In many parts of the country, nonprofit organizations are resuming normal operations and bringing staff back into the office. The logistical hurdles of making this happen aren’t the only thing nonprofits should focus on. Shifting how your organization operates is the best time to review potential risks for your organization. Below, we’ll discuss what this could look like for your nonprofit.
Why is reviewing policies and procedures important?
At the beginning of the pandemic, many businesses were shut down or forced to operate remotely as the world was faced with unprecedented wide-spread health concerns. Because of this, many nonprofits made adjustments on the fly so their employees and volunteers could continue to work, but at a remote location. What may have worked in a pinch may not be what’s best for your organization a year or more later.
In addition, all organizations, nonprofits included, are continuously evolving as new technology is launched or new problems emerge. New employees can find efficiencies that were potentially overlooked before because they’re coming with a fresh view. All of these are why regular review of policies, procedures, operations, and contracts is an important step for nonprofit organizations.
Items to consider during the nonprofit review:
Below are some tasks to get your started on your risk management review of your nonprofit’s operations. Consider this a starting point and add anything else that could be important to your organization.
- Review contracts and agreements. Were they negotiated pre-pandemic or early pandemic? Consider if the contract works for your organizational needs and how you operate. If not, consider renegotiating. Some contracts to consider including fundraising agreements, property or equipment leases, and even insurance policies.
- Check over vendors and partners. Look at donor management software, board management software, and outsourced duties like human resources, payroll, accounting, administration, marketing, and IT. If these are no longer meeting your needs, talk about changing the contract or searching for new partnerships.
- Establish return to work policies with human resources. Have a plan in place whether you’re going to ask team members to work full-time from the office, split time between office and home, or allow more flexibility in either working remote as needed or even 100 percent of the time. Also consider what liabilities you are taking on bringing the team back into the office and what your safety protocols look like.
- Keep an eye on relief funding requirements. If your nonprofit accepted relief funds, like many others have, make sure you are aware of any stipulations attached and whether your nonprofit organization has met those rules or not.
- Inspect internal policies. Has your nonprofit allowed internal policies or organizational bylaws slide during the pandemic? The most common concerns across the industry have been conflicts of interest and segregation of duties. It’s possible the policies need a refresh to work for the organization, or employee training needs to be completed on existing policies. If your Board decides to start enforcing rules you may have been lax about over the last eighteen months, consider giving employees a grace period before they’re expected to fully adhere to the written rules.
Taking a risk management approach to these reviews can help your nonprofit organization by limiting potential fraud, lawsuits, and other risks with a monetary penalty. Our team is available to help you review any financial concerns or to conduct financial audits. Give us a call to discuss your needs today.