The Taming of the Shrewd
Episode 4: A Fresh Approach to Risk Management in Fundraising
Ed Wyatt is one of a very small number of risk management and compliance experts in fundraising. He's worked with several of the UK's household name charities to introduce a fresh and more positive approach to risk management.
While he's passionate about his work, Ed is the first to admit that risk management can be boring! Too often it's seen and done as an unbearable tickbox exercise which squashes and dilutes the most exciting fundraising ideas. But there is another way to tackle risk management, which can enhance and protect your charity's reputation, and empower you to confidently create new fundraising products and engage new supporter groups.
Ed and I talked about the importance of defining your organisation's "risk appetite" - in order words, how much risk your organisation is willing to stomach. This must align with your organisation's mission, rather than the personal opinions of individuals. We wandered slightly off topic to talk about the complicated world of creating a gift acceptance policy, something that has since become very topical in the wake of the toppling of Edward Colston's statue in Bristol.
Ed also talks us through how to identify risks that you are willing to live with, and put in place sensible and manageable controls to reduce those risks. I shared my own experience from 10 years ago of running one of the UK's largest student fundraising events, and the risks and rewards that came with it.
Finally, Ed shared some practical tips about how you can keep learning and improving your approach to risk management over time, without making it too complicated or unwieldy.
Since recording this podcast, I've written some more detailed thoughts about "hypocritical philanthropy" and deciding which grants to accept: https://www.limegreenconsulting.co.uk/blog/edward-colston-the-beginning-not-the-end-of-the-spotlight-on-hypocritical-philanthropy
Ed and I previously shared some more thoughts about risk management in this blog, which we refer to during the podcast: https://www.limegreenconsulting.co.uk/blog/eaten-by-a-bear-the-art-of-balancing-risk-and-reward