Tag Archives: Nonprofit management

Ways to Retain Nonprofit Board Members

Ways to Retain Nonprofit Board Members

Most nonprofit organizations will tell you that a motivated and compassionate team is what drives the day-to-day function of their organization. Key areas like administration, program coordinators, and direct service specialists are the heart and soul of what makes a nonprofit successful in addressing client needs and building a solid reputation as skilled providers in the community.

But where does leadership fall in this combination of expertise and connection to stakeholders?When contemplating your next steps in broadening awareness and projecting services to the next level, nonprofit consulting firms will tell you the strategy begins with the formation of a strong, sustainable board of directors.

A team of board members who are engaged with their community as well as in their industries,coupled with the desire to improve the lives of those served by a specific nonprofit, are an integral component of successful, long-term planning for growth.

But once you have these leaders on board, how do you keep their interest? How do you leverage their influence to drive an organization’s plan for maintaining services to those individuals who have the most need?

Where To Begin

The first piece of ordinary, yet effective advice a nonprofit consultant will tell you is to
run efficient, informative meetings. Board members by nature are busy people. In addition to their careers, they are involved in professional and philanthropic efforts and need time for their families and personal interests as well. Their time is a precious commodity and they cannot afford to waste it attending a 3-hour meeting that should have been an hour.

Ensure that agendas are created and disseminated to board members prior to meetings. Any questions that board members have about the agenda should be received prior to the meeting so that it can be properly addressed during the meeting without losing time and getting off track at the meeting. Don’t repeat in a meeting what has already been read in an email or report. Use this time for active discussions that propel the goals and tasks within the agenda.

And this might seem obvious, but since board meetings often occur around mealtimes it is always a welcome courtesy to provide refreshments. You don’t want your board members thinking about dinner when you want them to engage with the work at hand. It’s another way to show you care about them, their time and want to provide them with something in return.

Do They Know Your Story?

The stronger and more personal their connection is to your mission and vision the more likely board members will want to stay around to celebrate successful results. Since your staff members, especially those in direct service, intimately know your programs and gaps that may exist, they are an enormous resource to convey the impact of your nonprofit in the community. Enlist staff members to give presentations about programs and the people who are helped. Don’t be afraid to tug at their heartstrings. Remind board members why they are there and what they can do to keep the mission alive. Share success stories, but also describe areas where needs are not being met and what marginalized populations might be falling through the cracks.

Have They Experienced Your Work First-Hand?

It is one thing to hear reports about those vulnerable people who are helped or community
issues that are addressed, but it is another thing entirely for board members to join in on the work your organization does every day.

Invite board members to “shadow” staff members who are out in the community providing
direct services. We all know that people suffer from hunger, but that hunger looks different when serving food in a homeless shelter. We also know that there are folks who don’t possess the skills to land meaningful jobs that support their families. Board members can observe staff members providing employment skills to refugees and immigrants, the recently incarcerated, and people with physical or mental disabilities.

The more board members see, the more they are able to be an advocate for your organization in the community.

Don’t Forget the All-Important Thank You

Your board members aren’t volunteering for your organization because they expect a thank you or want any praise, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it to them when appropriate. And it doesn’t have to be grand or cost you much money. A nicely written thank you card goes a long way! But your appreciation can also be shown by providing small gifts, appreciation luncheons or even shout outs at events. By providing an environment where their endeavors impact their philanthropic passion, your nonprofit will enjoy the benefits of a board with staying power.

They will firmly connect with your work and enjoy being part of the solution that improves the quality of life in all of our communities. If you’re concerned about the best ways for your nonprofit organization to retain valuable board members, reach out to KM Clark Consulting for help. We know how important your board members are to you and we want to see them stick around for the long haul. Let us help you create a plan to make that happen. Contact us today to get started!

A Vital Nonprofit Resource: How to Grow and Manage Your Volunteer Base

A Vital Nonprofit Resource: How to Grow and Manage Your Volunteer Base

Within a nonprofit organization there is typically a long list of responsibilities with not as long a list of employees to cover these needs. Therefore, employees typically end up wearing multiple hats. The grants administrator might also be teaching job skills trainings and a project manager might also be working as an event coordinator for a fundraising event. Hours can be long and employees can be stretched thin at times.

