Churches and nonprofits encounter a number of demands in their daily operations. Risk management is more important than ever today; unfortunately, it is not uncommon for it to be overlooked due to an organization’s restricted resources as well as the day-to-day focus on organizational programs and tasks.
But it is essential for nonprofits and churches to focus on vital responsibilities like compliance with state and government employment regulations, yearly governmental filings, program oversight and safety, updating by-laws and other governance documents to comply with the organization’s mission, property management and ownership, etc.
Taking into consideration the organization’s structure and mission, churches and nonprofits ought to take the following steps to reduce any type of legal risk connected with these concerns:
Anticipate risk. Conduct a total analysis of the organization that takes into consideration not only its current circumstances but also any kind of future situations that may present a risk. While few churches or nonprofits could have anticipated the unprecedented fallout from COVID-19, it has actually offered us all lessons on the relevance of preparing for the unknown.
Prioritize risks. Assessing the most vulnerable areas of your church or nonprofit will help you establish how to prioritize potential threats. For instance, if your organization has youth programs, you will certainly need to have clearly worded abuse prevention policies in place in addition to background testing and training for volunteers or workers managing this program. The increasing incidence of physical violence at church services would certainly indicate the need to put appropriate safety policies and personnel in place to monitor for any type of prospective issues.
Delegate responsibility for risk management. An efficient risk management strategy relies on a committed team of supervisors to accomplish preventive measures. This means having risk management as a part of every supervisor’s duties so the magnitude of mitigating risk permeates the organization.
Talk about risk management. Everyone in the organization needs to be aware of the risk monitoring procedures in place to protect the church or nonprofit. An employee handbook is necessary to convey the company’s policies and procedures, including processes for dealing with harassment or abuse, the use of social media, cybersecurity concerns, etc.
Maintain risk monitoring. Routinely assessing your exposure to risk can help your organization be ready to act in case of a security violation, a poor act by a staff member, or any other circumstances that present an organizational risk.
Acquiring knowledgeable legal support from a lawyer experienced with serving churches and nonprofits can help you proactively identify and also fix any vulnerabilities in addition to preparing for exactly how to minimize risk in all areas of your church or nonprofit.
Provident Law’s nonprofit attorneys can help churches and religious organizations with risk management questions. We stand ready to counsel and serve churches, charities, and foundations, as well as private schools, colleges, universities, and other types of nonprofit organizations—providing broad transactional and general counsel services in Arizona and surrounding areas. Contact us to learn more.