Wednesday, 25 October 2017

How to Keep Your Team Happy

High turnover extracts a heavy toll on all organisations, particularly those in the not-for-profit sector. Not only does it waste the time, money and other precious resources that your NFP uses to train its people, turnover increases inefficiency in your organisation as your nonprofit must now go to the effort of finding, training and retaining new personnel.

Long before they leave, unhappy staff and volunteers impact your organisation in terms of the quality of service it provides all stakeholders. If you want to keep your team, and ensure that they are fully engaged in their work for your service community, your NFP’s leadership must make some effort to keep them happy.

The following are a few tips to help your nonprofit better meet the needs of its volunteers and staff members.

Empowerment and Flexibility

Regardless of anyone’s job title and duties, at least some of the tasks that are performed each day seem redundant and unnecessary. Each of us is also an individual with our own tastes and preferences, so wherever it is possible, try to grant your team as much autonomy and authority as possible. Empower your people to make decisions and to take responsibility in the areas that they work in.

Allow staff and volunteers to switch things up during their workday by allowing them to cross train and do similar work, but in different departments. Not only does this help to prevent monotony and boredom, your nonprofit benefits from new insight and perspective brought by members from other areas of your NFP’s operations. It also improves your organisation’s flexibility during times when you might be understaffed in some departments but overstaffed in others.

Keep Everyone Up-to-Date

Have you ever had the experience of having people close to you keep a secret from you? How did it make you feel?

When we respect others, we bring them into our circle of confidence. Everyone wants to know what is going on, and what they need to do as a team to advance the mission forward.

Be accessible to your teams, and make yourself available to them. Have an open-door policy that works both ways. Hold regular meetings with your team members so that you can keep them updated as to your organisation’s goals, policies, and breaking news.

If your team is scattered across multiple locations, assemble them together in one central location with as many members of your team as possible. Next, bring the others in via live video conferencing on Skype or another online platform. Make an effort to give everyone a voice during your meetings so that everyone’s concerns or questions are heard and addressed.

When you openly communicate with your team, you build trust, respect and rapport. Your staff and volunteers learn that they can count on you to provide them with the information that they need to perform their tasks well. Your team also learns that you have their best interests at heart and are looking out for them.


When we work hard, it’s only natural to want our efforts to be recognised and appreciated. Make sure that you are taking concrete steps to show your team that you truly value them as people. Let them know you are grateful for all the hard work that they put into advancing the mission and meeting the needs of others.

Awards ceremonies, perks, rewards and letters of appreciation can all go a long way to show your team just how important they are to you and your organisation. While many nonprofits run on the proverbial shoestring budget, it’s important to avoid the tendency to substitute perks and recognition for comparable compensation.

For your paid staff and volunteers, offer a living wage that’s in line with what others in comparable fields and positions pay. Whether other members of your team are paid or unpaid, make sure that they have all the resources that they need to do their jobs well. Invest in replacing outdated systems and upgrading critical infrastructure. Offer updated training and use innovative technologies to reduce the strain and workload on your teams.

Truly honoring your team’s contribution to your organisation is about more than offering a token acknowledgement; it’s about being realistic about the demands that are placed on them. Give them everything they need to perform well including public recognition, realistic wages, current information and equipment.