For these reasons, and more, are why a volunteer base is critical to ensuring that the community’s needs are met and employees aren’t reaching burnout. Community members have an enormous wealth of skills, experience, and compassion that can be utilized to accomplish any number of tasks or goals critical to the overall function of a nonprofit organization. But how do we get them to volunteer with our organization?

Who Are They and Where Do You Find Them?

The simple answer is anyone. The more specific answer is family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, church members, etc. Most people can be a volunteer. They just have to be asked. So many people are unaware of the needs that most nonprofits have that they might not realize they have a lot to offer other than a monetary donation.

Word of mouth can move mountains in the nonprofit world. Recruit through your contacts, your staff members, and through current volunteers. Encourage everyone to spread the word about volunteer opportunities. Asking for help can be humbling on any level, but when the request benefits a community issue, particularly when aiding vulnerable or marginalized people, the reward of gaining committed volunteers is worth the effort.

Also, make the recruitment of volunteers as part of your marketing strategy. People who devote their time to your organization are a key component to building brand awareness as well the more tangible aspect of getting the work done. Utilizing social media and volunteer websites to recruit volunteers will help disseminate appeals to grow a larger volunteer base with varied skills and time commitments.

Best Practices for Managing Volunteers

Don’t let your volunteer recruitment success falter by not having a plan in place that provides training and designated task assignments. If feasible, hire a volunteer coordinator to handle all aspects of the volunteer component of your nonprofit. This staff member should be fluent regarding all programs and the unmet needs within each and be skilled in filling the gaps with a diverse group of volunteers. A volunteer coordinator should:

  • Offer a variety of volunteer assignments and post each online with detailed descriptions.
  • Try to match volunteers according to their skill sets and their personal requests.
  • Provide training about the mission of the organization as well as for instructions for each task.
  • Communicate expectations and provide a safe environment for questions or problems.
  • Encourage both temporary and long-term needs and assignments.

 

If it’s unfeasible to hire a volunteer coordinator – your nonprofit organization can still make this work. Reach out to KM Clark Consulting Group today to see how we can help find unique ways to fit this into your organization’s structure. We know you’re busy and in the long run, a robust volunteer base will help lessen the work of employees.

How to Say Thank You

Volunteers choose to embrace sometimes difficult and often thankless types of tasks for as many reasons as there are different types of assignments. They choose to devote their precious time to lending their skills as well as their muscle to help nonprofit organizations succeed in their mission.

Volunteers deserve appreciation and recognition just as much as the exemplary employees on your staff. While they are lending their time to share in the responsibilities that make a nonprofit function it is necessary to reward their efforts. Ways to say thank you can include:

  • Feature volunteers in digital marketing platforms like newsletters and on social media.
  • During organization events highlight the contributions made by volunteers and the difference their work makes.
  • Thank volunteers with personalized messages from staff members or the executive director.
  • Share the story of a community member who has been directly helped by the work of a volunteer or group of volunteers.
  • Ask community members to write personal messages to volunteers showing their appreciation.
  • Hold a volunteer recognition event and invite donors as well as community members to share in thanking all of the organization’s volunteers.

 

Now’s the Time!

The best time to start growing your volunteer base is now. Even if you start small, the key is to just start. A strong, diverse volunteer base is an integral part of a nonprofit success. If you’re still unsure where to begin, KM Clark Consulting would love to assist your team in taking those first steps. Reach out to us today to see how we can help.

Compassion Fatigue How to Care for Your Staff

Compassion Fatigue: How to Care for Your Staff

People that are driven to work for nonprofit organizations are often compelled by an intense sense of compassion for vulnerable, often marginalized people and by societal issues that demand advocacy and action.

The responsibilities that these employees take on can be difficult and time-consuming as well as often exhausting and heart-breaking. Nonprofits often exist because there are significant gaps in our society’s systems. If these needs did not occur then these agencies would not have a reason to open their doors and employ those called to serve.

But the needs are there, and fortunately, there are a myriad of nonprofit organizations that address a seemingly endless supply of issues for people and the communities in which they live. And thankfully, there are nonprofit employees who devote their skills and generous hearts to these causes, but sometimes at a cost to their own well-being.

