Joan M. Renner, CPA, CGMA, Director 501(c)(fit!)
When you hear a knock on the door on Halloween, you can bet the next thing you’ll hear is “Trick-or-Treat!” I don’t worry too much about seeing real ghosts and goblins. My biggest risk is running out of candy. Are you ready yet?
Planning ahead for trick-or-treaters is easy on Halloween. Planning for what may arise in your nonprofit requires a lot more thought.
Nonprofit leaders have a good idea of what may arise in their organizations. Board members may worry about what might happen if their long time Executive Director retires. Members of management worry about what might happen if tight budgets continue to stretch staff too thin. These are valid concerns that need to be addressed.
But, too often, nonprofit leaders have trouble moving their organizations beyond the worry stage to plan for potential risks. They might not have enough hours in the day, or enough money in the budget. They see some obstacle blocking each path. As a result, they continue to worry.
It’s no surprise that in a recent study of high profile closures in the nonprofit sector, The Human Services Council found “a lack of adequate risk assessment”. The Council urged nonprofits to “accept responsibility for aggressively identifying, assessing and addressing risks to their financial health and put in place the checks and balances needed to protect themselves and the people they serve.” *
What can we learn?
A risk assessment process can help you turn your worries into action. In an organized risk assessment, nonprofit leaders identify and address risks through a process to “see it”, “size it up”, and prepare to “avoid it, tame it or at least watch out for it”.
Learn more about our on-demand webinar series, 501(c)(fit!)® NEXT –Guided Solutions: Your Nonprofit Risk Assessment. This series of on-demand webinars shows you how to:
- Plan your process to get everyone on the same page,
- identify what drives your organization, what’s key to your survival,
- consider what potential events might put your future at risk,
- evaluate the possible risk events based on how bad they might be and how likely they are,
- develop mitigations to address your most severe risks, and
- put your mitigations in place so that everyone’s prepared to meet tomorrow’s challenges.
You wouldn’t ignore the “check engine” light in your car. Drivers take action to avoid trouble down the road. What makes your nonprofit any different? Don’t wait until something happens. Take action through a risk assessment process, and prepare your organization for the future.
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*Per Human Services Council, New York Nonprofits in the Aftermath of FEGS: A Call to Action.
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