Determining Why Something Went Wrong
nonprofit management tips

Determining how things went wrong can be helped with simple guidelines, sort of a navigation system.

At the Nonprofit Risk Management Center 2016 Risk Summit, Melanie Herman, executive director of the Nonprofit Risk Management Center, and Aaron Lundberg president and CEO of Praesidium, offered a list of sample questions to determine the “Why.”

They used as a model a case of a volunteer coach who sexually abused a 9-year-old boy, a case that brought Praesidium into existence.

1. Did the offender exhibit red flag behaviors that did not rise to the level of abuse? (Policies, training and responding). If so, were they recognized?

A. If recognized, were they reported? If not, why not.
B. If not recognized, why?
2. Did staff have any concerns regarding interactions between perpetrator and clients? (Internal feedback and responding). If so, did they report these concerns to a superior?
C. If not, why?
D. If so, how did the supervisor respond?
3. Did the hiring manager follow all screening and selection procedures? If so, were red flags identified?
E. If not, why?
F. If so, how did they factor into the hiring decision?
4. Did the offender adhere to organizational policies about abuse prevention?
G. If so, why was he still able to get access, privacy or control? Does the organization need to revise its policies?
H. If not, was there corrective action? If not, why?