Addressing compassion fatigue is a critical component that nonprofit leadership must maintain at the forefront of caring for staff. The well-being of each employee, from an organizational standpoint, can reflect the success of services provided by a nonprofit. From a human standpoint, it is simply the right thing to do, especially when many employees are providing direct services to often the most vulnerable clients.

Stress Management and Self-Care

Take a good hard look at what your employees face every day. They are aiding people and communities who are often suffering from illness, homelessness, or a variety of traumas. The hopelessness and despair that often accompany these issues can infiltrate staff members’ lives and manifest in both physical and mental health issues.

Decision-makers, in combination with nonprofit consulting firms, should create a strategy that cares for their employees as deliberately as they care for their needy clients. A safe and compassionate work environment is the best place to start treating staff with the same thoughtfulness they give to the community every day.

Sometimes the simplest measures can produce the most beneficial results. Allow employees the opportunity to decompress after particularly stressful or traumatic situations. Staff members often cannot solve their clients’ problems, and this can contribute to a sense of failure or feeling hopeless. Time away from the office to rest and re-energize can alleviate the impact of weighty job responsibilities as well. Remind staff to take vacation days and to not resort to overtime.

No one employed at a nonprofit organization can function in a silo. Collaboration is vital in both their own workplace and with partner agencies. Nonprofit leadership should encourage personal connections both internally and externally so that employees have peers who understand the work conditions as well as offer advice to cope.

It is important to encourage staff members to have some fun. Allow for some planned events like potluck lunches or seasonal get-togethers. Share success stories and highlight employees who have made meaningful contributions to your mission. And never forget that even the smallest recognition of an employee’s value can contribute to building positive feelings.

The Role of Professional Help

While all of these efforts offer benefits, sometimes it becomes necessary to harness the mental health expertise of professionals. Don’t think of this as a last resort. Instead, think of this as enlisting counselors as an added component of self-care and a part of the organization’s commitment to staff mental health. We realize that this will not always be a necessary or reasonable avenue for some nonprofit, but it is important to know your options.

Make sure that all employees receive training about mental health literacy and how to identify the signs of compassion fatigue. They will often realize that irritability and loss of sleep are manifestations of difficult workplace circumstances as well as recurring feelings of despair and lack of focus.

Whether through one-on-one conversations or in group meetings, mental health therapists can help employees learn how compassion fatigue may be affecting them and how to navigate this sometimes-vicarious trauma so they can maintain optimum well-being.

Nonprofit employees, especially those who provide direct services to highly vulnerable people and societal issues, risk their own mental health while caring for others. It is not only professionally essential but ethically critical to care for employees with the same heartfelt compassion as those who strive to make the world a better place for all.

We would love to share more examples of low-cost self-care options you can provide your employees with. Contact KM Clark Consulting today to set up a free discovery session with us!

Train Your Team Members to Live the Nonprofit Organization's Mission

Train Your Team Members to Live the Nonprofit Organization’s Mission

In the nonprofit world, people are the lifeblood of what we do. That’s great, except… it’s hard to keep people’s commitment and motivation high, and this is especially true for those that are volunteering their time.

So what do we do about that?

We have to get people to buy into our nonprofit mission. We have to get them excited about the work we do. We have to make sure that our staff and volunteers are happy about what they are doing and that it is making a real difference. How do we do all of that, though?

My best advice? Train your team members to live the nonprofit organization’s mission. Easier said than done, right? Well, let’s take a look at how our nonprofit consulting team practices what we preach.

Board Members

Your board members should be 100% committed to the nonprofit mission. While it seems obvious that board members should know the mission inside and out, this isn’t always true! Some board members might only have a surface-level understanding of the mission or issue at hand. This is why you should take some time to share the impact of your nonprofit mission through testimonials. It’s also important that all board members have a good understanding of your sustainable nonprofit’s history.

Start turning your new board members into enthusiastic fans of the mission at orientation. Stop waiting for the mission to sell itself! You should do this, even if the “training” consists only of an informal briefing accompanied by handouts. Employees need to be “sold” on the mission too, though in different ways.

