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

Dream a Little Dream: Managing Sleep Deprivation Risks

By Katharine Nesslage Our ambitious 24/7 lifestyles, filled with unbalanced diets, low physical activity, excessive electronic media use, and psychosocial stress, are causing a precipitous decline in our sleep. But the safety implications of sleep deprivation have been known for decades. Precipitating causes of the Three Mile Island nuclear incident (1979), the Exxon Valdez oil … Continued

Get All Defensive: A Crash Course To Reduce Distracted Driving

Assuming you commute by car, how much behind the wheel bad behavior do you see in the course of a week? The low hanging rotten fruit is distracted driving from use of personal electronic devices (PEDs) for navigation, tunes, talk, or texting. How many incidents do you see involving corporate vehicles with identifying brands proudly … Continued

Unravel Risk Myths and Mysteries

By Melanie Lockwood Herman A recent conversation reminded me of the tendency to cling to myths and misconceptions about safety and the wide world of risk. Some of the risk-related myths I’ve heard from time to time include: The world is becoming more dangerous: Media reports of violence, tragic accidents, and familiar and less-known health risks … Continued

Employment Practices Risk Resources

Explore this RISK eNewsletter filled with tips and resources for managing employment practices risk. CEO and Staff Succession Planning Avoid transition trauma by reading our practical articles on succession planning: Avoid Transition Trauma with a CEO Succession Plan Staff Succession Planning Employment Policies, Safety, and Screening Read The Employment Issue of our newsletter, Risk Management … Continued

Salient Safety Resources

December 1, 2017 Explore this RISK eNewsletter focused on workplace safety. Whiteboard Wisdom Videos on Workplace Safety The NRMC team recently collaborated with Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.’s Nonprofit Practice to develop a series of Whiteboard Wisdom videos on various workplace safety and risk topics. Watch the Whiteboard Wisdom videos focused on workplace safety: Workplace … Continued

Workplace Harassment: An Unacceptable Risk

Of late, news is teeming with tales of workplace sexual harassment in Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and elsewhere. While it’s important to recognize that both men and women are victims of workplace harassment, many American women are now stepping forward to report harassment they have experienced at work. I assume that the nonprofit sector does not … 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

Finding Neverland: Keeping Staff Safe While Traveling Overseas

Like Peter Pan and the Lost Boys as they explore Neverland, nonprofit staff members might encounter a wide range of unfamiliar events and circumstances when working internationally. From facing civil unrest against an authoritarian regime, to a personal health crisis or a natural disaster, your staff members need to get ‘Hooked’ on safety in order … Continued

Lend a Helping Hand: Top 10 Risks Facing Volunteer Programs

Volunteer programs are vital to the nonprofit sector. Boost the contribution that your volunteers can make in moving your mission forward. Watch this webinar to learn the top ten risks facing volunteer programs, and practical tips to protect your nonprofit when recruiting, managing, and recognizing your volunteers.

Avoid Distracted Driving: Don’t Get Teary and Put Down Siri

This article is an excerpt from The Transportation Issue of our newsletter, Risk Management Essentials. Whether it is sending a quick text or recalling a very emotional memory or event, distracted driving is incredibly commonplace on roads throughout the United States and abroad. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes three primary varieties … Continued

HEATWAVE: Heat Dome Survival Tips

By Erin Gloeckner “Has high blood pressure got a hold on me, or is this the way love’s supposed to be? It’s like a heat wave burning in my heart…” – (Love Is Like a) Heat Wave, Martha & the Vandellas Since the Heat Dome started scorching the US a few days ago, I’ve been … 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

Safe Lifting: Why & How (video)

Improper lifting practices result in countless injuries to American workers each year. Watch the video below to learn a few simple steps for safe lifting! The Center team creates custom risk resources for our clients, like this safe lifting video we created for our client and Corporate Sustainer, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. Build your … Continued

Before You Hit the Road: Stepping Stones of Driver Safety

The leading cause of work-related death is motor vehicle collisions, therefore making the most dangerous part of your volunteers’ and employees’ workday the time spent on the road on behalf of your nonprofit. If your organization routinely (or even occasionally) has employees or volunteers drive any type of motorized vehicles as part of their job, … Continued

