike a resolution such … Continued

New Resources Emerge from Collaboration

A recent collaboration between ChoicePoint and the Nonprofit Risk Management Center has led to the creation of a Risk Management ToolKit for customers of ChoicePoint’s state of the art background checking services. As part of the company’s continuing efforts to help nonprofits effectively manage risk, ChoicePoint has launched a new Web site and toolkit. The … Continued

New Year, New List Five Risk Management Resolutions for Your Nonprofit

New Year, New List Five Risk Management Resolutions for Your Nonprofit By Melanie Lockwood Herman During a recent airline trip I opened the in-flight magazine and saw an ad for an expensive piece of exercise equipment that promised an effective cardiovascular workout with only four minutes of effort. The longer I stared at the photo … Continued

Culture Shock: Embracing Risk Management is Necessary, But Never Easy

Culture Shock: Embracing Risk Management May Not Be Easy by Melanie Lockwood Herman This article was inspired by the writings of Diana Del Bel Belluz, M.A.Sc., P.Eng., President of Risk Wise Inc., a Toronto-based risk management consulting firm. To read Diana’s inspirational eZine, visit www.riskwise.net. “We can rebuild him. We have the technology.” Some readers … Continued

Resolve to be a Risk-Aware Nonprofit

Resolve to be a Risk-Aware Nonprofit

Managing Risk in Turbulent Times

Managing Risk in Turbulent Times Mix equal measures of optimism and resolve and bake until golden By Melanie Lockwood Herman I’ve been told that I am an incurable optimist. No matter where I stand or sit, I can’t help thinking that tomorrow is a fount of wonderful possibilities. I’ll admit that there have been a few … Continued

Reality TV and Risk Management

Reality TV and Risk Management By Melanie Lockwood Herman This article first appeared in riskVue, the Webzine for risk management professionals. For more information, visit When the first generation of reality TV programs debuted in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I was appalled. The ratings for programs like COPS (1989) and MTV’s The Real … Continued

Putting on Your Own Mask First

Putting on Your Own Mask First When the Abstract and Reality Collide By Melanie Lockwood Herman

Managing Special Event Risks

Managing Special Event Risks By Joe Risser and Melanie Lockwood Herman Note: This article is excerpted from a forthcoming publication from the Nonprofit Risk Management Center: Managing Special Event Risks: 10 Steps to Safety—2nd Edition. The book will be available for purchase in September. For more information, or to-pre-order a copy, click here. Summer is … Continued

Less Is Really More

Less Is Really More By Melanie Lockwood Herman Nonprofit execs often worry they don’t have enough handbooks, manuals, and guidelines setting forth the organizations risk management policies. This article suggests that the real worry should be that those documents are overweight and inefficient. The article suggests ways you can streamline and energize your program-policy documents. … Continued

Rock n Roll n Risk Management

By Melanie Lockwood Herman and Alexandra Ricketts A friend of the Center, who happens to be an accomplished sound engineer, forwarded a terrific article to us this week about how the best rock n’ roll roadies can do things many music fans might believe are impossible. Why? Well, one reason seems to be that roadies … Continued

Survey Sheds Light on Screening Practices of Volunteer Organizations

Survey Sheds Light on Screening Practices of Volunteer Organizations APRIL 22, 2008 — Washington, DC — At a press conference attended by representatives of prominent youth serving organizations and the local media, the

Help Wanted! Screening Challenges for 21st Century Nonprofits

Help Wanted! Screening Challenges for 21st Century Nonprofits By Melanie Lockwood Herman and Jennifer Chandler Hauge

A Golden Opportunity

A Golden Opportunity The age distribution of the American public is changing. Healthier lifestyles and medical innovations have increased the longevity of the American population. Our citizenry now includes not only higher percentages of senior Americans, but greater numbers of elderly members who are living well into their 80s and 90s. Unfortunately, medical technology and … Continued

Maximizing Seasoned Employees’ Contributions

Maximizing Seasoned Employees’ Contributions By Barbara B. Oliver

Set the Story Straight with a Financial Dashboard

Set the Story Straight with a Financial Dashboard By Erin Gloeckner Take yourself back to college math class; perhaps you studied statistics or calculus. You may have been one of the lucky few who aced every exam, but more likely, you had trouble staying awake during lectures. Numbers can be boring, confusing, and overwhelming when … Continued

Stepping Back: The Outer Rim of Risk

Stepping Back: The Outer Rim of Risk By Melanie Lockwood Herman The discipline of risk management invites a close-up examination of events and circumstances that threaten the mission and goals of an organization or that offer the promise of mission-advancing benefit. Nonprofit CEOs, CFOs, senior staff and even board members are instinctively drawn to taking … Continued