Paid Staff

You’ll also want to take a look at your paid staff. How can you ensure that they understand the nonprofit mission and are truly committed to making a difference? Here are a few ways to do that:

Put it in writing! Make sure all staff members have access to the organization’s mission statement, vision statement, and values. Get them written down in one place (like on the company’s public website) so everyone sees it. Also, make sure your paid staff’s job descriptions include a reference to the nonprofit’s mission and vision.

When you conduct performance reviews with your team members, make sure to ask them how they are living the mission. This will give you a better understanding of what they do and don’t understand about the sustainable nonprofit’s mission and how you can better communicate it. If they don’t know, it’s your job to tell them!

Make training a part of your job responsibilities. That is, if you expect employees to be aware and engaged about the mission, make sure they know how to do it. Implement training programs for all employees. It doesn’t have to be long or expensive, just brief and focused on the mission. A presentation in your lunchroom or break room will work great!

Volunteers

We’ve talked about staff members and the board, but what about volunteers? How do you train them to live the mission?

Start with orientation. At orientation, provide your volunteers with an overview of the sustainable nonprofit, its mission, and send them off with a copy of the mission statement and any other important documents. Check-in with your volunteers and ask them how they’re doing at least once per month. Take these opportunities to answer any questions about the mission they might have and/or reinforce their knowledge of the mission and how their work fits into it.

As with paid staff, train your volunteers! Provide them with training opportunities and make sure they know how to live the mission.

All of these efforts will culminate in a united, enthusiastic team dedicated to making a difference and fighting the good fight!

Nonprofit Consulting and Training

Are you looking for a way to improve your organization’s board and workforce?

We know that the people who work at your nonprofit are its most valuable resource. That’s why we want to help you create the best possible board and workforce for your organization. Our nonprofit consulting agency can provide the training and tools to help ensure that everyone knows and lives the mission of your sustainable nonprofit, so they can make an even bigger impact on their communities.

We would love the opportunity to show you how KM Clark Consulting Group sets itself apart from the other nonprofit consultants out there today – our nonprofit consulting experts will provide you with all the tools and resources you need to build a great team. If you want more information about how we can help, please get in touch with us today! We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Here Is How & Why You Should Pursue a Business Partnership for Your Nonprofit

Here is How and Why You Should Pursue a Business Partnership for Your Nonprofit

You want your nonprofit to be as effective as possible. We all do, right? But… you’re not sure how to find the right partners.

This is such a common problem because it’s not always easy to find the right nonprofit partnerships. You want a company that shares your values and is interested in helping your sustainable nonprofit achieve its goals. That means not just anyone can fit the bill. This makes it daunting to find the right partner. When we find the right partners though, it’s worth it!

We’ve noticed that a lot of nonprofits focus on partnerships with other nonprofits, religious institutions, community groups, and schools, yet ignore one major player that could completely shift their idea of partnerships. Businesses. Partnerships with businesses offer significant advantages to both parties and should be considered whenever possible. However, it’s important to know how to approach potential business partners. So here are the top tips we’ve uncovered in our nonprofit consulting agency to get you started:

How Business-Nonprofit Partnerships are Mutually Beneficial

The possibilities for benefits when partnering with a business are endless! Not only can businesses donate products and services that will help the nonprofit, but their own brand recognition and status in the community will increase as well. Volunteers are also likely to come forward from businesses boosting the companies’ reputations and the nonprofit organization’s resources. Nonprofits everywhere should be assessing and seizing the opportunity to form these win-win partnerships.

Know What Nonprofit Partnerships Offer

If you’re still struggling to understand why a business would want to find nonprofit partnerships, then you’re in luck! There are lots of great reasons for a business to partner with a nonprofit.

Businesses want to contribute and give back to their community, and nonprofits offer a great way to do that. Partnerships with nonprofits also offer free publicity for businesses, which can lead to more sales. Plus, involvement with a nonprofit can help attract and retain customers who care about corporate social responsibility. Employees might also be happier working for a company that is committed to giving back to the community.

Find Good Potential Partners

Start by brainstorming local businesses that are aligned with your cause – doing a little online research will yield a good list of qualified candidates. Sometimes, you’ll see an obvious and immediate connection. For example, a literacy organization serving the same town as a private high school has overlapping interests. Another example would be a conservation charity teaming up with a company that rents kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards on a nearby reservoir. The possibilities are endless! Sometimes you just have to think creatively to find the connection.

