NRMC Launches Website with Free HR and Risk Resources for Nonprofits

By Rachel Sams This spring, the Nonprofit Risk Management Center convened diverse focus groups of leaders of small and midsize nonprofits. The leaders shared their biggest human resources and risk management challenges. We were awed by the immense responsibilities these leaders juggle to run their organizations. And we were inspired by the opportunity to provide … Continued

Three Risk Trends to Keep in Mind as you Enlist Volunteers

By Christy Grano In my work with nonprofit teams, I am repeatedly impressed with the array of terrific volunteer programs that support nonprofit missions; that positive impression swells when I observe smart risk management practices in volunteer recruitment and supervision. I experienced first hand the positive message that a clear, compelling volunteer training transmits to … Continued

Don’t be Dispassionate: How to Use Emotional Impulses to Make Better Decisions – Full Article

By Glenn Mott “Heuristic / you risked it.”  —Hank Lazer Recently, I had an opportunity to read a special issue of the Harvard Business Review called “The Brain Science Behind Business”—a compilation of previously published articles about neuroscience. Reading these articles got me thinking about the role of heuristics in risk management. Heuristics refers to … Continued

Cyber Liability Insurance: What You Need to Know

Risks related to data privacy and systems security are top-of-mind for risk professionals. And although insurance coverage is available for many aspects of this complex risk landscape, insurance products differ in intent, structure, and protection. Attend this webinar to learn about the key components and features of insurance policies available to protect against the “what … Continued

Dampening Drama: Lessons from a Large Family

by Christy Grano I was the oldest of seven siblings, with two military veterans for parents. That’s right, seven kids, just like the Von Trapp family in The Sound of Music. We didn’t march to a whistle or live in a mansion, but efficiency, order, and education were certainly high priorities. Charts mapped out our … Continued

Scorched Middle Earth: Banishing The Department of No

by Melanie Lockwood Herman As fans of high fantasy fiction know first-hand, Middle-earth is the fictional setting for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, the most widely-read books from English writer J. R. R. Tolkien. According to Wikipedia, “Middle-earth has also become a short-hand to refer to the legendarium and Tolkien’s fictional take … Continued

How to Honor and Respect Your Volunteers

April 13, 2016 By Melanie Lockwood Herman Nonprofits across the country are showcasing their creative talents to celebrate the contributions of volunteers during the month of April, “National Volunteer Month.” Here at the NRMC we receive quite a few calls from volunteers. Unfortunately, since we’re all about ‘risk,’ many of these callers contact us to … Continued

Art Appreciation in a World of Risk

March 23, 2016 Art Appreciation in a World of Risk By Melanie Lockwood Herman Last week I took advantage of an opportunity to combine two of my favorite pastimes: reading and relaxation. While on a short vacation, I read 33 Artists in 3 Acts, by art world chronicler Sarah Thornton. In her never dull book, … Continued

The Risk Management Process

By the Nonprofit Risk Management Center Measures to address risk should be practical and within the reach of the organization. Every nonprofit, from the largest to the smallest, can and should take time to look into the future and predict both downside and upside risks. In fact risk management is extremely important for small nonprofits … Continued

Keeping Our Eye on the Ball

By the Nonprofit Risk Management Center  Just days ago the Commissioner of the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division of the IRS, Steve Miller, told exempt organization lawyers gathered in Washington that the IRS will be “more aggressive” in monitoring the “efficiency and effectiveness” of charitable organizations. And this week, grantmakers from all over the … Continued

2010: An Odyssey of Your Making

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Instead of dreaming about sugar-plums, many nonprofit leaders will fall asleep tomorrow evening dreaming about better times for the organizations they serve. Let’s face it, 2009 was a rough year for the vast majority of organizations that provide vital social services, deliver inspired cultural programs, and conduct research and advocacy to … Continued

Lucky Me

By Melanie Lockwood Herman It’s a big day for my favorite color as well as the day when Americans with even remote connections to the Emerald Isle celebrate all things Irish. School children will enjoy shamrock-shaped cookies and learn about leprechauns. Restaurants from one coast to the other will dust off recipes for corned beef … 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

With Lots of Help from Our Friends

Gratitude is both a powerful sentiment and action-inspiring virtue. But too often we assume that others know that their efforts or labor are appreciated. We take employees, volunteers, supporters and even loved ones for granted. A fellow lawyer by the name of Cicero once wrote, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the … Continued

Choosing Preparation Over Panic

By Melanie Lockwood Herman The subjects of employee benefits and employee “rights,” have been front and center in the news as of late. Another front-page / home-page topic on the domestic news front is the growing federal deficit. School children (and taxpayers!) across the country are trying to grasp the idea of $12.4 Trillion. At … Continued

Training Wheels

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Last week I wrote about the connection between riding a vintage motorcycle in less than perfect weather conditions and the fact that things worth doing aren’t always easy to do. The feedback from readers led me to reflect on my first ride on a motorcycle: at the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s Basic … Continued


By Melanie Lockwood Herman When a member of my family questions my somewhat eccentric father about a recent purchase, Dad’s standard response is “normal is boring.” Family members have learned that there is no point questioning any acquisition—whether it’s a vintage motorcycle found on eBay, or a fiberglass sailboat from Craigslist that is in desperate … Continued

The Layover

By Melanie Lockwood Herman I generally dread flight layovers of more than an hour in duration. While many fellow frequent fliers seem to find comfort in a long layover believing it reduces the downside risk of a missed connection, I’d much rather sprint from one gate to the next than have to find somewhere to … Continued

Tell Me a Story

By Melanie Lockwood Herman  Simple, clearly written policies represent one way to engage in risk communication. But don’t limit your risk communication methods to written policies. In some cases the use of stories may be a better way to share why a risk issue is important, how it relates to mission-fulfillment, and what you expect … Continued

A Complaint is a Rose Waiting to Bloom

By Kay Nakamura Every nonprofit has received a call or member complaint. It doesn’t feel good. It is awful to know that you have let someone who believed in you down but should you chalk it up to a one-time event and let it pass? Embrace the negative! It is feedback in its truest form. … Continued

This Is It

By Melanie Herman Several years ago I took my daughter to see the documentary, “This Is It,” about the rehearsals for Michael Jackson’s come-back tour. Prior to seeing the film I can’t say I was a fan of MJ’s music. But somehow, the film’s ‘behind the scenes’ look at the ill-fated tour got me hooked … Continued

Soft Power and Quiet Persistence

By Melanie Lockwood Herman During a short trip to the University of Notre Dame this week I had an opportunity to visit the impressive campus bookstore and pick up a copy of Susan Cain’s book, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.” I’ve been buried in the text ever since. … Continued

Inspired by Risk

By Erin Gloeckner The staff members at the Nonprofit Risk Management Center find inspiration from many sources. We are moved by the ambitious missions of our consulting clients. We admire the unwavering dedication of our volunteer board. We marvel at the steadfast commitment of nonprofit leaders who embrace our tough love advice about risk management. … Continued

Risk Aversion Conversion

By Erin Gloeckner The topic of risk-taking was front and center in a recent Wall Street Journal article, “Risk-Averse Culture Infects U.S. Workers, Entrepreneurs” by Ben Casselman. According to the author, the risk-taking, dream-chasing spirit is dwindling in the hearts of American workers and business owners. Economists agree that the American economy was historically spurred … Continued

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

Calculated Risk: Fear of Excellence

by Dennis M. Kirschbaum, ARM “When one makes a journey, one has stories to tell.” — German Proverb) 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 … 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

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 moments in the last decade … Continued