How can we involve the board in risk management?

Board members are often described as being in the crows nest, looking out on the horizon, while the staff leaders are at the ship’s wheel steering it through the sometimes choppy waters, in the right direction. The job in the crow’s nest is to call the crew’s attention to storms brewing on the horizon. Find a way to give the board members the opportunity to share their concerns: Add an agenda item: “What is it about the nonprofit that keeps you up at night?” Board members may be concerned about issues that no one else has thought of. As board members engage in strategic planning they should ask, “What can go wrong?” and “What can we do to minimize bad results?” Ideally, work towards a culture where each board member thinks of him/herself as a resource in risk management for the organization.

  • The Nonprofit Risk Management Center’s publication, Pillars of Accountability, is a resource that addresses risk management from a board’s perspective.