Take 10: Resume and Thrive Strategies

By Melanie Lockwood Herman and Whitney Claire Thomey The effects of a global pandemic have caused many nonprofits to quickly scale back and shutter programs, send staff home, and redeploy resources to stop the spread of COVID-19. No organization was immune from the need to make fast, and in some cases, immediate decisions about what … 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

Strategic Risk Assessment & Management

Get your executive team and board of directors involved in identifying, assessing, and managing risk at the strategy level. Leave this webinar with practical steps that can help leaders identify, understand, and monitor the big picture threats to your mission. This program is part 4 of our 5-part 2018 ERM webinar series. Watch part 1, Enterprise … Continued

Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) 101

Watch this kickoff to the 2018 ERM webinar series, presented by Erin Gloeckner. Learn the philosophies behind Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) and how ERM differs from conventional risk management. Understand why ERM is a critical component of mission stewardship and of strategic risk management. Learn four common barriers to developing effective ERM capabilities in a … 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

Risk Management and Strategic Planning

Nonprofit leaders are long accustomed to strategic planning exercises that involve the examination of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The fine-tuning of an organization’s vision” and “mission” statements is often part of the process. This webinar will explore ways to integrate an appreciation for risk into your planning cycle. Learn how to update your planning … Continued

Foster Dissent, Quiet Consensus

April 27, 2016 By Melanie Lockwood Herman I’ve been a fan of dissent–over comfortable consensus–for some time. While finishing Adam Grant’s book, Originals, I discovered some new insights into why and how consensus and groupthink pair up to kill innovation. Grant describes how Polaroid made strides in electronic imaging in the early 1980s, and finished … Continued

Contemplating Coverage: Insurance for Nonprofits

By Melanie Lockwood Herman and Erin Gloeckner Are you suddenly responsible for buying insurance for your nonprofit? Or perhaps you have been responsible for some time but have just realized that there are a few gaps in your understanding of what you buy, why you buy it and how to evaluate providers, products and the … Continued

Make Mission Magic by Tidying Up

June 17, 2015 By Melanie Lockwood Herman During a short trip to Chicago last week I purchased an interesting book for the flight home: “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up,” by Marie Kondo. I was equally intrigued by–and skeptical of–the book’s promise to change my life. Marie Kondo is a Japanese cleaning consultant who divides … Continued

As Luck Will Have It

August 19, 2015 By Melanie Lockwood Herman Dan Ariely’s book, Irrationally Yours, is a collection of his “Ask Ariely” columns featured in The Wall Street Journal. I purchased this book at an airport bookstore after learning that a short flight delay was going to stretch into several hours. As luck would have it, this particular … Continued

Beyond Belief: How Cognitive Biases Shape Our World

By Emily Stumhofer Scientists and psychological researchers are constantly trying to figure out why people do the things they do. The notion of cognitive bias was first introduced in 1972 by Daniel Kahneman and his colleague Amos Tversky. In 2002, Daniel Kahneman won the Nobel Prize in Economics for his research on how human judgments … Continued

Obsessed with a Cure: Why Risk Champions Should Think Differently

By Arley Turner Last week I came across a TEDX talk by a student at Carnegie Mellon University on the topic of living with and managing ADHD. My ADD brain went “OH” and clicked “play.” Not only was the student, Stephen Tonti, funny and engaging, but his experiences and opinions on ADHD really resonated with … Continued

Can’t Touch This: How to Bring Your Strategic Plan Back to Life

February 25, 2015 By Melanie Lockwood Herman In an article titled “Why Strategy Execution Fails—and What to Do About It,” in the March 2015 edition of the Harvard Business Review, authors Donald Sull, Rebecca Homkes and Charles Sull explore what happens when mission-advancing strategies collide with the realities of organizational life. The authors cite several … Continued

