The Top 10 of 2021’s RISK eNews  

In 2021, the world entered the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many nonprofits began to hit their stride. Most risk leaders became more familiar and comfortable approaching risks with a novelty that constantly shifting plans required. The NRMC team was excited to offer our members, readers, and clients practical tips throughout the year. The following pieces were 2021’s most popular articles. We’ve presented them here for quick reference to help your nonprofit springboard into 2022 with salient risk advice!

#1 –Risk Roles in a Nonprofit

The evolution of risk management programs happens in many ways. However, expansion usually involves infusing risk awareness into decision-making and routine activities, including consideration of how new risk-related activities will be dispersed among the team.

#2 – Warning Signs: Channeling Cassandra to Fortify Your Mission

A ripe risk read about real-world “Cassandras” – prophets of myriad disasters, who, like the Cassandra of Greek Mythology, were ignored, ridiculed, and ultimately proven prescient. Melanie describes five reasons why we often rebuke those who warn and how to channel Cassandras in your nonprofit to harness the value of foresight and conversations about what-ifs to safeguard your mission.

#3 – Managing Risks and Reaping the Rewards of Remote Teams

Leaders across the nonprofit sector learned that remote work was possible and practical at a fantastic scale. In this article –from the most recent issue of Risk Management Essentials – Whitney explores how to infuse your remote and hybrid teams with purpose and intentionality, ensuring your teams have a richly rewarding experience. 

#4 – Choose Your Own Adventure to Risk and Reward

It’s hard to quiet our inner dialogue. Whether yours takes the form of an imposter complex or simply plants doubt in the path of your plans to solve knotty challenges, the route to reconciliation with that voice isn’t to ignore it. In this risk read, Melanie explores salient topics raised by author Ethan Kross of Chatter – The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It and how they relate to your nonprofit’s risk practice.

#5 – Do This, Not That: 5 Essential Risk Policy Drafting Tips

Agility and flexibility are worthwhile—if not fundamental and essential—aspirations for risk leaders. Yet these aspirations must be bolstered and supported with policies and written communications that are concise, clear, explain ‘why,’ and are devoid of dangerous mixed messages. Bookmark these five tips as you go into the next year, with new resolve to revise and revisit your risk practices and policies.

#6 – Choose Essential: Define Your Singular Risk Priority

Many nonprofit teams adopt multiple “strategic priorities” (note the plurality!) and begin their work by compiling a run-on list of risks in a format called the Risk Register. Imagine the potential for focus and impact if we adopted a single, true priority? What IS the most important priority of your risk management department, function, or team? To borrow from Gary Keller, author of The ONE Thing, what is the one thing your risk team could do that would make everything else easier or unnecessary?

#7 – Whether it’s Pastry or Risk Process, Use a Light Touch for a Perfect Result

Melanie presents two approaches for getting to the essence of risk management: action in the face of risk! If you’re ready for a risk refresh at your nonprofit, review these two tactics, take the self-assessment, and download NRMC’s simple worksheet to get started today. 

#8 – Safe and Supported: The Intersection of Psychological Safety and Fruitful Risk Practice

The concept of psychological safety has been gaining traction for several years now, and with good reason! Infusing your organization’s culture with this is an asset you can’t risk ignoring. Erin Gloeckner, former NRMC Director of Consulting Services, explores how psychologically safe teams amplify their risk initiatives, common ways organizations can get derailed, and ten tips for cultivating psychological safety in your nonprofit.

#9 – Make Patience a Prerequisite

When you’re hard-wired to get things done now and never put off until tomorrow what you can wrap up today, it’s hard to be patient! However, risk practices can benefit significantly from timely pauses to put things into perspective. Melanie explores this concept and offers questions to infuse priceless patience into your risk management program.

#10 – Take a Hike! (around Your Risk Landscape)

A nonprofit’s risk landscape consists of features, circumstances and conditions that impact the risks an organization faces and is poised to embrace. Risk leaders should continuously observe and analyze the changing features and facets of their organization’s risk landscape. Read on to review an exercise that will help you identify landscape features, note which has the potential to change rapidly, and how to allocate resources to monitor for changes more effectively.