Life moves fast. In our haste to manage and innovate, we can overlook potential risks. Sometimes while we’re racing to keep up, accidents happen. Spokes is here to remind you to slow down and take a thorough inventory of who and what you need to protect.
Nonprofit board of directors are legally responsible for managing risks that could affect stakeholders and nonprofit property. These risks fall into a few distinct categories:
- Governance risks – Is the board diligently overseeing the organization? Are they making reasonable decisions?
- Financial risks – Is the board utilizing financial best practices to prevent fraud and ensure accurate bookkeeping?
- Legal risks – Is the board adhering to laws and regulations regarding human resources, donations, and grants?
It’s in everyone’s best interest to make a plan for a deep and lasting commitment to safety, reputation and mission-protection. So where do you start?
Know your risks.
We sign up for risks anytime we host an event or launch a new program. Challenges and obstacles are inevitable; some come as surprises, while others can be assumed. Per the SAFE: Sound Advice for Functions and Events booklet, “Good prior planning, which includes safety and emergency procedures, appropriate documentation, and adequate staffing and security can both mitigate risk and reduce insurance costs. Not planning ahead can have a huge impact on both your reputation and your financial stability.” Click here to download.
Also, make a plan to watch Spokes video series Best Practices in Nonprofit Governance at your next board meeting. This short and information-packed series offers practical tips and strategies for protecting yourself and your organization. You can access the videos through your Member Benefits page after logging in to Spokes member portal.
If you’re a fan of checklists, the Free Management Library offers a Checklist of Nonprofit Organizational Indicators so your entire board or committee can track organizational goals and accomplishments.
Are you adequately insured?
Directors and Officers Liability, Volunteer/Participant Accident Insurance, General Liability…there are a wide variety of insurances available to nonprofits. A wise nonprofit will weigh innovative programming and supportive community services with a clear understanding of potential risks. The Nonprofits’ Insurance Alliance of California and Alliance of Nonprofits for Insurance has handy brochures that you can pick up at Spokes for details.
Do you have updated policies in place?
Policies protect and steer the board and staff as they fulfill the organizational mission. They are a reference tool for appropriate action, ethical decision making, and for dealing with potential or actual conflicts. Spokes has templates available for board-related policies, personnel policies, and financial policies. Examples include whistleblower policy, conflict of interest policy, and a gift acceptance policy. Contact us for details.