Posts Tagged ‘Non Profit Risk Management’

Manage Risk the Smart Way

Friday, June 7th, 2013

volunteer screeningBringing dozens, even hundreds, of volunteers through your organization’s doors every year puts it at a risk of loss, damage or harm to your clientele. But volunteer managers can also manage the amount of risk the non-profit is subjected to by following a few steps.

First, identify each volunteer position and its associated level of risk. Your organization chart should have all positions clarified, but if not, you can easily add to it. Think about risk in the amount of contact the position has with confidential information, money or financial information or with vulnerable populations.

  • Low risk means no contact.
  • Medium risk means supervised contact with vulnerable persons, and no contact with confidential information or money.
  • High risk means unsupervised contact with vulnerable populations and/or contact with confidential information and/or money.

Then, prepare job descriptions that establish guidelines and standards of behavior for each position. Make sure the role’s title, responsibilities and duties are clear. Establish goals, as well as boundaries. Mention any qualifications or skills required, as well as the amount of time needed to successfully fill the position.

Each job description should include any training required, supervision required or provided, conditions such as driving, lifting or standing, and tasks it takes to meet the responsibilities.

Finally, establish standards for volunteer screening, according to the level of risk for each position. Low-risk volunteers may simply need an identity check to make sure they are who they say they are. Medium risk would include the identity check as well as require a criminal background check, including sex offender status. High risk would include a top-level identity, criminal background, sex offender and credit check.

It’s important to note when volunteers change positions or move around on the fly. Be cautious about allowing low-risk volunteers to switch into a high-risk role—even for a day—without conducting a deeper background check.

The alternative is to conduct the highest-level volunteer screening on all potential volunteers. Then, you don’t have to worry about a registered sex offender or convicted drug dealer having contact with children, the elderly or the vulnerable.

Good Thing You’re Insured!

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

volunteerscreeningblogAs a follow-up on last week’s post—and in case you haven’t yet contacted your insurance provider to review your coverage—we offer the following scenarios. Just a reminder that non-profit organizations really do need proper insurance coverage for your volunteers!

What’s the worst that could happen?

  • A van accident. Here’s the scenario: one of your most loyal, long-term volunteers is driving clients to the zoo in her mini van. She is a careful, accident-free driver. Still, she is hit from behind at a stop light by an under-insured driver. Two clients and the volunteer suffer injuries. After checking on the status of everyone in the van, your first thought is, “Will the NPO be sued?” Of course you’re concerned about litigation. That’s why you have insurance coverage for all volunteers, volunteer property, liability and un- or under-insured drivers. You also encourage volunteers to check with their insurance companies about additional coverage on their auto policies—for extra protection. And this one did. You’ll sleep tonight, knowing that insurance will cover everything.
  • Charges of sexual misconduct against a volunteer. This is one of the most frightening scenarios a volunteer manager can face. That’s why two types of prevention are important to protect your NPO against it. First, proper volunteer screening is absolutely necessary. When you conduct reasonable background checks on all volunteers, the NPO and its board are less likely to be found liable for damages due to a volunteer’s misconduct. Second, liability coverage is required to cover instances that cannot be predicted. Whether or not the volunteer is guilty of a crime, putting your NPO at risk of financial loss is unacceptable. But be careful—be sure that your liability coverage does not exclude this type of behavior. You don’t want your organization and its directors to be personally liable for negligence!

Insurance regulations vary by state. Check with your insurance provider about whether or not your organization needs any additional coverage. You’ll be glad you’re insured when and if you ever need to be!

Insurance Coverage for Non-Profits

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

volunteer screenigRisk management is an important responsibility of non-profit organization (NPO) directors. It can range from avoiding financial risk through proper planning and investing, screening potential volunteers to keep staff and served clientele safe, and holding sufficient insurance coverage.

While most NPO executives will consult their professional insurance provider for details on their particular needs, here we offer some general information on what to consider to be safe—and smart—about insurance coverage.

Insurance is not perfect and won’t cover every situation a charitable organization is likely to run into. It can also be expensive—especially when an overzealous salesperson recommends coverage you either don’t need or don’t want. But insurance is useful and in most cases, necessary to protect an organization from financial risk.

General Liability Insurance: This usually covers a long list of claims that could be filed against an NPO. Check for lists of exclusions and if necessary, purchase separate riders or endorsements that will cover items your organization’s activities warrant.

Auto Liability Insurance: If your NPO’s volunteers drive on behalf of the organization in either their own or company-owned vehicles, you’ll need insurance to cover them. Generally, auto accidents are not covered by a general liability policy, which offers coverage for the driver, property damage, the vehicle and injuries to others, as well as the possibility that the other motorist involved in the incident is uninsured.

Casualty Insurance: In generally, casualty insurance covers damage done by third parties, vandals, floods, fires,earthquakes and building failures. Consider whether volunteers use their own property, such as laptops and tools, in the course of their work for your organization.

Professional Liability Insurance: This coverage could be needed in cases of claims made by clients against professional or licensed services.

Director’s and Officer’s Insurance: In cases where a volunteer director’s or officer’s actions cause a claim to be filed against the organization, this coverage would be very valuable. It can also help attract board members, since they’ll have the peace of mind of knowing theiy won’t be personally responsible.

Again, insurance regulations vary by state. Checking with your insurance provider about whether or not your organization needs the above coverages is something you should consider doing sooner, rather than later—to reduce the risk of loss to your non-profit organization.