Charities and voluntary organisations

Know your risks and how to manage them

Charities, voluntary and community organisation are probably the UK’s most diverse sector. From frontline services to research, international aid to grant making, they cover a huge variety of bases.

With funding constraints and rising user demand, risk management can inevitably become low priority, both operationally and strategically.

IRM’s approach to risk management is what’s known as ‘enterprise wide’. That means it works for organisations of all types and sizes. It also encourages proportionality. This helps you put the relevant level of resource into identifying your risks and managing them, without unnecessary ‘gold plating’.

For more information contact Victoria Robinson: 

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IRM benefits for charity staff

Charities benefit from 10% off member rates for all IRM training courses. Plus, if more than one person from a charity books the discount rises to 15%. See all courses.

Charities Special Interest Group (SIG)

Run by IRM members working for charities or with the sector, the Charities SIG meets monthly online to develop campaigns and events for the charity and voluntary sector. 

Find out more about the Charities SIG

The SIG has now produced a Setting Risk Appetite flyer and supplementary booklet for all to use:

Knowing whether you are ‘Getting Better’ is a useful thing to do and the SIG’s flyer and maturity framework will have you thinking about where your charity is up to in the risk management maturity journey:

We would like to acknowledge the following people for providing assistance/sources of information for this work:

  • National Audit Office – managing risks in government
  • HM Treasury – Risk Management assessment framework
  • Turning risk into results – Ernst &Young
  • IRM risk culture consultation documents
  • APM Risk SIG – presentation from 2004
  • Managing risk in charities – CFDG & Cass business school 
  • The IACCM Business Risk Management Maturity Model (2003), available at
  • Dr David Hillson, The Risk Doctor – “Towards a Risk Maturity Model” (1997), available at

Practical help for charities

Getting Started: Youtube Presentations:

Presentation 1 - Getting started

Presentation 2 - Risk assessment

Presentation 3 - Risk treatment, monitoring and review

Presentation 4 - Risk communication

Presentation 5 - The Risk Management Framework

Charities SIG Newsletters:


Charities Special Interest Group (Autumn 2016) Newsletter

Charities Special Interest Group (Summer 2016) Newsletter

Charities Special Interest Group (Spring 2016) Newsletter


Charities Special Interest Group (Spring 2015) Newsletter

Charities Special Interest Group (Summer 2015) Newsletter

Charities Special Interest Group (Autumn 2015) Newsletter 

Charities blog

Charities Blog Picture

Read our Charities blog. If you would like to contribute a blog post please contact Victoria Robinson here.

See all blog posts.



Blog post 4: Goldilocks in South Africa

Dr Peter Tobin

I first got involved with Ubuntu Community Chest (UCC) a couple of months ago, when they asked me to run workshops for Not for Profits in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal Read more

Blog post 3: Why chasing the money can be bad for your health

Alyson Pepperill

I’ve just finished a verbal marathon – speaking at three events on ‘Planning your strategy’ as part of IRM Charities Special Interest Groups ‘Getting Started’ campaign for charities. Read more

Blog post 2: Do you need assurance?

Jeff Colley

This is my first blog in a series that I hope will provide useful information on internal controls, risk and assurance, and also spark discussion on good practice. Read more.

Blog post 1: Bang goes the theory
Rebecca Bowry

Writing the Getting Started leaflet and extra guidance was an act of pure humanitarianism. I did it to spare you what I had to go through when I first had to tackle risk management. Read more.

Publications to download

IRM Charities Special Interest Group - Getting Started Guide

Risk Management for charities: getting started guide (PDF)

(Select the ‘Flip on short side’ option to print)

Risk management for charities
Getting started: supplementary guidance

Risk Management for charities: getting started supplementary guidance (PDF)

Risk Culture: executive summary

Risk Culture Cover

Risk Appetite: executive summary

Risk _appetite _cover _exec _summary

Find the full Risk Appetite and Tolerance document here

Finished Cover

Download An introduction to understanding and managing regulatory risk