Magnify Your Mission: Inspire Customers for Life

By Melanie Lockwood Herman An article titled “Inspiring More at Gap Inc.” featured in the March 2015 edition of HR Magazine begins by describing the goal of the Gap’s founders, Doris and Don Fisher, to “do more than sell clothes.” According to Gap’s senior VP of HR, Dan Henkle, Gap is more than an employer: … Continued

Blissful Ignorance and Splendid Serendipity: Resources for Risk Success

March 4, 2015 By Melanie Lockwood Herman “As the area of our knowledge grows, so too does the perimeter of our ignorance.” A common expectation is that with time, attention, and perhaps the involvement of a risk expert, the risks facing an organization are fully knowable. In reality, instead of closing the ignorance gap, a … Continued

Break Free: The Big Payoff from Kicking the Habit

April 1, 2015 By Melanie Lockwood Herman Leaders are guided and inspired by the missions and values of the organizations they serve when they are called on to balance risk and reward in programming. And when it comes to the toughest choices, most leaders go with their gut. But what if your gut is leading … Continued

Think Again: How Outsmarting Yourself Can Lead to Better Decisions

April 29, 2015 By Emily Stumhofer Risk leaders in the public sector make decisions every day. Did you know that how you reach a decision is based in part on the neural pathways in your brain? And by the time you reach your mid- to late-20s, many pathways are “hard wired.” These well worn pathways … Continued

Embrace Radical Thinking to Wrestle Risk

June 3, 2015 By Melanie Lockwood Herman During a staff meeting this week I was reminded of the difficulty of seeing beyond the barrier of past experience. When a member of our team suggested a radical approach to addressing a challenge on our horizon, I immediately offered an example of a prior failed attempt at … Continued

Trust Me

By Melanie Lockwood Herman In “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action,” Simon Sinek writes that “trusting relationships are invaluable for us to feel safe.” Entity leadership teams who want to fully embrace risk management should begin by getting on board with trust. This simple goal—fostering a trusting environment—can mean the … Continued

Coffee, Confusion and Continuous Improvement

By Melanie Lockwood Herman The book Born Standing Up, by Steve Martin, is a close-up look at the career of a performer who seemed to skyrocket to success as a standup comedian and then movie-star. As readers of Martin’s book quickly realize, his fast-track to success was only an illusion. Martin began honing his craft at … Continued

Workplace Investigation Tips from Sherlock Holmes

By Erin Gloeckner Recently, many of our clients have focused on increasing their readiness to respond to and manage employee complaints, workplace investigations, and employment practices liability (EPL) claims. An excellent example of EPL claims risk is Sherlock Holmes himself. If you’re a fan of the stories, you might remember Sherlock’s interesting treatment of Dr. … Continued

Risk Mind Readers

By Lexie Williams I had the opportunity to interview conference presenter Dr. Nitish Singh about the advantages of implementing psychometric testing in order to improve risk management programs. Read on to find out how Dr. Singh’s psychometric powers could apply to your public entity. What is psychometric testing and what is the benefit of applying … Continued

Put Values in the Spotlight

By Melanie Lockwood Herman The September 2014 issue of Fast Company features a wonderful profile of Tory Burch, the designer and entrepreneur whose empire began with the opening of a single retail store in NYC in 2004. Ten years later, the “affordable luxury” brand has 2,000 employees and 85+ stores worldwide. Revenue has grown from … Continued

Meet, Greet, Grin and Adjust

By Melanie Lockwood Herman After a whirlwind month during which we hosted three, back-to-back risk conferences, life at the Nonprofit Risk Management Center has returned to “normal.” What’s normal? Working with dedicated leaders from a diverse array of mission-directed public entities and nonprofits on projects ranging from the development of a cloud application for one … Continued

Knock, Knock: Purpose Calling

By Kay Nakamura This Friday, I’ll accompany my son as he roams our neighborhood dressed as a caveman. It won’t be NYC’s famed “Fashion Week,” but I’m looking forward to seeing what the “in” costumes look like this year. Like many kids, my son ventures out on Halloween with a clear purpose: to score as … 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

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 smartest traveler when I cracked the cover of … Continued