Safety is Not a Luxury: Understanding the Risks of Passenger Vans

Large passenger vans, especially those that seat fifteen people, are a popular method of transportation for many nonprofits because they are size-efficient and cost-effective. Church groups, youth sports teams, student groups, and summer camps and other seasonal activity organizers often utilize these vans, and so do other organizations that need to move groups of clients, … Continued

Avoid Distracted Driving: Don’t Get Teary & Put Down Siri

Whether it is sending a quick text or recalling a very emotional memory or event, distracted driving is incredibly commonplace on roads throughout the United States and abroad. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes three primary varieties of distraction: visual—taking your eyes off the road manual—taking your hands off the wheel cognitive—taking … Continued

When the Weather Outside is Frightful: Designing an Inclement Weather Policy

Whether your nonprofit is located in Tampa or Toronto, bad weather is inevitable. No matter if your bad weather consists of intense heat, hurricanes or endless snow, join the Center to learn about the importance of inclement weather policies, a key aspect of your nonprofit’s employee handbook. Avoid getting caught in the next storm unprepared, and attend … Continued

Managing Workplace Safety Risks

Every nonprofit faces the risk of events that may be difficult, if not impossible to forecast. Yet the difficulty of accurately forecasting-predicting what, when and who-does not put anticipating and preparing for events out of reach. This webinar will explore practical strategies for reducing the likelihood of violence and misconduct and other disruptions in the … Continued

Managing Facility Risks

Whether you rent, lease or own the building and grounds where your nonprofit provides services and programs, you are responsible for certain levels of maintenance and safety. The best ways to manage facility risk is to involve the people on the front line and their supervisors in creating the policies and procedures that they need … Continued

Managing Transportation Risk in a Nonprofit

Whether your nonprofit owns a fleet of vehicles or simply requires staff members (or volunteers) to use their own cars for organization activities, you’ve got transportation risk. This Webinar explores a number of key topics within the field of transportation risk management, including vehicle safety, driver screening and supervision, maintenance and hot topics” in transportation. … Continued

Fact Sheet – Active Shooters

December, 2015 Key Considerations and Approaches More than 160 active shootings were documented in the U.S. from 2000 to 2013 and the number of events escalates each year. The agreed-upon definition of an active shooter by U.S. government agencies‹including the White House, U.S. Department of Justice/FBI, U.S. Department of Education, and U.S. Department of Homeland … Continued

Hitting the Nail on the Head: Prioritizing Safety at Your Nonprofit

By Emily Stumhofer Countless Center consulting clients and Affiliate Members list safety “Safety incidents at a nonprofit can result in the loss of life or permanent injury, plummeting employee morale, reputational damage, insurance claims and costly financial and human resource burdens for the nonprofit.” risks at the top of their concerns. Yet some organizations—especially those … Continued

Risks of Sleep Deprivation: Get Your Beauty Sleep for Safety

By Erin Gloeckner Did you know that on average, today’s worker sleeps an hour and a half less each night than they did 50 years ago? In the workplace, sleep deprivation does more damage than you might think. In her interview with Charles A. Czeiler, professor of sleep medicine at the Harvard Medical School, freelance … Continued

Adopt a Total Ban on PED Use While Driving

January 26, 2016 By Melanie Lockwood Herman Since we began offering free RISK HELP to our Affiliate Members in 2012, we have answered a wide array of risk questions–some highly unusual. Last week we received this quirky question from two incredibly different member organizations: should we adopt a complete ban on the use of personal … Continued

Get with the Program: Wellness in the Workplace

July 1, 2015 By Lexie Williams and Erin Gloeckner Life-saving medical treatments and devices have lulled many Americans into believing that an increase in life expectancy is a sure thing. But former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona provided sobering news when he said that “Because of the increasing rates of obesity, unhealthy eating habits, and … Continued

Fight, Flight, or Freeze?

