Breaking The Silence: Navigating Difficult Topics in the Workplace

This webinar explores the risks associated with uncomfortable conversations, awkward situations, and fear in the workplace. Learn why fear and intimidation reduce motivation and engagement and how building ‘psychological safety’ is key to creating a workplace worthy of your mission. This webinar concludes with practical tips and strategies for anticipating and managing difficult circumstances and … Continued

Find Inspiration in an Epic Fail

“It’s extremely liberating and honest to admit that we know very little about almost everything. This is not to make us feel small and insignificant, but rather to make us feel excited about how much we still have to learn.” – John Hunt, The Art of the Idea By Melanie Lockwood Herman It’s not often … Continued

Competition: A Risk Aware Definition

By Glenn Mott To voice the word “competition” is to summon the idea of defeating or establishing superiority over others. People sometimes modify this by adding the word “healthy” to competition, as a sign of good intentions. Which only emphasizes the point. Competition, in its contemporary usage, is a word with thorns for those who … Continued

Collaboration: Building the Intentional Partnership

By Glenn Mott Motivations to collaborate run the gamut from the desire to access talent and resources to satisfying funders or other stakeholders, conserve financial resources, or bolster recognition and awareness of your cause or services. Collaborations can be a test drive for eventual mergers, but a much more common reason for partnerships is to … Continued

8 Tips for a Happy Unicorn Meeting

by Delia Jones How do you feel about meetings? Me too. A bad meeting is a gigantic waste of time. They are not a box to be checked, but a critical check-in step that propels a project forward. The best meetings happen when everyone leaves feeling energized and knows what to do next. You might … Continued

Proper Planning Prevents Poor Meeting Performance

By Eric Henkel Many of the employees we meet in Center-led Risk Assessments yearn for a more generous communications loop in their organizations. Our team has also observed the growing interdependency of work tasks and the need for thoughtful collaboration and communication. Email and instant messaging may feel like time-saving communications tools, but they are … Continued

Stir the Pot: Effectively Requesting Proposals and Evaluating Vendors

Do you have a current vendor who is just a bad egg? Do you have a program area where there are simply too many cooks in the kitchen? If your organization’s current vendors aren’t working out the way you’d like, you should consider creating and distributing a Request for Proposals, or RFP. In this webinar, … Continued

Teamwork is Job One!

A common mistake in nonprofit risk management is delegating responsibility to a single staff member or volunteer. Attend this webinar to learn why an interdisciplinary approach to risk identification is vital, and how a team comprised of players from every level in the organization is the most effective driver for sound risk management. By the … Continued

Nonprofit Mergers: A Sum is Stronger than its Parts

Nonprofits merge for a variety of reasons. Common motivations to merge include: the opportunity to more efficiently serve a shared constituency, as a response to funder pressure, or to prevent the mission of an organization in decline from disappearing altogether. This webinar will explore the risks that accompany the rewards of a merger. Learn how … Continued

Managing Partnership and Collaboration Risk: What You Need to Know

Partnering is second nature for many nonprofit leaders. Yet enthusiasm for partnering may create blind spots that obscure our view. Without a clear picture nonprofit leaders with good intentions may stumble. This webinar will explore practical steps for sizing up potential partners and increasing the odds of success, instead of missteps.

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

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

Mark Your Calendar!

By Melanie Lockwood Herman For many of us, the holiday season is a time to re-connect with friends and family with whom we’ve been out of touch. When I was a child, we always received at least one “Christmas Letter,” containing one family’s story of the prior year. Typical Christmas Letters were full of glad … 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

Reputation versus Reality: “Mind the Gap!”

By Melanie Lockwood Herman If you have ever had the good fortune to travel to London you may have heard the expression, “Mind the gap!” This admonition is broadcast to subway riders so that when they step out of the subway car, they won’t inadvertently step into the gap between car and platform. Nonprofit leaders … Continued

Let’s Dance

By Melanie Lockwood Herman During an episode of a dance-focused reality show airing last night one of the judges praised two dancers for their matched steps and beautifully coordinated routine. Despite the random pairing of competing amateur dancers for the on-air performance, the two young women were able to work together in a way that … Continued

Transitions: Make the Most of Organizational Change

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Long-time residents of the Greater Washington area become accustomed to the abrupt change in seasons. After a record-setting winter and what seemed like only a week of moderate spring weather, summer conditions have once again arrived before the calendar marks the new season. Steamy hot days interrupted by very brief storms … Continued

A League of Your Own

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Last weekend two close friends who are enthusiastic members of a bowling league persuaded me to join them for an outing to our local bowling alley. Prior to Sunday I perceived bowling to be an individual sport. I’ve watched winning bowlers celebrate their high scores and losing players take the walk … Continued

Less Worry, More Happy

By Melanie Lockwood Herman While visiting family this week the subject of Bobby McFerrin’s song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” came up in a conversation about traffic on Cape Cod during the high season for visitors. “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” was released in 1988 and became the first a cappella song to reach #1 on the … Continued

Best Friends Forever? Don’t Be a Naive or Disappointed Partner

By Erin Gloeckner At some point in our childhood, many of us share a ‘best friends’ gift with another person. For me, it was a set of necklaces that fit together like puzzle pieces. One necklace belonged to me, and the other belonged to my best friend. They were cheap and shiny, and I imagined … Continued

Everything You Need to Know About Risk€ You Learned in Kindergarten

By Melanie Lockwood Herman As I prepare for my daughter’s eighth grade graduation this week, I feel nostalgic for the days when she began her academic career as an energetic tow-headed little Kindergartener. I remember her coming home wide-eyed and excited to tell me all of the things she was learning at school. There were … Continued

Is Your Board Ready for a Crisis?

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Last week I had an opportunity to speak about “Leading During Times of Crisis” at an event sponsored by Independent Sector, Georgetown Law and the Internal Revenue Service. As I prepared my remarks I reflected on the countless calls I have received over the years from board leaders seeking advice about … Continued

Real Partners Plan Ahead

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Last week I was reminded that the word “risk” lurks behind the seemingly harmless term, “alliance.” While attempting to check-in to the final two legs in a multi-city itinerary, I was informed by the counter agent at SAS Airlines that there was no information on my final leg—the flight that would … Continued

When One Door Closes

By Melanie Lockwood Herman After many years as a nonprofit leader and more transitions than I care to count, I’ve collected a handful of tips that help me close doors safely and walk with greater confidence across new thresholds. Resolve to see transitions as opportunities. The end of any relationship is an opportunity for your … Continued

Command Less, Care More

By Melanie Herman “What does it take to thrive and to do genuinely good, human-centered work in a human world of individuals who have failings, foibles, and doubts, a world of social relationships that range from strong to awkward to awful? The answer is flexibility plus a sense of responsibility, accountability and commitment—it takes care.” … Continued

Partner with Care and a Prenuptial Agreement

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Throughout the year, countless brides and bridegrooms come join together, happily anticipating a lifetime of wedded bliss. Many nonprofits engage outside consultants and vendors in the hope that these “unions” will enable the nonprofit to achieve some aspect of its mission. In some cases outside help is retained to meet the … 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

Vetting Partner Organizations & Drafting MOUs

It takes more than a handshake between friends, neighbors or colleagues to ensure that collaboration will succeed. If your want to feel as good about your partners, the results and yourself coming out as going in to a joint project, fully consider the ethical and risk management implications before entering into the agreement. If you … Continued