Smart Risk Management for Today’s Religious Organizations
One would believe religious organizations face less risk more common to secular businesses. After all, they’re ministries and servants of the community. But in reality, these groups can be more vulnerable to accidents and security issues.
Today, houses of worship face a unique set of safety and security challenges that weren’t there just a few years ago.
For this reason, its more important than ever to create a sound risk management plan sooner rather than later. This will assist you in addressing the safety and security concerns currently present. In addition, it will help to develop a clear plan of action for dealing with future issues before they become a problem.
In this article, we cover various risks surrounding churches, private schools and nonprofits. We also include ways to help manage the risks in your own organization. Above all, our goal is to share current information on the most popular issues to help you prevent costly problems.
Identifying Risks Present and Future
Every church, private school, and nonprofit operates business different than the next. With that, some organizations will have concerns in areas but may not in others. But, no matter what the case, the best approach to risk management is a holistic one. Be sure to cover all your bases and don’t ignore areas because you think its fine.
Risks present in today’s organizations:
- Cyber Security
- Emergency Preparedness
- Employee Safety Initiatives
- Facility Safety
- Financial Safeguards
- Sexual Molestation and Abuse
- Transportation Safety
- Volunteer Safety
Fires, tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, arson and active shooters can all affect houses of worship. With incidents occurring with little to no warning. Many houses of worship are developing and updating plans and procedures to ensure the safety and security of their congregations, staff, and facilities.
Get With the Program
Risk management is most effective when taking a comprehensive approach. Because, gone are the days of individual groups charged with a singular aspect of risk. Instead, to create the strongest risk defense possible, you must form a quality, safety and security team.
We recommend a risk management team that has between three to eight members. Those members might include:
- Current or former law enforcement
- Current or former military personnel
- Individuals experienced in insurance
- Facility managers
- Individuals with a passion for risk management
This team should follow a well-defined risk management plan. Some risk management plans are more effective than others due to team membership.
Getting the support of your pastor, business administrator and board is essential to managing risk responsibly.
To make it more formal, sanction your team with the pastor, board, and/or members of administration.
Future activities will go through this committee to reduce safety risks. For example:
- Building projects
- New ministries
- Special events
Further, staff and administrative bodies should receive regular activity reports. This will ensure safety issues are addressed as soon as possible.
4-Step Risk Management Plan
Organize your risk management team with great attention to creating a strong group. A team that’s armed with knowledge and a clear plan of action. We recommend these four steps:
All members of the team should have resources and training. This is to inform them on the crucial elements and responses of risk management. The team is then responsible to educate the board and members of the staff.
2. Plan & Respond
Your security plan should include member education, policies, inspections and activity protocols.
3. Train & Inform
Establish a member-wide educational program on safety, security and risk issues. Team members should often speak to small groups, key committees, as well as other members. This both keeps them informed and helps gain insight into current safety concerns. Only then can an effective plan of action be put into place.
4. Follow Through
Create a strategy for employing your risk management program and enacting safety monitoring. But, add your ongoing safety and security measures with consideration… Put them in place without compromising your organization. For instance, try to do it in such a way that it slowly becomes part of member’s activities.
The work you do today helps to protect not just your community, but the entire country. Start preparing now to keep your place of worship or community space safe and secure.
Reducing Risk Is Not Protection
Accidents happen no matter how much planning and preventative measures are in place. For this reason it’s a good idea to look into insurance specific to your organization. When something does happen, having protection helps prolong the longevity of your mission.
Reducing risk by implementing preventive measures is, of course, different from insuring against such risks.
We hope this risk management article is of use to you and your religious organization. Because, the world is constantly changing and the risks surrounding business operations do too. And despite your organization’s selfless service, operational hazards still exist.
At Beacon, lighting the way to your peace of mind is our mission.
Our goal keeps us driven to provide the protection you need to find that peace of mind.
Beacon Insurance Agency has served churches, nonprofits and private schools for over a decade. During this time we have built a solid reputation for providing customized coverage. Insurance policies tailored to their needs as well as offering invaluable risk management resources. In striving to provide the very best service, we have partnered with GuideOne. This allows use to provide both coverage and risk management guidance that is so much needed.
Call us today to learn more about risk management programs and insurance coverages.
- Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA): Protecting Houses of Worship www.cisa.gov
- FEMA: DHS Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Resources www.fema.gov
- FEMA: 5 Ways to Improve the Safety and Security of Your Place of Worship or Community Spaces www.fema.gov
- Nonprofit Risk Management Center: Risk Management and Religious Organizations nonprofitrisk.org
- Church Law & Tax – Christianity Today: Building a Culture of Risk Management www.churchlawandtax.com