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Online training for you or your entire organization to work successfully with volunteers!
and liability exists in all volunteer programs whether volunteers work with
youth, provide services to the sick or injured, or give museum tours to the
public. Setting policies to manage risk can seem daunting. However, the following resources can help you take
steps to avoid surprise when it comes to providing a meaningful (and safe) experience for volunteers. In
addition, learn to decide if
appropriate training and supervision can replace canceling valuable services
for fear of legal risk. |
Better Safe...Risk Management
in Volunteer Programs & Community Service|
Author Linda Graff urges us to become conscious about
risk management in our organizational lives. This book will
help you overcome your own resistance to the subject of risk management, and think
through risk issues in a do-able, step-by-step way.
"Linda Graff takes
the fear out of the words... Her worksheets and notes will help agencies of
every size develop a plan... With this guide you will learn how to appraise,
acknowledge, address and avert risky situations."
- Eileen Cackowski, Executive Director
of the Kentucky Commission on Community Volunteerism and Service
($20 US, Electronic Version)
More Resources on Managing Risk
Beyond Police Checks
Definitive guide for screening volunteers and employees, explaining why
and how to assure everyone's protection.
Volunteering Is Inherently Risky
In this article from the The
NonProfit Times, Susan J. Ellis shares the approach that organizations
should not use legal advice to discover what activities are too risky, but they
should ask lawyers, accounts, and insurance agents to help find the legal and
best way to permit an action to go forward.
Does Liability for Negligent
Hiring Apply to Volunteers?
excerpt from the book Staff Screening
Tool Kit includes a list of risk management strategies for legal screening
Your Guide to Youth Board Involvement and the Law
analysis of the key legal issues arising when involving young people under the
age of 18 on a board of directors, with strategies to maximize youth
involvement whatever your state's laws.
The Aims of Risk Management
By Linda Graff
Excerpted from Better
Safe...Risk Management in Volunteer Programs & Community Service
There is nothing that
anyone can do to absolutely guarantee nothing will go wrong [in a volunteer
program], short of stopping services and closing the doors. Volunteer programs
cannot operate without taking risks since the possibility of accident, injury,
loss, or damage is always present. But this is the case in nearly everything we
do, all of the time. It is important not to ignore risks, but it is equally
important not to become immobilized by them. What is needed is a rational, systematic
approach to risk management that reduces and controls risks as much as is
A risk management system
does not manage the risks for you. Rather, it guides the manager of volunteers
into making more informed decisions that account for the existence of risk, and
into actions that mitigate risks wherever possible. The two cornerstones of all
effective risk management are:
There are three central aims
of the risk management process:
- organizational acknowledgment that risks exist
- organizational commitment of sufficient resources
Prevention is the first
priority of every risk manager. It is clearly preferable to keep things from
going wrong in the first place than it is to deal with tragedies and the consequences
of disasters after the fact. Implementing a risk management system reduces the
likelihood of injuries and losses by integrating precautionary measures
into day-to-day operations.
that things still can and do go wrong, even with the best prevention mechanisms
in place, the second aim of risk management is to minimize the magnitude of
harm that accrues in the event that a risk materializes.
only does the implementation of a risk management system reduce liability by
reducing the likelihood of injury or loss in the first place, but a well-documented
risk management system constitutes tangible proof of due diligence. The harm
may still materialize, but not because the organization was inattentive or negligent.
Hence, even if an injury or loss does take place, the very fact that the
organization engaged in risk management can substantially reduce the likelihood
of successful legal action against the organization.
implementation of a risk management process can generate additional outcomes.
Laird Hunter suggests that a risk management process also:
- ensures a safe environment for employees, volunteers, and service recipients
- reduces the anxiety and fear of liability
- conserves the assets of the organization so that it can pursue its mission
- ensures compliance with legal requirements
- ensures that individuals harmed by the organization's activities receive adequate compensation
is granted for organizations to reprint this excerpt. Reprints must
provide full acknowledgment of the source, as cited here:
Safe...Risk Management in Volunteer Programs & Community Service © 2003, Linda Graff and
Associates Inc. Found in the Energize, Inc. Online Bookstore at http://www.energizeinc.com/store/1-211-E-1.
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