Leadership is Hard

By Melanie Lockwood Herman This week I’ve been reading “The Hard Thing About Hard Things,” by Ben Horowitz, the former CEO of Opsware, whose company was acquired by HP for $1.6 Billion in 2007. What practical advice might a Silicon Valley tech executive turned venture capitalist have to offer nonprofit CEOs and risk champions? Brutal … 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

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

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

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

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

Fact Sheet on Board Minutes

By the Nonprofit Risk Management Center Accurate board minutes are an important resource to governing and advisory boards of public and private organizations. Minutes also support sound risk management by providing a written record of board deliberations and decisions. Board minutes provide evidence that a board has exercised care in decision making. Board minutes also … Continued

Managing Risk in an Improbable World

By Melanie Lockwood Herman In his fascinating book, Struck by Lightning: The Curious World of Probabilities, University of Toronto professor Jeffrey S. Rosenthal explores the science of probabilities. Rosenthal’s text offers a compelling argument for thoughtful risk management while reminding readers to accept the ever-present companion of “randomness.” According to Rosenthal, randomness is often neither … Continued

Learning from Experience

By Melanie Lockwood Herman As our country prepares for the annual holiday where Americans predictably over-indulge, I’ve been reflecting on an important concept in risk management: the role of experience. As I’ve told many audiences, experience is an invaluable risk management tool available to every nonprofit leader. Yet as Paul J. H. Schoemaker reminds us, … Continued

Can You Hear Me Now?!

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Last week I had an extraordinary opportunity to train a team of nonprofit leaders on workplace conflict resolution. The members of the team work for an international, multi-cultural nonprofit. Working together over several days we explored the process of re-framing areas of dispute and disagreement that are inevitable in the workplace. … Continued

The Customer by Any Other Name…is Still a Customer!

By Melanie Lockwood Herman During a recent trip I experienced an unfortunate series of unsatisfactory “customer service” events. In one instance the staff of a nonprofit told me that I did not need a nametag or other credentials to participate as a speaker at the organization’s conference. As I walked away I noticed a statement … Continued

Making My List and Checking It Twice

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Humorist Robert Benchley wrote that, “There are two kinds of people in the world: those who divide the world into two kinds of people, and those who don’t.” I’m in the first category. Although I’m intuitively aware of the dangers of oversimplification, from time to time I can’t help myself. In … Continued

Salty and Sweet

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Recently I’ve noticed an interesting trend in restaurant desserts: the addition of salt as a prominent ingredient. Experienced home cooks know that a small amount of salt is typically present in even the sweetest desserts. But the trend of featuring salt in the name of the dessert and prominently in the … Continued

Transparency, Not Whitewash

By Melanie Lockwood Herman When cleaning out a desk recently, I found several dated vials of “Wite-Out®,” a brand of correction fluid, the opaque fluid used to cover typing errors in typewritten documents. Although I haven’t used it recently, I recall that correction fluid was sold under various product names (e.g., Liquid Paper®) and it … Continued

Mastering the Basics

By Carlye Christianson I thoroughly enjoy the NCAA “March Madness” series of tournaments which began this year on March 17. This year’s line-up includes 65 men’s teams and 64 women’s teams playing in single elimination games. The tournament concludes on April 6th with the final match-up. NCAA tournament games provide some expected results, some storybook … Continued

Kicking and Screaming

By Melanie Lockwood Herman This past weekend I served on a panel at the annual conference of the National Association of Planning Councils. The session topic was “social media” and I was asked to speak about the risks associated with the use of social media tools in nonprofit organizations. It was a terrific opportunity to … Continued

The Grand Finale

By Melanie Lockwood Herman It’s finale week on reality TV. Several of the most popular reality shows on network television wrap up this week, with winners and “losers” receiving prize money, trophies, apprenticeships and recording contracts. In my experience many nonprofit leaders approach the process of managing risk as a seasonal exercise. In the view … 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

