Morale in Non-Profit Orgs: How to Keep Employees Motivated

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Morale is a common challenge for non-profit organizations. According to the 2018 Nonprofit Finance Fund survey, financial sustainability and competitive pay are still among the top problems of nonprofits.

Struggling with finances, many nonprofits find it difficult to meet the salary their employees deserve. Even if their workers know that they won’t be paid past a certain amount, the reality of their pay can affect their morale and motivation, especially when the organization isn’t reaching its goals.

The pay is just one of the reasons nonprofits have one of the highest turnover rates across industries.

These facts prove that nonprofits should pay more attention to their team’s morale. Boosting employee morale is one of the effective ways of keeping any organization productive and lowering turnover.

The following are some tips for raising employee morale in non-profit organizations.

Offer flexible work schedules

The working hours in nonprofits are different from standard business hours. Many employees work beyond regular hours, which can affect their personal lives. Giving workers the flexibility to structure their workday can provide them with the balance and control they need to stay motivated.

Flexible work schedules are especially beneficial for those who are balancing a full-time profession with their non-profit work. They’ll be able to balance their duties in a more healthy way, helping them avoid overfatigue and stay fully engaged with the goals of the organization.

Create an employee incentive program

Recognizing your employee’s hard work is one effective way to keep them motivated. Employee rewards ideas don’t have to be expensive; they can be as simple as awarding an employee of the month with gift certificates. The important thing is that you acknowledge the efforts of your people, especially the volunteers.

Other simple but worthwhile reward ideas are food, paid leave credits, and even transportation incentives. Be sure to choose incentives that provide value for your employees, not just novelty items like plaques or medals.

Have a training budget

Employee development shouldn’t be neglected, even in nonprofits. Your team needs continuous coaching and training to be able to improve in their roles. Plus, investing in their development is more cost-efficient than regularly replacing your employees with new hires. Your projects aren’t interrupted by changes in ownership, helping the organization stay on track with its goals.

Staff development also supports succession planning efforts. Your organization can’t be overly reliant on a handful of workers. You should always be prepared to seamlessly hand off responsibilities and duties if ever one of your key staff decides to move on to other opportunities.

Designate roles and duties clearly

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Another way to boost employee morale is to clearly delineate responsibilities. For instance, your director of communications shouldn’t be doubling as the development director. Having these clear-cut job titles and descriptions keep your employees from feeling overworked, which is a common plight among nonprofit workers.

Having appropriately delineated titles helps set your people up for success in their roles. They can focus on what they do best and not be held back for underperforming in their other task.

Also, designating roles clearly communicates that you value your employees for their unique skills. It shows that you believe and acknowledge each of your worker’s talents and that you’re not just employing them to increase the organization’s manpower.

Communicate with your people

Finally, communication is critical to the health of an organization’s culture. Establish avenues for communication with all your employees. It also helps to learn their individual communication style, so you’d know how to best talk with them.

Communication, more than anything, helps you build trust with your people. It gives them a chance to air out their concerns, whether personal or professional. It also gives you an opportunity to make their employment a more pleasant experience, which can help them stay motivated and engaged with the organization.

These are only a few ideas for boosting morale in nonprofits that are concerned about their budget. Keep in mind that investing in your people is one way of future-proofing the organization. They are the heart of the company, after all. Team leaders should put more effort into taking care of their employees to make sure the organization achieves its short- and long-term goals.

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