Tag Archives: Nonprofit staff

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!


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!

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.