I found a neat website about fundraising for nonprofits and decided to submit a post for the November Nonprofit Blog Carnival, which is “a collection of the best advice and resources that consultants, support organizations, and nonprofits themselves are offering to the nonprofit community through their blogs.”
I’m trying to get back into the swing of things, having completed a great contract as an Interim Operations Manager for a nonprofit and being very busy planning my daughter’s amazing Bat Mitzvah. Now I have some time to devote to writing, as I figure out next steps. This seemed like a great opportunity to reflect on this past year and so I plunged right in.
The theme is “What are you doing to adopt an abundance mindset?” So, here it goes:
I was recently asked to step in and help an organization through a transition period. A staff member had been let go which meant the amount of work had increased exponentially for the rest of the staff, the majority of whom were part-time. Transitions and change are unsettling and can lead to a “deficit” perspective: “We don’t have enough money to do X” or “I don’t have enough time to do Y”.
People were demoralized and communication internally and externally was failing. Some good teambuilding was needed to create cohesiveness and the feeling that we are all in this together, working to fulfill the organization’s mission.
These four steps work well in improving workplace health and creating a culture of good will and camaraderie.
- Regular staff gatherings. Even if staff are incredibly busy, and this is so common at most nonprofits, make the time to get together regularly for staff meetings, either weekly or bi-weekly. In this way, staff will get more and more aligned with each other on moving the organization’s agenda forward. Make time for check-ins to allow people to share tidbits about their personal lives and what they are working on. A must: include food at these meetings! Plan gatherings as a team outside of work- it is a wonderful way to get the full picture of who your coworkers are as people. Camaraderie increases and there emerges a spirit of good will that leaves you feeling like you want to jump for joy. Colleagues need to trust one another and feel like each has the other’s back.
- Create priority lists. If you are part-time, your to-do list is likely going to be overwhelmingly long. Create a list that is manageable, even if it means doing two things one day instead of three. This will leave you feeling empowered and full of hope when you cross off your accomplishments. This also helps with accountability—if others complain a task was not completed, you can whip out the priority list that has been set by you and your supervisor.
- When conflicts arise, remind staff there is a story to be told on both sides. There was a combination of staff who were “old-timers” and newcomers. The old-timers clearly had a lot of experience with the organization and the newcomers were bursting with energy and fresh ideas, many of which were dismissed. Reminders not to take it personally and to frame ideas in ways that help the old-timers feel validated go a long way. We all make up stories in our heads and chances are, they are not true. Be curious. Ask the other person what their story is, so you have a better understanding about where they are coming from. “When you said this was a terrible image to use, what does it remind you of?” or “Instead of using this image, what are your thoughts about what message we need to be communicating?”
- Share stories about challenges and successes in your job. Sometimes we get so focused on our jobs that this creates a silo effect. It is important to share information so that everyone remains focused on achieving the mission. Sharing little tidbits about interactions with your target population can go a long way. “Sally’s mother shared with me that Sally feels like she belongs in the program.” or “When I asked for feedback about why we didn’t get the grant, they told me we were at the top of the list, however we need to focus more on outcomes.”