Cannabis Will Happen: Is Your Workplace Ready?

In this article, Glenn Mott speaks with Crystal Stevens McElrath, a senior attorney at Swift Currie McGhee & Hiers, LLP. Ms. McElrath represents and counsels employers and insurers in workers’ compensation and employment law matters. In this role, she has found her vocational calling in providing for-profit and nonprofit employers with the legal counsel they … Continued

5 Musts to Attract Mission-Motivated Millennials

By Melanie Lockwood Herman While traveling last week an infographic in the Dec 2018/Jan 2019 issue of Fast Company caught my eye. Titled “Millennials in the Corner Office, Gen Y Bosses Tell Us How They Lead,” Yasmin Gagne has compiled the results from a survey on millennial leaders conducted by Fast Company, Inc., and the … Continued


By Erin Gloeckner The NRMC team enjoyed a lot of help in planning and executing our recent annual conference, the Risk Summit. Check out photos from the event to find yourself in the crowd or–if you couldn’t join us–to see what you missed. Our generous Corporate Partners helped us make the Risk Summit a reality, … 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

Criminal History Background Checks: 10 Things You Probably Don’t Know but Should

Criminal history background checks are an important piece of the employee screening puzzle, but to conduct an effective background check, you need to understand the limitations of criminal history records, and the nuances of the background checking process. This webinar offers 10 insights about criminal history background checks that you might not know?but should?in order … Continued

Best Practices in Staff Screening

Every nonprofit screens prospective volunteers and staff, although screening” can be quite informal in some organizations, and highly sophisticated and complex in others. This webinar explores how to design or update a screening process based on the risks of various paid and volunteer positions, as well as the mission and resources of the organization. At … Continued

Dont Know Much About History: Criminal History Background Checks

Does your nonprofit use criminal history background checks? What happens when a check indicates that a crime was committed in the past? Many nonprofits fail to adequately consider what types of crimes or past history will disqualify an applicant until they are directly faced with the question. 

Reference Checking

At one point or another, most of us have mistakenly hired an ill-suited candidate or someone who was a poor fit for the job or our nonprofit. Tune into this webinar to find out how and why reference checking is the most important asset in your screening toolkit. If you want to avoid hiring another … Continued

Background Checking: What You Need to Know

A growing number of nonprofit employers are using background checking as a screening tool. As the prevalence of background checking increases, the myths about the subject have proliferated. Is it is possible to obtain a background check that reveals whether an applicant has any criminal history-anywhere? Can a nonprofit tap into the FBI database to … Continued

Planning and Conducting Effective Interviews

For many years the Center has touted the in-person or telephone interview as an important staff screening tool. Yet many supervisors approach interviews on autopilot,” and fail to appreciate the tremendous opportunity that an interview affords the prospective employer. Attend this brand-new webinar to learn about the top three most important interview questions, the worst … Continued

Selecting the Most Suitable Employees for the Job: The Screening Process in a Nutshell

Screening is critical to the selection process, but too often shortcuts are taken or basic steps overlooked that can make the difference between a great hire and a future lawsuit. This Webinar reviews the basics and delve into the details of effective screening procedures to help your nonprofit be confident that you are doing your … Continued

Workplace Privacy: Steering Clear of Danger While Protecting Your Nonprofit

The issue of privacy in the workplace presents challenges for nonprofit employers. While on one hand employers do not want employees to feel uneasy because “big brother” is watching their every move, smart employers know that full access to an employee’s physical and electronic workspace is necessary for legal compliance and to protect the assets … Continued

Screening Employees and Volunteers

This 90-minute seminar presents a framework for staff screening based on the requirements of the position, the nature of the contact with service recipients, and legal limitations on the use of screening tools. The seminar also offeres additional ideas for controlling staff-related risks. Screening is just the beginning of an ongoing process that generally includes … Continued

Staff Screening: What’s New and What You Need to Know

Screening paid and volunteer staff is an important component of risk management. Despite the availability of a wealth of information and tools on screening, many nonprofit screening programs are not as effective as they might be due to errors in planning and design. A growing number of nonprofits are subject to screening requirements imposed by … Continued

Reality Check: Using References Effectively

November 4, 2015 By Emily Stumhofer Do you ever wish you could meet a literary character in real life, rather than from simply reading about the character through the eyes of a narrator? Although a face-to-face meeting Sherlock Holmes, Jane Eyre, Robinson Crusoe, or even Hermione Granger might be fun, to get the clearest picture … Continued

There’s No Mystery to Your History: Using Background Checks in the Screening Process

By Melanie Lockwood Herman “ Many organizations fall prey to the misconception that criminal history background checks are the only effective way to prevent the hiring of an unsuitable employee. ” Most nonprofits use some type of background check to vet potential employees and volunteers. However, the term “background check” is used to mean very … Continued

Lessons Learned: Sharing Staff Screening Setbacks

By Erin Gloeckner Hiring isn’t part of my job description, but last summer I had an opportunity to expand my role by co-managing the hiring process for our Director of Client Solutions, Kay Nakamura, and one of our Project Managers, Alex Ricketts. Both Kay and Alex turned out to be quick learners, supportive teammates, and … Continued

Orientation Renovation

By Melanie Lockwood Herman With the release of our Staff Screening Notebook, and the hiring of three staff members this summer, I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching about a perennially risky function: screening. We often assume that screening ends once a new employee is hired, but screening should encompass the full employment life cycle, … Continued