Decide What You Want

Welcome to the wonderful world of business partnerships! When two or more businesses work together, everyone benefits. But how will each party benefit… it’s important for you to think about this before finalizing a partnership.

To get started, it’s important to be clear on what you want from the partnership. What will you do? What will the business do? This at least gives you a framework for having a discussion. Knowing what you can bring to the partnership is also key – you know in a general way how nonprofit partners help businesses, so be ready to offer specifics that suit the type of business you are trying to partner with. Being specific will help paint a clear picture of the value your nonprofit is bringing to the table.

Nonprofit Consulting on Partnerships and More

Do you want to grow your nonprofit?

We know that a sustainable nonprofit is constantly looking for new ways to build their partnerships and gain exposure. And we’re here to help! Partnering with businesses is a great way for nonprofits to get more donations, increase their visibility, and have access to new marketing opportunities.

We can help with forming these partnerships, let our experience provide the insight you need to get this moving. You won’t find another company that is more passionate about helping your organization than we are. Don’t wait, contact us today!

How to Build the Most Impactful Board for Your Nonprofit

How to Build the Most Impactful Board for Your Nonprofit

We understand it can be really tough to know where to start when building a nonprofit board and recruiting new board members. You want to find individuals with the right skills and experience, but you also need people who will be committed to building a sustainable nonprofit and helping move the cause forward. It’s a tough balance to find, especially in today’s world.

Without the right people on your board, though, your nonprofit will struggle. Board members are responsible for making decisions that impact the entire organization. So, you have to make sure you’re picking the right people for the job.

We’re gonna give you tips we use at our nonprofit consulting agency to help you as you look for new board members! By recruiting individuals with valuable experience, connections, and personal attributes, you can create a board that is truly impactful for your nonprofit!

Look for Passionate People

Passion should be at the top of your list of qualities to look for in potential board members, along with community connections and expertise. Passionate people are excited to learn about the organization and its mission. They’re also more likely to serve on committees and put extra effort into board meetings and meeting prep. You know what they say about surrounding yourself with people with a shared vision, right? When you are building a nonprofit board, this becomes even more important because you’ll be spending a lot of time with the individuals you choose.

Consider Their Personality

Personality is always important, but what kind of personality should your board members have? They should be passionate, with lots of expertise and great connections, but they should also have great people skills! Board members need to be accountable, amiable and confident. They also need a good degree of flexibility, because they might be asked to take on different roles on committees or in fundraising.

Make Sure They Have the Time

When building a sustainable nonprofit board, the most desirable board members are likely to have busy schedules, which is fine up to a point. What we don’t want is a great board member who ends up being too busy to carry out their responsibilities. Remind your candidates about the time commitment and ask them if they can do that. Great questions to ask look like:

  • Can you commit the time necessary to be an effective board member?
  • Have you been a board member before?
  • How did that go?
  • How many other boards have you served on?
  • If you were accepted to this board, how will you balance the responsibilities of your other boards and your time as a board member?
  • What sorts of things do you enjoy doing in your free time?
  • Do any of those activities conflict with your responsibilities to this board?

Consider their answers before you make a decision, because your board members will need to commit a significant amount of time, energy, and effort for your nonprofit to be successful.

See What Skills They Can Offer

One of the best ways to find a great board member is by checking their resume. You want someone with the skills and knowledge needed for your organization, but it’s important they share in its passion too! If you see things like financial management, fundraising, or strategic planning on their resume, that’s a great sign because these skills will prove to be invaluable for your organization.

Recruit Existing Board Members to Help

The best way to find new board members is by asking your current board members for referrals. Chances are, they know at least a few people who would be great additions to the board. You can also ask them about the skills and work experience they think the board will need. This is a great way to get a sense of what kind of people you should be targeting.

Nonprofit Consulting for Growth and Sustainability

Struggling to find the right people to help your nonprofit grow? KM Clark Consulting Group can help! We offer a variety of nonprofit consulting services to help you build a board that is both qualified and passionate about your cause. Let us remove some of that burden off your shoulders. We’re excited to get started on this journey with you.

A strong, qualified board is essential for any nonprofit organization. With our help, you can find the right people who will support your mission and vision for years to come. Board members are an important part of any organization – let us show you how to find the best ones for your nonprofit.

