Frequently Asked Questions

Question: We're a small nonprofit and can't afford to pay a speaker. Will you speak to our group for free?

Answer: You're not going to believe this, but like your organization, the Center is also a small nonprofit. We offer many free services, including newsletters, online tutorials, articles, fact sheets and more (everything free is accessible at Because we understand that sometimes struggling organizations need risk management help more than their well-funded counterparts, we offer up to four free presentations each year. These opportunities are selected based on a number of factors, including audience size and make-up, event location, and session visibility. Click here for a list of recent pro bono presentations.

Question: Are there restrictions?

Answer: Yes. First, we generally limit our pro bono presentations to brief workshops (under 2 hours) that will be held in Washington, D.C. for audiences of 100+ persons. Occasionally we will conduct a free presentation for a nonprofit with whom we have an existing relationship (e.g. the organization is a consulting services client, or long-time book buyer). Finally, if we book a fully-paid presentation, we may back out within three weeks of the scheduled date. If you aren't able to be flexible, the best bet is to pay for our presentation out of your budget, or look for grant money or other funding to support our participation. If we have to cancel, we will try to get you a replacement, but can't guarantee that our suggested replacement will be agreeable.

Question: If you do a pro bono presentation for us, do we get the same quality of work as if we were paying your regular speaking fee?

Answer: Yes and no. All the prep work is the same. We will come prepared to address your group and speak on the topic outlined in your program booklet or agenda. However, we will not plan to arrive much earlier than the start of the session and generally will leave within 30 minutes of its conclusion.

Question: We like to negotiate and we're pretty persuasive. Will you work for less than your customary fee?

Answer: No. It's fee or free. We believe that our fees are reasonable and fair. If you can't afford to feature one of our staff at your upcoming conference or meeting, we would be glad to recommend another speaker. In many cases we can recommend a subject matter expert (e.g. an insurance agent or broker if you're looking for a presentation about insurance for nonprofits). But keep in mind that these terrific folks are not professional speakers. As a result, you're likely to get the benefit of their experience (for free!) but you can't expect a polished handout submitted in advance of your event. And you also can't expect a truly objective opinion from someone whose livelihood depends on selling a particular product. In some cases you'll say "that's fine — as long as they don't cost anything."

Question: We do have some money in our budget for an honorarium but not enough to cover your fee. Do you have any suggestions?

Answer: If you have put aside a certain amount of money for an honorarium that is less than our standard speaking fees, consider spending that money on materials for your audience. Check out our extensive library of publications (discounts start at 20+ copies). Or purchase one of our recently conducted (or upcoming webinars) and schedule a recorded or live Webinar party.

Question: We have money in our budget for materials, but not for an honorarium.

Answer: Great! We will waive our presentation fee for clients that place a publications order of $5,000 or more at the time of the booking, and pay for the order (and any shipping costs) in full prior to the date of the speaking engagement.

Question: Are your workshops "canned" or do you customize?

Answer: It's no fun delivering a canned presentation. And although this may be hard to believe, we try to have fun teaching risk management to nonprofit leaders. Nonprofits are unique and the needs of our audience differ to such a degree that customization is essential. Every workshop or keynote is customized to meet the needs of your audience. How do we do this?

  1. We talk to you about your expectations, hot button issues and priority risk management concerns and challenges.
  2. We arrive early in order to take in the atmosphere of the event and tune into the critical issues.
  3. We review your web site, event marketing materials and anything else we can find so that we know as much as possible about your organization and event.

Question: Is your work guaranteed?

Answer: 100% or you don't pay.

Question: What makes the Center's staff different from other risk management experts or nonprofit speakers?

Answer: First, we aim to put your audience at ease. Many people bring anxiety and worry to risk management training. Our primary aim is to inspire participants to take on the challenge of managing risk in their organizations. So we begin by addressing the subject in a jargon-free and non-threatening way. Next, we make learning about risk management fun. A little humor goes a long way. Finally, we make it memorable. Participants often tell us that a story we told will help them remember an important risk management "do" or "don't." Both of our principal speakers bring more than 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector to your podium and we love what we do.

Question: What are your fees?

Answer: Workshop, seminar or keynote presented by Melanie Herman (Executive Director), Emily Stumhofer (Staff Attorney) or Erin Gloeckner (Project Manager): $3,500 plus actual RT economy travel expenses. Presentation time: 30 minutes – 4.5 hours.

Each speaker is available to present up to three, 90 minute workshops on a single day. You pay our flat rate plus expenses. If you book a Center presenter for back-to-back training (two consecutive days), our second day is delivered at half-price, for a total fee of $5,250.

Question: We'd like to offer a door prize or give-away. Any suggestions?

Answer: We can provide one of our popular books to give away. Your lucky winner will be thrilled to receive a Center publication! We are available to work with you to select one or more risk-themed give-aways.