Managing Risk: It’s Not as Bad as It Sounds

I’m excited to be heading to North Carolina for the Center’s statewide nonprofit conference, Transforming Times.In fact, my adrenaline is already pumping in anticipation of the discussion I’ll be leading at one of Friday’s workshops: “Expect the Unexpected – Prepare for the Worst and Hope for the Best.”

With that title, I have to be well prepared!  So I’m bracing myself for all that could go wrong between now and then. Thankfully, I have experience.  Once upon a time, my title was Risk Manager for Nonprofits. No kidding (can’t you just hear the dead silence after introductions?)!

Despite that background, I actually enjoy a very positive outlook on life. But my outlook is through the lens of expecting the worst. Have you ever had these thoughts?  “I bet everyone else in the room is an expert on this topic!” “What if my PowerPoint slides won’t load?” Or, as a presenter, “What if everyone goes to the other sessions?” Ouch! (Come to think of it, I’d like to go to those other sessions at Transforming Times,too. They all sound great.)

Stuff happens.  But if you expect the unexpected, you’ll have a much better chance of surviving in one piece.  My workshop will address how managing risk is all about expectations.

If I have one pearl of wisdom to share with you, it’s that managing expectations has been the most successful risk management strategy that I have used in my 20+ years as a legal advisor and nonprofit manager.  That’s become my mantra.

My teammates at the National Council for Nonprofits are so used to hearing me say, “Let’s be sure to manage expectations!” that they now say it before I do. 

So, I’ll try to manage your expectations if you attend my session at Transforming Times.  You’ll leave with a draft risk management plan addressing the worst things that could happen to your nonprofit.

And, if my experience at the N.C. Center for Nonprofits’ past conferences is any indication, I expect you’ll also leave with new friends, fresh ideas, and a deeper understanding of how to leverage challenges and opportunities.

Hope to see you there!  

Jenny is vice president of the National Council of Nonprofits. The North Carolina Center for Nonprofits is a proud Member of the National Council of Nonprofits.


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