A SOURCE for Tools, Advice, and Training to control risks… so you can focus on your nonprofit's mission.

May 16, 2013

Risk Management Essentials: The Tech Issue

We are pleased to announce the release of the spring issue of our newsletter, Risk Management Essentials. This issue focuses on myriad technology risks, including: cyber security, cloud computing, personal devices at work, and cyber liability coverage. You’ll read about the common mistakes nonprofit leaders make when using new cloud technologies or establishing “Bring Your Own Device” policies. The issue also features input from cloud expert David Linthicum, CTO and Founder of Blue Mountain Labs, and cyber liability expert Matt Prevost, AVP of Cyber and Professional Liability at Philadelphia Insurance Companies.

Download a PDF of The Tech Issue.

View The Tech Issue online.

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When One Door Closes

By Melanie Lockwood Herman

There are only sixteen days left to receive a $175 discount on registration for the 2013 Risk SUMMIT. Don’t let the discount door shut on you! Register by May 31st to enjoy the lowest registration rates for this year’s conference, August 25-27 in Boston.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the expression, “When one door closes, another door opens…” The statement is attributed to Alexander Graham Bell, whose full thought was: “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”

Change is the only constant in the risky world in which nonprofit organizations live and serve. In some cases, changes come about when one door closes: a long-time relationship with a partner nonprofit ends, a donor stops giving to pursue new interests, or a valued employee retires or leaves to pursue a new career or higher education.

Crossing Thresholds Safely

After many years as a nonprofit leader and more transitions than I care to count, I’ve collected a handful of tips that help me close doors safely and walk with greater confidence across new thresholds.

  • Resolve to see transitions as opportunities. The end of any relationship is an opportunity for your nonprofit. Imagine that your next partner will bring new insights, energy and value to your mission, rather than dwelling on the end of a good run.
  • Ask: may we call on you? Ask departing employees and board members permission to contact them if you have questions or need advice from them after they leave. Ask: when is the best time to reach you? At what number? My colleague Carol Weisman recommends asking departing board members: “If there is one thing we could ask you to do for this organization after your board term ends, what would it be?”
  • Reflect on, don’t presume, lessons learned. It’s easy to assume that you’ve internalized valuable lessons from whatever has just ended. Yet true learning occurs when we make a conscious decision to understand, analyze and apply information. Bring a small group together to brainstorm and write down the lessons learned.
  • Close the door gently. Transitions are inevitable. Never slam the door shut when a business relationship closes. A former colleague could re-emerge in a different role in the years to come. More importantly, your nonprofit’s reputation is too important to risk the impression that you hold grudges, are inflexible or lack compassion.

Following these tips isn’t always easy. It’s hard to resist the urge to have the last word with a colleague who caused harm to your mission or was disrespectful to your team. In other instances you may feel that the door was slammed in your face, and your resentment may lead you down the low road. Don’t do it. The most important rule in the world of risk and relationships is the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.

Melanie Lockwood Herman is Executive Director of the Nonprofit Risk Management Center. She welcomes your comments about people and risk or your questions about the Center’s services at Melanie@nonprofitrisk.org or (202) 785-3891. The Center provides risk management Cloud tools and resources at www.nonprofitrisk.org and offers custom consulting assistance to organizations unwilling to leave their missions to chance.

Let the Good Times Roll!

Get ready to let the good times roll! DRIVE, a band that pays tribute to the music of The Cars, will be headlining at this year’s Risk SUMMIT in Boston. No time machine required: the music of DRIVE will take you back to the 80s. Start practicing your dance moves, and remember to pack comfortable shoes and Cars-inspired accessories for the concert.



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