Busting Myths

By Melanie Lockwood Herman During a typical holiday visit with my family the conversation often turns to news of the latest medical, scientific or commercial “myth.” During this year’s July 4th celebration the conversation quickly turned to the recent study on the positive health effects of coffee consumption. Family members offered mixed reviews on the … Continued

Soul Connection

By Melanie Lockwood Herman It’s not unusual to hear a nonprofit employee express enthusiasm for the mission and programs of the organization. Many employees are eager to explain how the nonprofit’s vision and mission drew them in. Unfortunately, too many nonprofit leaders allow the passion of dedicated staff professionals to drip out of the organization. … Continued

Resisting the Urge to Assume

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Assumptions undergird many of the decisions we make in our personal and work lives. We assume motivation, intent, perspective and more. We see and perceive things that may not exist, and hold tight to beliefs that support the decisions we’ve already made. Research on interviewing suggests that in an interview setting … Continued

Picture Perfect

By Melanie Lockwood Herman This past weekend I attended a family wedding in Falmouth, MA on Cape Cod. The amateur photographers at the nuptials were able to snap beautiful photos of the newlyweds thanks to an extraordinary beachfront backdrop. With the sun shining, wind gently blowing and an ideal outdoor temperature of 71 degrees, it … Continued

Love and Politics

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Although I will readily acknowledge my eclectic taste in reading material, this week I’ve been reading two books that couldn’t be any further apart with respect to style and substance. Handbook for the Heart is a collection of thirty-four essays on love, happiness and personal growth. In his essay titled “The … Continued

Is Your Door Open?

By Melanie Lockwood Herman I enjoy reading about and observing the intersection of human nature and “best practices” in organizational management. This week I had an opportunity to read the October 2011 edition of HR Magazine, the monthly publication of the Society for Human Resource Management, and I also finished reading Mob Rules: What the … Continued

The Opposite

By Melanie Lockwood Herman One of my favorite episodes of the sitcom Seinfeld is called “The Opposite.” In that episode, which aired in 1994, Jerry Seinfeld persuades his friend George Costanza that George’s natural instincts frequently lead him astray. George decides to take Jerry’s advice and “do the opposite of everything he would normally do.” … Continued

My Top Ten for 2010

By Melanie Lockwood Herman The beginning of a new year is a perfect time to pen a “top ten” list and this year I hope to combine my love of poetry with my job as a writer with a risk management beat. Admittedly the title for this piece isn’t poetry, but it does rhyme… which … Continued

What Not to Do

By Melanie Lockwood Herman It’s finally that time of year when new episodes of my favorite TV shows will be ready and waiting for late-night viewing. Like the nonprofit sector, Hollywood is adapting and learning to do less with less. The dramas we enjoyed during the eighties and nineties have been replaced with “reality” programs … Continued

It’s a Right Brain, Left Brain World

By Melanie Lockwood Herman During a long plane ride to Seattle last Thursday I made additional progress on my journey through Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life, the latest book by religious historian Karen Armstrong. In the preface to the book Armstrong cites the research of Roger Sperry of the California Institute of Technology on … Continued

Succeeding at Failure

By Melanie Lockwood Herman I was tempted to leave the word “failure” out of the title for this week’s eNews out of fear that a title touting failure might be disconcerting to some readers. But facing the fear of failure seems to be a hot topic these days. Earlier this month the Harvard Business Review … Continued

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.” – The 52 Virtues Project By Melanie Lockwood Herman Mother’s … Continued

Calling All Factions

By Melanie Lockwood Herman I’m fascinated by research on the human brain, an organ neuroscientist David Eagleman refers to as “three pounds of the most complex material we’ve discovered in the universe.” By luck I happened to catch Tuesday’s edition of the NPR Program “Fresh Air,” which featured an interview with Eagleman. During his interview … Continued

Everything’s Coming Up Weeds

By Melanie Lockwood Herman After record rainfall in April and May, the front yards, gardens and farms look especially lush in the area of Virginia where I live. Everything is thriving… including the weeds. Extracting the bumper crop of weeds from my flower beds is requiring a bit more time than I had budgeted for … Continued

Getting Social

By Melanie Lockwood Herman As our team worked to put the finishing touches on the agenda for the annual summit we’re releasing today, we found ourselves incorporating themes from the thought-provoking book two of us have been reading: The Social Animal. In the chapter titled “Attachment,” author and journalist David Brooks discusses the correlation between … Continued

Off to the Polls!

