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Nonprofit Risk Management Center

The Nonprofit Risk Management Center inspires effective risk management and Risk Champions across the nonprofit sector. They enable nonprofit leaders to identify and manage risks that threaten their missions and operations while empowering them to leverage opportunities and take bold, mission-advancing risks.



How will you sustain the project beyond expended grant money?

Our team intends to continue distributing the white paper during the next year. We have reached out to media organizations, large companies that serve nonprofit organizations, NRMC partner and sponsor organizations, and our large network of subscribers and supporters. The “ask” is to help us share the white paper with a wide audience of nonprofit sector leaders. Outreach continued at our Virtual Conference (Risk Connect) held on May 14th and will continue as well at our Risk Summit during October 21-22. Also, during 2019 we will deliver more than a dozen in-person workshops and keynotes; we are adding references to the white paper to all of these presentations. Our staff is also available for interviews or to answer questions regarding the white paper or research process.

How the grant monies were spent?

Expenses to produce the white paper included $11,209 in NRMC staff time for survey design and review, research, writing, editing and design, and $2,000 for the services of a contractor; we retained a former NRMC employee to create an initial draft of the report. Total expenses were, therefore, $13,209, exceeding the total grant amount of $10,000.

How will you utilize what you learned?

There have been lots of valuable lessons from this project! The first is that nonprofit leaders are eager for benchmarking data and information that helps them understand how others approach risk management in their organizations. The second is that a survey that incorporates a bit of humor or a key question (“What kind of risk champion are you?”) appeals. Although we received a larger number of responses from our first survey, the second survey yielded over 100 responses within a shorter timeframe. With this in mind, we may try shorter surveys that use humor as a ‘hook’ to draw attention to critical topics and spark engagement.

If you were starting over what would you do differently?

One strategy we’d like to use more in the future is working with subgroups of nonprofit
organizations to gather data. We believe that employing the influence of a handful of
nonprofit leaders could increase the sample size and diversity of respondents. Additionally, we would like to publish the data closer to the survey date; we believe that releasing the white paper closer to the time the data was gathered increases the chances that participants will recognize the study and help promote the white paper.

What was the problem the project solved?

Nonprofit organizations need up-to-date tools and resources to navigate risk, but very
few studies exist to illuminate best risk management practices and trends specific to the nonprofit sector. This project published real data and analysis to help nonprofit leaders evaluate their performance, consider new strategies and prepare for upcoming risk management challenges.

Who does the project help?

The project helps anyone interested in risk management concerns specific to the
nonprofit sector: nonprofit decision makers, insurance providers, and advisors in the
nonprofit space.

What makes your solution unique?

The most unique aspect of our final product is the exclusive focus on nonprofit
organizations. Few risk management studies isolate the challenges that face nonprofit
organizations when it comes to risk management such as board/staff relationships,
donor-based finances, mission-focused teams, tax-exempt status, volunteers, etc.

How did the project make a difference?

What were the benefits?
The study gives nonprofit leaders important tools for risk management decisions: an understanding of common risk management practices, trends in risk management practice in the nonprofit sector, and a review of recommended risk management approaches.

What were the results?
The white paper begins with a section providing an abstract of noteworthy
results. Please refer to “Summary and Key Takeaways.”

How were the results measured?
Because the study was conducted through two online surveys, results were fully
recorded and therefore quantifiable. Please see the final report for details about
measurement techniques and results.

How is the project sustainable?

NRMC is committed to not only distributing the final white paper report but also using
the results as inspiration for future research. We intend to conduct more surveys in the
future built on the foundational knowledge and experience provided by this study.

Can the project be replicated? How so?

The project can absolutely be replicated, by conducting similar surveys and publishing
the compiled results. We hope very much that the process will be repeated at different
times and with different sample groups; additional data will provide more perspective
and dimension to the existing study, equipping nonprofit leaders with an even better
picture of how effective risk management practices are evolving in the nonprofit sector.