Contact us today to learn more about our nonprofit consulting services!

Creating a Strong Mission & Vision Statement

Creating a Strong Nonprofit Mission & Vision Statement

In the nonprofit world we talk, what seems sometimes endlessly, about our mission and vision statements. Who hasn’t been in a meeting where the entire hour was filled with disagreements over this word or that word and in the end you still didn’t have a finalized product? It can be overwhelming, stressful and emotional to create these statements.  It doesn’t have to be!  We want to help make it a better process for you, your organization and all those involved.

Before we move into tips… let’s talk about definitions.

According to Oxford Dictionary, a mission statement is a formal summary of the aims and values of a company, organization, or individual.

A strong mission statement:

  • Answers the questions “What you do + who/what you do this for”
  • Is clear and easy to understand to anyone inside or outside the organization

It is what you want to accomplish for who and how.

A great example of a mission statement is from the Girl Scouts of America.

Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character,
who make the world a better place. 

The Girl Scouts answer all the strong missing statement questions. What they do: builds girls of courage, confidence and character. Who they do it for: girls, and to make the world a better place. It is also clear and easy to understand for anyone.

Not too hard, right?

Okay so we have the definition of the mission statement, now let’s move onto the vision statement.

A vision statement is typically a broader statement or idea that your nonprofit organization is striving for. It should read like the headline of a news article…pull you in while being short and concise.

The vision statement is the ideal world that will exist if your mission is completed. 

A great example of a mission statement is from the Alzheimer’s Association.

A world without Alzheimer’s disease.

Would this make a good headline? Is it short, clear and easy to understand by those inside and outside of the organization?

Yes! It definitely is.

Okay, so you have the definitions… Now what? How do you take this information and put it into action with your organization?

Well the starting point is as easy as looking at these definitions in comparison to your current mission or vision statement, if you have one, then you can begin adjusting from there.

However, if you don’t have either of these statements, let’s get into what your next steps might be.

Create them as a team.
Whether it’s your board of directors or a small group starting your organization, build these foundational pieces together. Gaining viewpoints from multiple people will allow the organization to create a mission and vision statement that best encompasses what the organization truly stands for and ensure it is understandable to the greater community.

Unsure of how to facilitate this kind of meeting? Download our two favorite Activities to Facilitate Creating your Organization’s Mission and Vision Statement.

Make it a living statement.
Just because your organization creates a mission and vision statement now, doesn’t mean it can’t be changed later. As your organization grows, as you learn more about what you stand for and as changes come, you want to allow your mission and vision statements to reflect those changes.

This is especially important for those of you who have a current mission and/or vision statement. It’s alright to review it, in fact, it’s GOOD to review it! If you haven’t reviewed it in several years, it’s time. Make sure it is still in line with your organizational goals and values.

Learn it. Know it. Repeat it.
Now that you’ve written the best mission and vision statement for your organization, make sure everyone knows it. No, you don’t have to be that annoying kid on the playground who is constantly talking about themselves… but you should know your mission and vision statements. And so should your board members and other members of your organization. Be intentional about using them on all written communications including emails, agendas, and business cards.  Ensure that board members and volunteers acknowledge their involvement in the nonprofit in their other pursuits whether as a school board representative, Rotary Club member or church leader with others outside the organization.  Provide them with materials with the mission and vision statements.

Then it leaks out into the community and THAT is how real change begins.

If you’d rather have an outside set of eyes to help in this process, reach out to our nonprofit consulting agency! We have years of experience with helping nonprofit organizations build strong brands, including their mission and vision statements. Get in touch with KM Clark Consulting Group, and we’ll set up a call to see how we can best help.

Don’t forget to download our favorite activities to help facilitate creating your mission and vision statement!.

Celebrating Success

Celebrating Nonprofit Success Every Year

It’s hard to believe that we are quickly approaching the end of 2021 but somehow we are just a few weeks away from the new year. And with the new year comes new goals, new resolutions and new to-do lists. But before you get too caught up with the start of 2022, you should take a look back at 2021 and celebrate all that you’ve accomplished.