By Melanie Lockwood Herman In less than two weeks’ time Americans will head to the polls for yet another “historic” election. Although I can’t recall any election during my lifetime that wasn’t billed as “historic,” I accept the label and look forward to standing up and being counted. I’m also looking forward to the end … 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

Leadership Lessons from the First Century, BC

By Melanie Lockwood Herman On Christmas Eve I had the opportunity to watch Jon Meacham interview Pulitzer Prize winning author Stacy Schiff on the PBS program Need to Know. The less than ten minute interview peaked my interest and I took a short break from holiday preparations to order a copy of Schiff’s new book, … Continued

Dread Knots

By Melanie Lockwood Herman In his provocative book, The Courage to Lead, R. Brian Stanfield writes: “To be human is to be filled with dread.” By “dread” Stanfield is referring to “a great fear or apprehension.” He reminds his reader that both the fear of dying and the fear of something terrible happening without warning … Continued

Remember to Share

By Melanie Lockwood Herman From time to time one overhears the parents of boisterous or bickering children pleading with their offspring to “share.” The admonition to “share with your siblings” is advice that many of us heard repeatedly from our wise parents, particularly when a beloved toy or a favorite treat was up for grabs. … Continued

The Performance

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Despite the fact that I have two left feet and a tin ear, I enjoy going to the theater to see talented professionals dance and sing. Of course it’s possible that my lack of talent and skill in these “departments” makes me an especially appreciative audience member. Last evening I attended … Continued

Be Intentional, Seek Candid Feedback, and Practice Until it Hurts

By Melanie Lockwood Herman A cross-country flight offers the perfect opportunity to turn the pages of a real book. On Monday evening after hearing the aircraft door slam shut in “preparation for taxi and take-off” and dutifully stowing my prohibited electronic gadgets, I opened my recently acquired copy of “Talent is Overrated,” by Geoff Colvin. … 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

Would You Sign a Contract You Havent Read?

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Few days pass when I’m not asked to sign a contract. Whether it’s a form granting permission to record a workshop, or a “click through agreement” I must complete to sit in the exit row on an outbound flight, pages of contract language appear before this lawyer on a regular basis. … Continued

Don’t Let The Dogs Bite You

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Online training is an affordable and increasingly popular approach to training nonprofit volunteers. Providing 24-hours a day education across four U.S. time zones and around the globe is one way to accommodate volunteers who have busy lives and myriad other responsibilities. Yet even the best-conceived plans…can get waylaid. This week I … 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

Mind the Gap

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Readers who have been to a “tube” station in London will instantly recognize the title of today’s essay on risk. Introduced in 1969 on the London Underground, “Mind the Gap” signs were posted to warn riders to exercise care when stepping over the varying-in-size gap that exists between the station platform … Continued

Keep the Crunch but Avoid the Bite in Sales and Fundraising

By Erin Gloeckner At a Risk Summit held in Chicago, we featured a workshop exploring the “sales” and “customer service” roles of nonprofit risk managers. The session was well attended by leaders keen to learn how to promote sound risk management and excel in serving the needs of constituencies within their organization. When I was … Continued

What I Learned Working at an Awesome Nonprofit

By Erin Gloeckner I’m writing this on my final day (of my first stint!) at the Nonprofit Risk Management Center. Melanie told me I could write about whatever I want…so here goes. Work is hard. Even when you love your job, work can be mentally draining, exhausting, and frustrating. Many of my prior jobs were … Continued

