Meets throughout the year to host special events for IRM members.

Chair: Alyson Pepperill 

Committee members: Roberta Beaton, Guy Biggin, Jan Cadby, Kevin Thomas, Steve BrownSteve GriffithsAnita Punwani and John Greenwood.

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"We used the IRM Charities SIG “Getting started guide” in all of our risk management workshops with directorates and departments.

Workshop participants found the guidance easy to follow and helped them overcome their initial concerns that risk management is difficult and complicated.

Alzheimer’s Society

What we do

The IRM Risk Special Interest Group was established over 10 years ago to provide practical guidance for charities about managing risk and opportunities for sharing knowledge, tips and best practice amongst sector professionals.  Our overall aim is to increase the sector's knowledge of risk management best practice, explore practical solutions for managing sector challenges (such as new regulation requirements), and provide a forum where risk professionals can meet to learn from one another and share up to date risk management practice.

What we achieved last year

2017 kicked off with the results from our Top Risks survey identifying what the SIG cohort sees as the main risk facing the sector.  We learned that the top 5 risks facing the charity sector were:

  1. Income Generation (fundraising and unrestricted funding)

  2. Financial stability

  3. Compliance (fundraising, GDPR, global,  health and safety, crisis management etc)

  4. People (staff retention, volunteer management, quality)

  5. Operational sustainability (resilience and continuity)

Using the survey results we scheduled a programme of free exploratory seminars to look at these risks in more in depth and to share sector lessons.  There were 4 events including a focus group and panel discussion about the top risks survey, fundraising and GDPR, crisis management and security, and people and change.  Each event hosted a range of interesting and experienced speakers who guided us through different approaches or the challenges they face tackling these risks.

The success of our events is a testament to the time and support provided by our speakers who we are grateful to for their continued support.  A flavor of the types of speakers who supported us last year include: Fundraising Regulator, GDPR advice from industry experts, Legal insights from Veale Wasbrough Vizards, sector learning from RNIB, and people insights from Mariel Irvine Solicitors.

Last year saw us focus on compiling our latest practical guide which explores the structures and accountabilities recommended for charities to manage risk in their organisation.  9 months in the making this has been supported by a peer review group from the SIG cohort who have helped us to model and test the guidance before its publication in early 2018.  Watch out for the “Risk Management: Structures and Accountabilities for Charities” publication which will be launched during Q1 of 2018.

We continued to provide interesting sector updates via our newsletters, although we reduced the frequency to concentrate on organising events and producing practical guides for the sector.

In December 2017 we repeated our risk survey to find out which areas of risk are affecting the charity sector today and whether the position has changed from 2016.  Results will be published in early part of 2018.

How IRM's Charities Group helps organisations manage their risks

Watch the video below to hear Alyson Pepperill give insights into IRM's Charities Special Interest Group (SIG). 

2018 strategy

Feedback from the sector continues to indicate that regulatory compliance remains a key area of focus. Regulatory risk is how your organisation manages compliance with regulations and legislation within what is a very rapidly changing landscape (for example, 2018 will see updated regulation of data protection compliance [General Data Protection Regulations]).  To respond to this we plan to develop a practical guide focused on managing risk and regulation which we will research and develop during 2018 – once again pulling on sector expertise and knowledge.  We are also keen to develop additional short practice guides/risk snapshotssuch as how to conduct a deep dive into a particular risk area, how to communicate and embed risk management, and we will publish an update to our ‘Getting Started’ guidance once updates to ISO 31000 are published.

We will also host 4 free of charge seminars (see our event plan below), publish documents onto the website and hold peer review sessions to pilot and challenge our practice guides.


2018 events plan

Please note: dates are still to be confirmed and topic areas may change as driven by the needs of the Risk SIG members and sector environmental factors.  All events are free to charity sector risk experts and practitioners.

  • Winter event: 1st March 2018
    • Topics: Results of the 2018 survey, launch of our guidance “Risk Management: Structures and Accountabilities for Charities”, GDPR case study.
  • Spring event: 26th April
    • Topics: World Economic Forum results and how to employ Horizon Scanning techniques
  • Summer event: June/July
    • Topics: Exploration of what happens when the flavour of the day topic takes resource, energy and money and how we get better at embedding risk management.
  • Autumn event: October
    • Topics: Sector stocktake of how risk management is progressing and linking this back to our Getting Better practice guide, and an update on our 2018 publications.

If you have a suggested topic area for consideration please contact Alyson Pepperill at


How to join the IRM Charity Risk SIG

If you want to learn more about risk management and how the sector manages it, if you want to share your knowledge and learn from your peers, or if you simply want to keep in touch with what’s happening then please join our mailing list where we will ensure that you receive invitations to our events, copies of our publications when launched, and our newsletters.

You can also follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.


IRM Charities SIG practical guides

Getting started with risk management

Getting Better

Risk Governance

Risk Maturity

Risk Appetite

Consultation responses


Previous meetings

Visit MyIRM for more information and to download presentations from previous meetings.


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