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 the Nonprofit Risk Management Center we have observed that fear of how things will turn out causes some nonprofit leaders to worry or even panic while inspiring others to prepare. Rather than trying to forecast or anticipate exactly how things will turn out, author Randy Park reminds leaders to prepare for “alternate futures.”

I definitely favor preparation over panic. I’ve learned the hard way that preparation—though not necessarily stress free— is far less likely to cause stomach ulcers, high blood pressure, or incivility in a nonprofit workplace.

A new report released this week by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation offers an interesting look at the effects of federal health care reform at the state level. The report, titled “Health Care Reform Across the States: Increased Insurance Coverage and Federal Spending on the Exchanges and Medicaid,” was authored by senior researchers at the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center.


Melanie Lockwood Herman is Executive Director of the Nonprofit Risk Management Center. She welcomes your ideas about any risk management topic, feedback on this article and questions about the Center’s resources at or 703.777.3504. The Center provides risk management tools and resources at www. and offers custom consulting assistance.