Volunteer Program Risk Management: 5 Tips You Need Now
Posted Thursday, July 9th, 2015 by Verified Volunteers Staff
Before you can create a volunteer risk management program, you need to answer the question: What is risk management?
Risk management is actually quite simple and involves three basic steps:
- Identifying possible threats to your organization (e.g. injuries, accidents, theft)
- Evaluating the potential financial and punitive impacts (e.g. lawsuits or a damaged reputation)
- Taking measures to mitigate or eliminate the risk of damage (e.g. putting plans, processes and practices in place)
Risk management is something all organizations should consider. If you work with volunteers in any capacity, it is important for your risk management program to account for them.
Whether you are developing your organization’s volunteer risk management program from scratch or revisiting a program already in place, here are five tips to help you achieve success.
- Think it through
When considering your risk management plans, processes, and practices, make sure you are thinking through ALL potential risks – large and small. Our whitepaper, Risk Management for Your Volunteer Organization: 2015-2016, includes a helpful matrix that you can use to evaluate and prioritize the risks that threaten you organization. How likely is each one to happen? If it does happen, how serious would the impact be?
- Get key contributors to the table
It’s unlikely that one single person within your organization will be able to identify all the risks that you’re exposed to. Who are the key contributors to bring to the table for a brainstorming session on your organizational risks? This includes the obvious people, such as volunteer managers, recruiters, and your legal team. But you will get more from your brainstorming session if you involve others, such as the volunteers who work on the front line. They will have a unique perspective that could prove very helpful.
- Know the law
You’ll want to have a good understanding of what your volunteer organization is on the hook for in the event of an incident on or off your property. If you are not familiar with the laws affecting your organization, make sure your legal team is. If you do not have a legal representative, you should hire a consultant to guide you through the process. We’re hosting a free webinar on July 22nd at 3PM ET: Risk Management for Your Volunteer Program: Get a Plan. William Henry, Executive Director, Volunteers Insurance Service Association, Inc. will touch on this point. Register now!
- Work with reputable providers
Risk management is never one size fits all, but every volunteer risk management program should incorporate volunteer screening and insurance elements. Work with reputable providers that are extremely knowledgeable when it comes to screening and insurance, specifically for volunteer and volunteer programs.
- Don’t just set it and forget it
Your risk management program must evolve to accommodate new risks or changes in legislation. Even if you are confident in the risk management program you put in place, it must be revisited on a regular basis to keep it up-to-date and account for all potential risks that your organization faces. When it comes to the reputation and wellbeing of your volunteer program, this extra step is well worth it.
These 5 tips are just a hint of what goes into a comprehensive risk management program for your volunteer program. For more, download our free whitepaper or watch our free webinar.
- Download our free whitepaper, Risk Management for Your Volunteer Organization: 2015-2016
- Watch our free webinar, Risk Management for Your Volunteer Program: Get a Plan
- Get a Sample Volunteer Background Screening Policy