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December 21, 2016
Great American Insurance Group will be Platinum Sponsor in 2017
The Nonprofit Risk Management Center is pleased to announce that Great American Insurance Group will be a Platinum Sponsor of the Center for 2017. The Specialty Human Services Division of Great American has been capably serving social services agencies and nonprofit organizations since 1980. With more than 12,000 policyholders across the U.S., the SHS team focuses on providing comprehensive coverage, strong claims support, and valuable educational resources.

GAIG has been a Corporate Sustainer of the Center since 2012, and prior to that year participated as a sponsor of the Center's annual Risk Summit. "We are pleased to expand our relationship with the Nonprofit Risk Management Center in 2017," said Michael Liguzinski, Divisional President of Specialty Human Services for GAIG. "Our partnership provides our nonprofit clients and agents with an increasing amount of valuable products and services that help them prevent losses. It's a winning combination for all." more
Can't Buy Me Joy (at Work)
By Melanie Lockwood Herman
Across the nonprofit sector, work teams are gathering for holiday-themed celebrations and modest gift-exchanges, wrapping year-end fundraising appeals and saying a fond farewell to departing board members. And in many workplaces, nonprofit executives, managers and supervisors are taking extra time and care to say 'thank you' to their most valuable assets: the people who bring nonprofit missions to life. Some leaders regard seasonal touch points as key to employee engagement. Yet if recent research is to be believed, true employee engagement can't be bought with a gift card, catered 'town hall' meeting, or an extra day off. Why? One answer might be that expressing gratitude at the end of a challenging year simply doesn't convert to the most valuable indicia of employee engagement: trust
In his research connecting neuroscience to employee engagement and trust, Paul J. Zak, founding director of the Center for Neuroscience Studies and professor of economics, psychology, and management at Claremont Graduate University, concludes that "most leaders... provide random perks," in the hopes of fixing the engagement gap. In his article titled "The Neuroscience of Trust," featured in the January-February 2017 edition of the Harvard Business Review, Zak points to the innumerable benefits of a high-trust culture, from stronger performance to less chronic stress and longer tenures. Workplace trust is more than a 'nice to have' aspect of culture; trusting teams are key to realizing an ambitious mission and seizing opportunities to grow and thrive. 
Tidings of Trust and Joy
In his research on the connection between oxytocin production in the brain and trust, Professor Zak found that "trust and purpose... mutually reinforce each other." He explains that "joy on the job comes from doing purpose-driven work with a trusted team." This finding is cause for celebration in the nonprofit sector, where purpose-driven work is fundamental! But the troubling truth is that despite the clear advantage our missions offer, many leaders fall short of inspiring the trust necessary to inspire joyful teams. Consider the following three tips for building greater trust--and real joy--at your nonprofit. 
  • Assign attainable goals with defined end points. Did you know that moderate-stress tasks cause the release of neurochemicals that "intensify... focus" and "strengthen social connections"? Encourage professional and personal development by assigning projects of varying lengths and complexity. At the Center our team members regularly juggle super short-term tasks along with projects that take many months, or as long as a year. Quick 'wins' keep energy levels high, something we all need to reach the finish line and stay focused on the winding paths of more complex initiatives.
  • Illuminate your mission's path through daily communication. Leaders who fail to communicate sincerely, openly and frequently with their direct reports reduce opportunities for workplace joy. Despite perceptions to the contrary, many successful nonprofit executives are introverts who crave time alone for quiet reflection. Yet chief among the complaints of many staff interviewees in Center-led risk assessments is 'inadequate communication' or 'lack of transparency' from a supervisor or the leadership team as a whole. To cultivate trust, seize every opportunity to help your staff understand the vital connection between their daily work and the realization of the nonprofit's mission. Dispense with insincere 'pats on the back'; show your team how their efforts led to tangible, meaningful results for your clients and your community.
  • Ask for help to inspire collaboration and teamwork. Many nonprofit leaders believe that showing vulnerability weakens trust. Professor Zak's research reveals the opposite: that asking for help stimulates oxytocin production in those asked to help. In "Help is Not a Four-Letter Word," I shared poet David Whyte's statement that "We are born with an absolute necessity for help, grow well only with a continuous succession of extended hands, and as adults depend upon others for our further successes and possibilities in life even as competent individuals." The need for help grows as we take on increasingly responsible leadership roles. Confident nonprofit leaders don't wear impenetrable armor: they inspire trust by letting others 'see them sweat' and by asking for--and graciously accepting--help. 
Costly turnover understandably leads many managers to consider ways to inspire loyalty and longevity. Gimmicky rewards and team building exercises sometimes increase cynicism rather than build trust. Science points to the powerful connection between trust and true workplace joy. Instead of relying on rewards that make you feel generous, focus instead on building trust. Start, or restart the process of building trust in your team by assigning achievable goals, communicating your vision, illuminating the path ahead, and asking for help.

Melanie Herman is Executive Director of the Nonprofit Risk Management Center. She welcomes your questions about the intersection of effective risk management and workplace culture at 703.777.3504 or Melanie@nonprofitrisk.org.  
Now Available: Risk Management Essentials-The International Issue
The brand-new edition of Risk Management Essentials is now available. The publication is available in three formats:
The International Issue of RME features: 
Hard copies of RME are also available. To request copies to share with your team, contact Kay Nakamura at 703.777.3504.

Screen With Confidence and Ease

The Staff Screening Notebook presents a 10-step guide to screening to find the best staff or volunteers for open positions at your nonprofit. Find the staff your mission deserves!

Update your screening process for 2017; order copies of the Staff Screening Notebook today!

2014 / 102 Pages
ISBN 978-1-893210-31-8

$20.00 (non-member price); $18.00 (member price).
Call 703.777.3504 to inquire about discounts for 10+ copies, or to learn more about our Affiliate Member program.  
We've Got You Covered
Become a better steward of your nonprofit's insurance program. 
Order Covered today, if:
  • you have questions about what types of insurance your nonprofit should buy
  • you want practical tips for spending insurance dollars wisely
  • you're curious about what the coverages you've already purchased actually cover
  • you want to make sure that your insurable risks are 'covered.'

   Order Covered now! 

June 2016 / 181 Pages
ISBN 978-1-893210-32-5

$30.00 (non-member price); $27.00 (member price).
Call 703.777.3504 to inquire about discounts for 10+ copies, or to learn more about our Affiliate Member program. 
New Webinars Available to Affiliate Members

Cheers to Your Good Health: Integrating Workplace Health Programs at Your Nonprofit 

Learn about how integrating workplace health programs can benefit your nonprofit. Improving employee health can benefit nonprofits in many ways, from boosting employee productivity and morale, to decreasing health care costs. Join our Center staff in a review of workplace health strategies to help make this your best year yet.

Start Me Up: Designing an Effective Employee Onboarding Program
The first days and weeks at a new job are a critical time for employees to soak up knowledge and skills relevant to their new workplace, and for employees to make great first impressions. Effective employee onboarding is an investment in success for both the employee and the organization. This webinar addresses some practical items to consider as you create or review your employee onboarding program. Although the focus is generally on employees and volunteers, there are also some tips covering executive and board member orientation.

Not sure if your organization is a member or don't remember how to access the Webinar Vault? Call Kay Nakamura at 703.777.3504 or contact Kay@nonprofitrisk.org.
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