New From the Nonprofit Risk Management Center:

Hallmarks of a Risk-Aware Nonprofit

While even the most seasoned and savvy nonprofit leader won't be able to predict the future with absolute accuracy, that doesn't mean you can't take steps to prepare. Some nonprofits are ready to respond to future events effectively and gracefully, while others stumble and fall. As mission-devoted leaders in our respective nonprofits, we have asked ourselves, "What can our organization learn from risk-aware nonprofits?"

Over the past two years, the Nonprofit Risk Management Center convened and consulted risk management experts from the nonprofit sector to identify the hallmarks of a risk-aware nonprofit organization. With generous grant funding from the St. Paul Travelers Foundation, over a dozen current and former experienced nonprofit and public entity executives helped identify 12 Hallmarks, along with practical strategies and tools to help turn your organization into one that manifests the hallmarks of a risk-aware nonprofit.

This new Hallmarks tool is available on the Center's Web site. Each Hallmark is followed by practical suggestions and additional resources to help you get started in your quest to guide your organization along the road to 'best practices' in risk management.

The Hallmarks are designed to be resources for the nonprofit community that:

  • Inspire thoughtful risk-taking by nonprofit leaders
  • Illuminate the risk management Hallmarks that are common in risk-aware nonprofits, and
  • Provide specific and practical guidance as well as 'how-to' insights for leaders seeking to strengthen risk management practices in their nonprofit organizations.

We invite you to examine these Hallmarks and consider how they can inspire action steps to strengthen your nonprofit's risk-taking and risk management practices.

We suggest five basic steps for developing sound decisions for your nonprofit in the face of continuing uncertainty:

  1. Consider the consequences.
  2. Consider the likelihood of those consequences.
  3. Consider the odds.
  4. Listen to your intuitions and experience.
  5. Be wary!

The Hallmarks invite leaders to be ambitious in setting risk management goals and selecting suitable strategies. We hope that our nonprofit clients and subscribers will find this new tool helpful. Check out this brand-new resource.