Calculated Risk: Left Behind

Calculated Risk: Left Behind by Dennis M. Kirschbaum, ARM Late last summer they took down a giant oak near the center of my small town, located about 25 miles from the nation’s capital. Aerial photos of the area show Washington Grove, Maryland as a tiny green enclave in a sea of raw suburban sprawl. Nicknamed … Continued

Your Special Skills in Managing Risk

Your Special Skills in Managing Risk Recognizing Conflict, Reaching Consensus By George L. Head, Ph.D. This is the first in a series of columns asking you to consider how the special knowledge and skills that executive directors and other senior managers of community-serving nonprofits apply in advancing their nonprofit’s mission can also be used in … Continued

Calculated Risk: Journey of a Lifetime

Calculated Risk: Fear of Excellence by Dennis M. Kirschbaum, ARM Feeling inadequate? Dreaming of doing something with your life? Want to make a difference? Get real! Here is a work of miniscule proportions that will lower the bar — again! Do you strive for perfection? Do you spend countless hours doing and redoing just to … Continued

Managing Restricted Grants: Routine or Risky Business?

Managing Restricted Grants: Routine or Risky Business? The article below was adapted from Mission Accomplished: A Practical Guide to Risk Management for Nonprofits, published by the Nonprofit Risk Management Center. For more information about the book, click here. (Mission Accomplished has been replaced by

Your Special Skills in Managing Risk

Your Special Skills in Managing Risk Sifting for Truth By George L. Head, Ph.D. This column focuses on how executive directors and other senior managers of community-serving nonprofits can use the special knowledge and skills they apply in advancing their nonprofit’s mission to manage their organizations’ strategic risk management. Everyone, to some degree, learns in … Continued

Your Staff Has a Thousand Eyes

Your Staff Has a Thousand Eyes By George L. Head, PhD, CPCU, ARM, CSP, CLU, Special Advisor, Nonprofit Risk Management Center

Calculated Risk: Good Surprise, Bad Surprise: The Law of Unintended Consequences

Calculated Risk: Good Surprise, Bad Surprise: The Law of Unintended Consequences by Dennis M. Kirschbaum, ARM When my son was just learning how to run, he often took a tumble. Occasionally, he would fall down a bit hard and though he wasn’t really hurt, the shock and the injustice of the accident would bring him … Continued

Calculated Risk: Rocket Man

Calculated Risk: Three Foundations by Dennis M. Kirschbaum, ARM My grandfather died in April at the age of 96. It came as somewhat of a shock for my family. Thanks to good genes and better luck, members of my family usually live a long time. My grandfather’s older sister is still going strong at 100. … Continued

Risk Management and Religious Organizations

Risk Management and Religious Organizations Melding Practicality and Spirituality in a Risk Management Program by Jeff Hanna When a senior pastor recently proclaimed, “God would not let a faithful church burn down,” an opportunity for the church business administrator to discuss church safety and security issues was lost. Sadly, this mentality is prevalent today in … Continued

Sustaining Nonprofits During Economic Downturns

Sustaining Nonprofits During Economic Downturns by George L. Head, Ph.D.

Calculated Risk: Fear of Excellence

Calculated Risk: Journey of a Lifetime by Dennis M. Kirschbaum, ARM Think globalization is a new concept? Think again. This summer my journey of a thousand miles began with a single step — on to a Washington, D.C. metro train. Every year the Smithsonian Institution sponsors its Folklife Festival, which brings together three different cultures … Continued

Calculated Risk: Three Foundations

Calculated Risk: Rocket Man by Dennis M. Kirschbaum, ARM OK, I admit it. I was a Trekkie. No not Voyager, not The Next Generation, I am talking about the original three seasons. No cracks about my showing my age, please. I watched ’em in reruns, OK? I never went to Star Trek conventions or glued … Continued

Strategic Risk Management: Looking at Both Sides Now

Strategic Risk Management: Looking at Both Sides Now By Melanie Lockwood Herman and George L. Head, Ph.D.

Workplace Stress

Workplace Stress Tackling Stress Improves Morale, Productivity and Safety This article is excerpted from the Center’s brand-new, free online resource titled, Workplace Safety Is No Accident — An Employer’s Online Toolkit to Protect Employees and Volunteers. Rising workplace stress is a large albatross hanging around the necks of workers and employers. According to studies of … Continued

Practice Safe Surfing and Defensive E-Mail

Practice Safe Surfing and Defensive E-Mail By Barbara B. Oliver

Blogs Are Here to Stay

Blogs Are Here to Stay It’s time to update your policies By Jennifer Chandler Hauge Attendees at the 2007 Summit for the Nonprofit Sector in Winston-Salem heard a lot about the Internet and cyber-safety from plenary session speaker and national syndicated columnist Larry Magid as well as the Center’s executive director, Melanie Herman. Both speakers … Continued

IRS Warns of Internet Scam

IRS Warns of Internet Scam

Technology: Boon or Bust?

