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Better Safe... Risk Management in Volunteer Programs & Community Service

Linda has been workshopping this subject throughout North America and into Europe for a decade. She’s written countless articles about risk management; finally she has produced the essential source book for managers of volunteers and community service managers everywhere. Loaded with tips, checklists, sample forms, and hundreds of time-saving, common sense, affordable strategies, this book walks you through the process of risk management step-by-step. Better Safe... demystifies risk management and sets out in plain language what every volunteer and community service program needs to know about this sometimes scary, always pressing subject.

Linda Graff And Associates Inc. 2003. Spiral bound, 200 pages, 6 1/2" x 9"

ReviewReaders' CommentsExcerptsContents
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Better Safe... Reviews

Review by CharityVillage.com:

Busy volunteer managers might be overwhelmed by the idea of implementing a risk management process in addition to managing the unpaid workforce that serves their organization and its clients. However, as Linda Graff points out in the opening pages of Better Safe, "good volunteer management is almost always synonymous with risk management. Thus, risk management is not an add on...it is an approach to doing all of the functions you are already doing." Keeping this in mind, volunteer managers shouldn't feel that risk management is such a daunting task, though it is a very important element of volunteer management that shouldn't be overlooked.

Graff clearly outlines the process of risk management, first making a case for why it is necessary, then explaining the ins and outs of it, and finally guiding organizations through the steps of putting risk management into action. She shares plenty of stories and examples throughout to help illustrate why risk management is so important and addresses such fundamental questions as: do volunteers pose a greater threat than paid staff, and will this scare off much-needed volunteers? She also stresses the fact that risk management is not a one-shot deal, but rather a process that is ongoing. She encourages nonprofits to build a risk management team and create a risk management culture within their organizations.

While most of this book can be referred to for specific guidance on the risk management process as it is needed, chapter five warrants closer attention. It is really the core of the book and offers practical, step-by-step instructions on how to identify, evaluate, and control potential risks. Lots of ready to use tools, such as worksheets and checklists, help to keep organizations on track as they create their own risk management model. This chapter alone takes Better Safe an essential addition to any volunteer manager's reference shelf. It is highly readable, well organized, and really makes you want to sharpen your pencil and get down to the business of risk management.

Retrieved May 31, 2006, from: http://www.charityvillage.com/cv/books/bkrev117.html

Review by Colleen Kelly, Executive Director, Volunteer Vancouver

"Life is full of risks." Linda Graff states on page one of Better Safe…. It is clear that we all manage risks unconsciously in our personal lives. What this book makes even clearer is we cannot afford to be unconscious about risk management in our organizational lives. We must take part in a deliberate process of assessing risk in our own organizations. Better Safe provides both the context and the tools to assist us in the discussion - and then in the process - of risk management.

It is particularly valuable to have this resource available now, as, every day, we move into greater accountability in nonprofit organizations. The connection between risk management and liability becomes obvious as we witness high profile cases in Canada involving negligent decision making by persons in authority and abuses of the vulnerable by people in positions of trust. It is important that we pay attention and acknowledge the potential for our own organizations to arrive in the same position if we do not take deliberate action. Chapter 3 provides a broad overview of all the components of good risk management. This chapter provides a framework for Better Safe and includes information on negligence, the elusive "standard of care," vicarious liability, and statutory obligations.

Risk Management in Action, Chapter 5, provides all the tools your organization will require to systematically examine and plan improvement of current practices. There are blank checklists for your organization to complete as well as samples from existing volunteer programs. Linda has created or adapted a number of worksheets, including:
• risk identification checklist
• risk identification and impact matrix
• likelihood of occurrence rating scale
• magnitude of harm matrix
• risk assessment worksheet
• risk management action list
• risk control planning worksheet

These examples definitely provide a complete answer to the question, "What do we have to do?" Better Safe acknowledges that most of us are already in the process of unconscious risk management if we are ensuring good volunteer management principles in our day-to-day work. This resource consciously provides us with very specific information and tools.

This is precisely what we need to complete the circle and ensure that our organizations are safe for our clients, paid staff, and the volunteers we involve to work with us in delivering our mission.


Better Safe... Readers' Comments

"Linda Graff has done it again! Better Safe... takes risk management from the bottom of the too-hard-basket and instead offers readers a 'tool box' full of great ideas, easy to understand principles, checklists and clear illustrations. I strongly recommend this book as a standard addition to the bookshelf of all volunteer program managers." --Andy Fryar President, - Volunteering Australia; Founder & Director, OzVPM

"Better Safe . . . could not have arrived at a better time to support my current role. I began reading and quite honestly was sucked into the vortex that is this book. I was so excited at having all of these pieces in one place I immediately began making notes on its application to my work. This new creation houses all of the pieces in one handy, concise, resource that is easy to read and understand. There are so many easily implementable tools, pointers, checklists, templates to guide the reader it offers amazing value and the book flows so well, each section is like opening a special gift. The overall systematic approach will be applicable to any program be it large or small - all the basics are there. I've personally been searching for a tool like this for at least 5 years. It will become a resource that I will keep close at hand." --Stephanie Kelly, Volunteer Resources Manager, Canadian Blood Services

"Kudos to Linda Graff for documenting and dealing with a topic that is one of the most important issues facing volunteer and service leaders. Donšt wait for something to happen. Buy this book now and begin the process of assessing and controlling risks in your program." --Mary Merrill Author, Consultant, Trainer, Merrill Associates

"Just wanted to drop you a note to thank you for your wonderful publications. I have been working with the Will County Health Department to develop a volunteer program for their pharmaceutical dispensing program. Your texts have been great resources. Having a background in risk management and graduate degrees in healthcare risk management and disaster management, I appreciate the risk management elements of your materials. Also, the guidance you provide for organizing and directing format for a volunteer program have been invaluable to me. Thank you!" -- Jayne Ballun, Oswego, IL


Better Safe Available in Three Formats to Suit Your Needs!

Hard Copy
In the traditional paper format, Better Safe is a spiral bound, 200 page manual in a convenient 6½” x 9" size. Click on these links to download the Canadian Order Form or the US Order Form. Click here for information on how to order any of our publications in the United Kingdom.

"Book-on-CD" Copy

Better Safe is now available in "Book-on-CD" format. The CD includes a quality PDF version of the book as well as a short bonus video featuring Linda Graff. The electronic format allows you to quickly search and print any topic of your choice making all forms and checklists immediately available for your use. Click here to go to the bookstore and order your CD today.

Electronic Copy
For those readers who want an instant copy, Better Safe is available as an immediate download in PDF format from ENERGIZEINC. Click here to instantly order any of our publications directly from our electronic distributor.


Better Safe... Excerpts

Better Safe... Table of Contents



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