Nonprofit Risk Management Tips and Resources for Your Event


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If you host peer-to-peer events, you know firsthand how important it is to offer a great event experience. This keeps guests coming back year after year. A big part of ensuring the success of your peer-to-peer events is taking event safety into account. No matter what you’ll be doing, your guests’ safety needs to be a high priority. Here are our top nonprofit risk management tips for peer-to-peer events. 

Ask participants to sign a waiver

One of the simplest ways to decrease your risks at an event is by asking participants to sign a waiver before they enter your event. Risks can be present at both indoor and outdoor venues, so by having a waiver your guests can agree not to hold you accountable for any accidents that may happen the day of your event. 

So, what is a waiver? A waiver is a contract signed by your event guests that states that they won’t hold your nonprofit or its representatives accountable for any damages resulting from their attendance at your event. By signing the contract, they form a binding agreement that states they won’t sue you if something happens when participating in your event. 

A custom waiver for Qgiv's peer-to-peer platform with the box checked confirming the registrant read and agreed to the waiver.

How do you get each guest to sign a waiver? One of the easiest ways to get guests to sign your waiver is to make it a condition of signing up for your event. Many online peer-to-peer platforms, like Qgiv’s, offer waivers guests can sign when they purchase tickets to your event. If you’re selling tickets during the event and need guests to sign the waiver the day of, it helps to have waivers printed and ready to be signed. If it’s an outdoor event, don’t forget to bring your clipboards! 

Watch for weather advisories

Clip from a Hallmark film in which the two main characters' picnic was rained out.

Weather can be a big issue depending on where you live. If inclement, destructive weather is a regular occurrence in your service area, be sure to pay attention to weather advisories. You don’t want to find out you planned your beach day 5K during a hurricane or an outdoor concert during a thunderstorm! 

Instead, pay attention to the local weather. The National Weather Service offers an app that provides hourly updates and weather alerts directly to your smart phone. It’s a crucial tool to have if you plan outdoor events or events taking place in a remote area.  

It pays to know your local weather, too. If you have particularly volatile seasons, plan events for calmer seasons instead. You don’t want to put your guests at risk driving to or during your event because of extreme weather conditions. 

Observe federal, state, and local laws 

Whether it’s the federal drinking age, maximum occupancy rules, or any other law in place for safety (or legal fundraising), be sure you’re observing them!  

Laws vary widely depending on where your event is taking place. It pays to check with authorities in your area to learn what is okay and not okay before you host the event. For instance, different states have different laws about fundraising raffles. They may even be outright banned in your state. 

That’s why it’s important to know the laws in your area. It’s incredibly risky to break laws or violate your rental agreement during your event because if word gets out your nonprofit could be held responsible. Consult with government agencies, state and local law enforcement, and even the owners of the property you’re hosting the event on to ensure that you’re following the rules and laws that will keep the event safe and legal for everyone in attendance. 

Keep it safe and secure

The tips above all reference things that are within your control. But what about if things get out of hand during a fundraising event? Having trained professionals on site can help you manage risks better and keep more people safe. 

If you’re expecting a large group of people to attend your event, or if your event includes alcoholic beverages, it may be worthwhile to hire security to watch over the event and keep things safe and orderly. It would be embarrassing if your Brewfest was shut down due to violating local noise ordinances.  

You could go with a trained security company or even ask local law enforcement if you could hire off-duty police officers to act as security for your event. Often, you’ll find volunteers from the local police department who are willing and able to make sure everyone stays safe. 

Safety can also mean protecting the health and well-being of your guests. If you’re engaging in a somewhat risky activity, it may help to have paramedics on site. Like off-duty police officers, it’s often possible to coordinate for a company that provides ambulance or medical services to be on site during the event in case of injury or illness. If you’ve ever seen a wellness tent at an event before, this is the same concept. 

Lastly, you can’t control whether or not your event attendees are vaccinated, but you can enforce masks for indoor events and encourage social distancing while the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing. These simple steps can help reduce the spread of illness during your fundraising event. You might also consider virtual or hybrid event formats to further support safe, socially-distanced events.   

Final thoughts on nonprofit risk management

These best practices can help keep your peer-to-peer fundraising events safe and profitable while reducing your risk. Being liable in an event accident can quickly cause problems for nonprofits. With these tips for keeping guests safe and healthy, you can reduce the likelihood of problems occurring drastically. 

Need additional resources to help you plan for next peer-to-peer event? Check out these resources: 

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