Technology: Boon or Bust? By Jennifer Chandler Hauge

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

eNoculation

eNoculation Shortly after the I Love You” virus shut down computers all over the world, The Wall Street Journal published an editorial titled, “Love Bug Victims Don’t Want the Cure.” The gist of the piece was that folks actually enjoy these disruptions to the routine and that it is especially good for companies that market … Continued

Setting Your Sites: Fraud Resources on the Web

Setting Your Sites: Fraud Resources on the Web

Tame Junk E-Mail

Tame Junk E-Mail Take Me Off Your Spam List!

Making Net Gains

Making Net Gains Staying Safe While Making a Name for Your Nonprofit on the Internet The following article is adapted from a chapter on managing the risks of Web functionality and content featured in a new book by the Nonprofit Risk Management Center titled: Full Speed Ahead: Managing Technology Risk in the Nonprofit World.

Personal Privacy: The Latest Oxymoron on the Internet

Personal Privacy: The Latest Oxymoron on the Internet

Tech Risk Q & A

Tech Risk Q & A by Melanie Lockwood Herman & Erin Gloeckner

The Kids Are All Right

The Kids Are All Right By Melanie Lockwood Herman The beginning of the school year offers a reminder to children and teens that learning isn’t always easy, that hard work generally pays off, and that rules and limits often exist to keep us safe. The same can be said about the lessons, hard work, and … Continued

Top 10 Fundraising Risks for Nonprofits

Top 10 Fundraising Risks for Nonprofits By Melanie Lockwood Herman

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

Trying My Patience

Trying My Patience “Patience is quiet hope and trust that things will turn out right. You wait without complaining. You are tolerant and accepting of difficulties and mistakes. You picture the end in the beginning and persevere to meet your goals. Patience is a commitment to the future.” –

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

We All Do It: Mistakes in Nonprofit Life

We All Do It: Mistakes in Nonprofit Life By Melanie Lockwood Herman

What’s a Pilot

What’s a Pilot? The term “pilot project” is often used by nonprofit leaders to describe an experiment with something new. “We’re embarking on a pilot project” may refer to an experiment with strategy, target audience to be served, or a newly formed partnership or collaboration. According to Harvard Business School Professor Amy C. Edmondson, “pilot … Continued

What to Do During an Earthquake

What to Do During an Earthquake Stay as safe as possible during an earthquake. Be aware that some earthquakes are actually foreshocks and a larger earthquake might occur. Minimize your movements to a few steps to a nearby safe place and if you are indoors, stay there until the shaking has stopped and you are … Continued

Six Tips for Playing it Safe: At Work, At Home, On the Web

Six Tips for Playing it Safe: At Work, At Home, On the Web by Dennis M. Kirschbaum, ARM We have all heard the saying, To err is human; to really foul things up requires a computer.” The fact is, computers do not foul things up, people do. But computers allow us to foul them up … Continued

Swimming With Sharks and Other Perils of Special Events

By Barbara B. Oliver ‘Tis May, ’tis May, the merry month of May, when thoughts turn to sports competitions, street fairs, music festivals, parades and other special events. It’s a wonderful time of year to promote a nonprofit’s name, encourage participation of a new crop of volunteers, and perhaps earn some unrestricted funds to support … Continued

The Essence of Youth Protection: Rules, Reporting and Consequences

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 … Continued

Knee-Jerk Risk Management?

by John C. Patterson Should FBI criminal history record checks be required of individuals who work with children? On the surface, the answer to this question would appear to be a resounding yes. Further analysis, however, reveals that a more conditional endorsement of criminal history record checks is warranted. First, we should state for the … Continued

Protecting Vulnerable Clients from Abuse

Protecting Vulnerable Clients from Abuse By Mark E. Chopko, Esq.

My Generation Reaping the Rewards of a Multigenerational Workforce

My Generation: Reaping the Rewards of a Multigenerational Workforce By Melanie Lockwood Herman and Arley Turner Nonprofit missions require high performing, collegial work teams. And increasingly, nonprofit workplaces are staffed by individuals from three, four or even five generations. These intergenerational staff teams are charged with delivering services and programs that advance ambitious, communityserving missions. … Continued

Think Again: What You Don’t Know but Should About Interviewing & Reference Checking

Think Again: What You Don’t Know but Should About Interviewing & Reference Checking By Erin Gloeckner “Death will be a great relief. No more interviews.” — Katharine Hepburn

Operational Risk Management A Word from the Wise Guys.shtml

adopt the good practice of considering a range of potential outcomes rather than focusing on a single scenario or potential outcome. A simple way to do this is to imagine both the extreme, worst case scenario as well as a typical or expected case, and then a third outcome somewhere in between. Based on these … Continued