May 13, 2015 By Arley Turner Does your organization have a well thought-out plan to address the risk of an active shooter on your premises? For many organizations, the default response is to implement a “lockdown,” or immediately freeze all activities and shelter in place while waiting for police and emergency assistance. In practice, this … Continued

Make Safety a Habit

Most of us have at least one bad habit we’d like to kick. But the term “habit” doesn’t deserve a bad rap. Habit can, and should, be a positive concept in a public entity. Nowhere is habit more important than the area of workplace safety. A safe workplace, summer camp, clinic, training site or residence … Continued

Protecting Workers Who Are Victims of Domestic Violence

By Jennifer Chandler Hauge Scene: Your nonprofit. Situation: The phone rings. Your administrative assistant tells you she/he is not coming in today. This isn’t the first time this has happened. This employee has missed a few days here and there due to “illness” or “doctors visits,” but this is the first time she/he has been … Continued

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

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

Employment Law Issues Continue To Pose Risks

By the Nonprofit Risk Management Center Employment practices lawsuits continue to be among the more prevalent and most draining legal actions that a nonprofit is likely to face. Discrimination claims filed with the EEOC rose 9% in 2007 — the biggest jump in close to a decade. Nearly one-third of those claims included an allegation … 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

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

Front-Line Risk Managers in Senior Service

By the Nonprofit Risk Management Center  Individuals who regularly visit older individuals and who witness family situations, living conditions, and physical and mental changes obtain a valuable opportunity to detect serious consequences of aging before serious consequences can result. One of the most serious consequences of aging has little to do with the physical and … 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

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

The Weather Outside is Frightful

By Erin Gloeckner And shivering at work is not delightful. Here in Leesburg, VA, we are experiencing bone-deep cold weather and shocking gusts of wind. Though weather is part of our unpredictable, uncontrollable context, we can resolve to be better prepared for cold weather conditions. Weather exposures affect client and employee safety, insurance coverage needs, … Continued

Guns in the Workplace: Protect Your Mission

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Last week a RISK eNews reader wrote to inquire about the intersection of “conceal and carry” laws and the desire of a nonprofit to provide a violence and weapon-free workplace. All 50 states, but not the District of Columbia, have adopted laws that generally permit individuals to carry loaded and concealed … Continued

Workplace Safety Preserves and Protects

By Barbara B. Oliver and Jennifer Chandler Hauge Workplace safety is about preventing injury and illness to employees and volunteers in the workplace. Thus, it’s about protecting the nonprofit’s most valuable asset: its staff members. By protecting the staff’s well-being, you can reduce the amount of money paid out in health insurance benefits, workers’ compensation … 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

Zero Tolerance for Workplace Violence

Key Component of Workplace Safety Workplace safety is one of those better-safe-than-sorry areas of management where prevention is critical. Although an organization’s hiring and supervision policies appear to preclude violent behavior in the workplace, early intervention helps prevent more serious acts. Instituting a zero tolerance for workplace violence policy sends a clear message to all … Continued

Keeping Volunteers Safe From Harm: Street Smarts for Unfamiliar Turf

By Barbara B. Oliver Volunteer safety takes many forms in a community-serving nonprofit. From a thorough orientation program to “on-the-job” training, careful supervision and incident follow-up, nonprofits have various opportunities to help their volunteers stay safe. Start at the Beginning Don’t assume that you know what your volunteers are worried about or afraid of. Ask … 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

People — Your Most Pivotal Resource

By George L. Head, Ph.D. Three large groups of people are essential to your nonprofit’s success in pursuing its mission: Your staff (including your officers, employees, and volunteers) who jointly perform all the planning, speaking, driving, carrying, cooking, cleaning, negotiating, decision-making, and all the other activities that we tend somewhat loosely to say your nonprofit … Continued

Handling Suspicious Packages and Letters

Mailroom security, an area often overlooked as policies and procedures are created or updated to reduce risks and losses, has risen in importance following the biological scares in late 2001. Small government entities or nonprofit organizations are especially vulnerable because many don’t have a centralized mailroom or designate a single person to receive and distribute … Continued

Emergency Evacuation Strategies

Fires, explosions, chemical releases, violence or biological releases pose a threat to everyone in your organization’s facilities. One way to ensure the safety of all affected populations and reduce the risk to your organization is to have an evacuation plan. The beauty of this strategy is that even the smallest organization operating with meager resources … Continued