Drafting the Ideal Team: Risk Lessons from the NFL

By Arley Turner Next week is my favorite event of the pro football offseason, the NFL Draft. During the draft, the General Manager of each franchise often leads the selection of the team’s “draft picks.” Each prospective team member is carefully screened before the GM decides which players will be targeted as new players for … Continued

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 Walking into an interview is like walking into a pressure-cooker. As an applicant, you sense that the interview is your best chance at winning a job. Most nonprofit hiring teams would agree that an interview would make or break a … Continued

Developing Position Descriptions

Position descriptions are a critical part of the staff screening process. Position descriptions spell out the requirements of the job and help to identify possible risks associated with that position. By understanding these risks, organizations are better able to select individuals who are capable of performing the position’s duties, but who do not constitute an … Continued

On Board With Diversity

By the Nonprofit Risk Management Center Team  A controversy over the merits of diversity on boards of nonprofits has simmered during recent months, stirred by proposed legislation in California, AB 624, that would have required foundations to disclose the composition of their boards and staff. The legislation also would have required foundations to identify grants … Continued

Screening Update

By the Nonprofit Risk Management Center Team  The results of a study of volunteer screening practices by the National Center for Victims of Crime reveal gaps in the volunteer screening practices of nonprofit organizations. Twelve percent of the organizations participating in the survey reported that they did not engage in screening activities for volunteer applicants … Continued

Effective Training is Key to Managing the Risks of Staff Turnover

By the Nonprofit Risk Management Center Team Turnover is a recurring challenge for nonprofit organizations. Paid and volunteer staff may move on to new challenges or better paying positions. From time to time, a nonprofit may need to terminate the employment of a poor performer or lay off employees during an economic downturn. In all … Continued

Will Universal Access to the FBI Fingerprint Database Make Nonprofits Safer?

By the Nonprofit Risk Management Center  Earlier this month, John C. Patterson, senior program director at the Nonprofit Risk Management Center, attended a workshop sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice titled “Expanding Access to Criminal History Information and Improving Criminal Record Backgrounding.” The underlying assumption fueling this movement is that expanding access to criminal … Continued

Risk Management Culture and Your Volunteers

By Melanie Lockwood Herman We’ve been obsessed with “culture” in recent weeks. At a conference I attended in Toronto in mid-August Nancy Axelrod, governance guru and founding President of the Nonprofit Risk Management Center told an audience of nonprofit CEOs that “culture trumps strategy.” Nancy’s comments reminded me that no matter how carefully a nonprofit’s … Continued

Reference Checking: A Lost Art

By Melanie Lockwood Herman As we gear up for two brand-new monthly webinar series I’ve been thinking about commonly missed opportunities to protect the missions and assets of nonprofit organizations. While we may be instinctively drawn to the “latest” best practice strategy, perhaps there are time-tested approaches that deserve a second and third look. One … 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

The Masterpiece

By Melanie Lockwood Herman After work tonight, I’m headed to my second oil painting class. You’ve probably seen the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh, or  Water Lilies by Claude Monet. I expected to create a more humble masterpiece during my first class, but I learned that it … Continued

Tough Lessons for Organizations Serving Vulnerable Clientele

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Last week’s verdict in the criminal case against Jerry Sandusky offers a sobering reminder about the risk of sexual misconduct or abuse facing every nonprofit that provides services to vulnerable clientele, including children, individuals with disabilities and the elderly. While it remains true that vulnerable service recipients are statistically safer while … Continued

Voodoo Reference Checking

By Melanie Lockwood Herman “Out of the box” thinking is a well worn cliché. No one wants to be an “in the box” thinker, yet it is harder than it sounds to approach our jobs in surprising, and really creative ways. Last week I had an opportunity to visit an establishment where the only normal … 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

Staff Screening and The Voice

By Melanie Lockwood Herman A popular reality TV program that has recently caught my attention is “The Voice.” The show features competing singers like “American Idol.” The quirky thing about “The Voice” is that when evaluating the potential of a contestant, the four judges turn their backs to the stage. Each judge hits a giant … Continued

How Lifestyle Figures in an Appropriate Mentor Match

By John C. Patterson There is a fine line between gathering the necessary information for making the appropriate match and infringing on the privacy of all parties involved. Yet, the parents’ right to set limits on who they feel is an acceptable match for their child requires information about the lifestyle of the mentor matched … 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

Checking Criminal Histories: Considerations Before You Begin

Every nonprofit organization is responsible for taking reasonable measures to protect service recipients from harm. This responsibility extends to all facets of a nonprofit’s interactions with its clientele. While not a panacea, careful screening of the paid and volunteer staff who work with vulnerable populations is an important risk management strategy. The failure to adequately … Continued

Background Checks, Screening and Your Nonprofit

by Melanie Lockwood Herman The term “background check” means different things to different people. Some nonprofit leaders use the term loosely to refer to a variety of screening tools, such as criminal history background checks, credit checks, reference checks, or the verification of prior employment and higher education. One former client initially told me that … Continued

Screening Prospective Staff is Sound Risk Management

Know whom you are hiring up front to save yourself wasted resources down the line. Lawsuits, grievances, loss of productivity, and low staff morale are all some of the possible side effects of a bad hire. And a significant number of crises affecting nonprofit organizations involve employees who should never have been hired in the … Continued