Okay, you might be thinking… we don’t have time to celebrate, we have a mile long to-do list and deadlines coming up. Look, we get it. Nonprofits have a lot on their plates and are usually doing it with just a handful of people. However, if we don’t look back and celebrate our successes it can be difficult to see how far we’ve come and find joy in our work when things get busy and stressful.

So let’s get into a few reasons why we think celebrating is worth being at the top of your to-do list before jumping into 2022.

Celebrating boosts wellbeing

I previously worked for a small nonprofit organization as the only paid staff person. Every day was full and exhausting and I’m sure I’m not a minority in this. Many nonprofit organizations are doing the work of 10 employees with 2 or 3 employees.  And with 30% of nonprofit workers being burnt out, it’s probably easy to say that wellbeing could always use a boost!

A social psychology researcher, Fred Bryant, is the father researcher of “savoring” and says that when we savor the positive things that happen it can help provide a barrier to the negative things and help build resilience. So even celebrating small victories can bring on positive emotions that can help with daily stresses.

Shows how much you’ve accomplished

It’s easy to fall into a routine of constantly moving onto the next task and the next task and the next task, forgetting what you’ve accomplished. But when you take a beat to look back at all of the small tasks that have led to bigger victories, it helps you realize how much work has actually gone into it. For example, let’s say one of your big goals for the year was to work with the school system for activities like Red Ribbon Week, sports event and Prom. And guess what? You made it happen! It’s an exciting time for your organization. And you could easily see the excitement and quickly move on to… now let’s work on not only working alongside the schools for these events, but let’s get into every health class once a month. It could be easy to think “getting involved in these events was the easy part, we have much more work to do!” But wait… what about all those meetings it took with different school administrators to get here. Or what about all the times you spoke at different meetings with parents to explain the importance of your organization being in the school. Or all those brainstorming sessions with your staff on best ways to hit your message home… we could probably keep listing things you did to get to this point.

See what we mean? It’s not just the celebration of the overall goal that is important. Looking back and reviewing the details that got you there will show you how much work you actually did and make your accomplishments that much more exciting. This will also give you a great boost in creating a “Year-End Review” for partners, current/potential funders and members of your organization. You can download our free Year-End Review template here to give you a head start.

Staff retention

Remember what we said earlier about burnout for nonprofit workers? That’s real… and it’s a big reason nonprofits have so much turnover. Want to stop hiring a new coordinator every year? Start celebrating! The big, the small and everything in between. Make sure your staff knows the work they are doing is appreciated.

Now… you tell me to celebrate… okay, we got it. But… How?! When?! Where?! Keep reading for some realistic tips you can implement to make celebrating simple and part of your organization’s culture.

Find a quiet space and remember alone.

Grab a piece of paper or whatever electronic device you may use and start remembering. Look through your calendar, quarterly or monthly reports from the year, your organization’s social media pages or anywhere that you have kept things that have happened over the year. Then write them down.

I bet you’ll be surprised by some of the accomplishments you may have forgotten about. Once you have those “bigger” pieces written down, start writing down some of the steps you remember that got you to that accomplishment. Do this for every single one.

At the end you should have a pretty long list of accomplishments and all the work that went into getting them done.

This is an especially great activity for those organizations who may only have 1 or 2 staff members.

Remember Together

If you have staff, a group of board members or volunteers do a similar activity with them as a group! A great way to start this is by sending an email explaining what you’re asking of them. That way they have a chance to do a review alone and bring a list to the meeting. Then set a time either virtually or in person to review what everyone has come up with.

We would almost guarantee that others will come up with some tasks or accomplishments that you forgot about that really impacted them. It’s a great way to hear from others, give them a voice and build community within your organization.

Throw a Celebration

This one is where you can get creative or keep it simple. There are so many options when it comes to doing a celebration. Virtual or in person; invite staff, volunteers, board members, community partners and share the successes you have uncovered in the previous above sessions. Give out “superlatives” for partner of the year or person with the most volunteer hours. If you’re in-person maybe have food or light snacks. If the budget is there, have giveaways. You can also pencil in time at an upcoming meeting or event to do this.

We hope this gives you a fresh outlook on why celebrating success – big or small – is so important, and that you’re able to implement some of these tips into your organization this year.

And remember, whatever you choose, make it work for your organization. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to celebrating.