Taking Risks on FM Radio

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Nothing makes me feel older than when my daughter changes the radio station in the car and her choice of music makes me wince. The music on her preferred “hit music” stations generally strikes me as simplistic, absurdly repetitive and in some cases, mildly offensive. But sometimes her choice is a … Continued

The Devil and the Details

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Throughout my 25+ years in the nonprofit sector, I’ve heard one particular piece of “advice” more times than I would ever want to count. The comment is typically offered by a well intentioned private sector colleague who says something along the lines of: “the leaders of all nonprofits need run their … Continued

Two Ears, One Mouth

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Last week’s eNews on “Soft Power and Quiet Persistence” drew a small army of introverts out of the shadows of our large and growing list of subscribers. Thanks so much for your feedback and examples of “soft power” in the leadership ranks of the nonprofit sector. Although it was a bit … Continued


By Melanie Lockwood Herman Have you ever been figuratively “stuck”? I have a hunch that the feeling of being stuck is something all humans experience at some time. And I’m pretty confident I experience that feeling as often as the nonprofit leader next door. For example, I love to read. But this Fall I found … Continued

Just Do It

By Melanie Lockwood Herman This week I’ve been among the enthusiastic attendees at the American Camp Association’s 2013 National Conference in Dallas. This terrific event offers the most diverse array of topics I’ve ever seen on a single conference agenda, from more than a dozen workshops on risk-related topics to sessions with wonderfully compelling descriptions … Continued

Don’t Drink the Water: How to Avoid Risk-Taking Side Effects

By Erin Gloeckner Imagine crystal clear waves washing up on white sand beaches, lively steel pan music floating through humid air, and sweet rum punch flowing freely into your glass. Several years ago I enjoyed all three delights during a heavenly vacation in serene Trinidad and Tobago, a Caribbean country comprised of two islands located … Continued

It’s Hard to Talk about Child Abuse

By Erin Gloeckner and Melanie Lockwood Herman Child sexual abuse is so repulsive, that it is truly difficult to talk about. It is painful to admit that any person would harm a child in such a vulgar, intimate way. The sad truth is that we need to talk more about child abuse in order to … Continued

Risk Oversight: Who Dunnit?

By Erin Gloeckner When I first heard the term risk oversight, I imagined a risk manager following clues in a deerstalker hat like Sherlock Holmes. I thought risk oversight meant chasing down the villain who allowed the risk to materialize. But risk oversight is not about blaming people when downside risks materialize. Those responsible for … Continued

Risk Talking at Your Nonprofit

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Talking about risk is essential to fortifying your nonprofit’s reputation and mission, and providing a safe environment for the people who serve and those who rely on you for services. Yet starting a conversation about “what could go wrong” isn’t always easy to do. During a recent conversation with a client, … 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

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

Keep the End Zone in Sight

February 12, 2014 By Arley Turner As a devout fan of the Denver Broncos it has taken me some time to come to terms with the recent Super Bowl results. Thankfully, I’ve finally stopped lying awake at night wondering, “what if,” and “what went wrong?” It’s time to focus on the future. What I’ve discovered … Continued

Playing to Win

By Melanie Lockwood Herman As a teenager I was open to just about any job that would enable me to keep the gas tank full in my Fiat 850 Spider convertible. Of course I also needed cash to fund the cost of replacement parts, which I always bought from a nearby junkyard. Half the fun … 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.

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.

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

Risk Management Resolutions

Risk Management Resolutions Easier than a diet; good for the health of your nonprofit By Melanie Lockwood Herman Were you one of thousands of Americans who received a gym membership gift tucked neatly in a card from a loved one? Each year, millions of Americans jot down resolutions, most of which have something to do … 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

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

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

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

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

Fear, Failure and What’s Next

By Melanie Lockwood Herman My colleague Diana Del Bel Belluz recently sent me the link to an episode of the CBC Radio program Tapestry, hosted by Mary Hynes. The episode, titled “To Err is Human” explores a number of subjects, including two of my favorites—failure and fear. The broadcast begins with a conversation between Hynes and Canadian … Continued