March 28, 2022

Staff Appreciation: 3 Low-Cost, High-Value Ideas

Does staff appreciation matter?

You betcha!

People don’t join nonprofits because of the salaries they receive. While they must take care of their families, they look for a way to make a difference in the world. But in the press of their daily work, nonprofit employees often forget or fail to recognize how they ARE changing lives. That’s where your staff appreciation effort comes in. You have a lot of low-cost, high-value employee recognition opportunities. Here are three to get you started and inspired to launch more staff appreciation at your nonprofit.

Nonprofit Staff Appreciation: 3 Low-Cost, High-Value Ideas  Chapters

0:00 Your Staff Appreciation Opportunity

0:42 Don’t Network Alone

1:13 In Honor of You

1:15 Where Does It Hurt?

2:29 Appreciation Never Fixes This

2:51 It Doesn’t Have to Be Lonely at The Top

Transcript of  Staff Appreciation: 3 Low-Cost, High-Value Ideas  Chapters

Everyone knows that people do not join nonprofit organizations because of the salaries they receive. Instead, while they must take care of their families, they’re looking for a way to make a difference in the world. But in the press of the daily work that employees do at nonprofits, they often forget and can’t recognize what it is that they’re doing that really is changing lives. That’s where your employee recognition program comes in. Now you may be pushing back already and saying we don’t have the resources to do an employee recognition program. That’s what I want to show you. You’re not helpless. There are a lot of opportunities that are low cost and high value.

Don’t Network Alone

What can you do that’s low cost and high value to encourage your employees and recognize their contribution? Bring them with you to a community networking event. In the ideal world, you’ll travel together to the event and have the time before and after to talk about what their work is meaningful to your organization. At your event, make them your special guest. Introduce them to people who they would enjoy meeting in the community. Let them learn from the speaker. Show them and remind them that they’re part of a greater community working to improve the community good.

In Honor of You

Here’s another way that’s low cost and high value to recognize individual employees. Invite them to lunch in honor of them. It may be one-on-one with the CEO and the employee. Or, as is appropriate, with the board chair or their supervisor or best friend in the organization. Think about what they would enjoy most. At that event, at that lunch, talk about what’s really been noticeable about their work and how they make a difference, and how what they have done working with you has changed lives. Give them proof that you recognize their value to your organization.

Where Does It Hurt?

Here’s a counterintuitive way, that’s low cost, especially in terms of the value provided to recognize your employee. Work with them to identify and solve their problems because when their problems are solved, and life gets better, their work-life gets better. Their personal life gets better. You recognize and help them to grow professionally. How can you do this? It could be a book. It could be a conference. It could be having a mentor. But seeing their challenges and helping them to solve them and grow their professional skills recognizes them and provides value to your organization and to them.

Appreciation Never Fixes This

None of these tools or the ones we could brainstorm together about your specific staff situation and team are substitutes for inadequate salaries. They are, however, useful tools to show your staff how you appreciate them and engage them more in their future work. If you would like more help thinking and brainstorming about how to work with your team and build it so it’s stronger during these tumultuous times, don’t hesitate to reach out to me because it doesn’t have to be lonely at the top.

For more solutions, check out Karen’s Nonprofit CEO Library.

Follow this link for other resources on staff retention.

Karen Eber Davis

Karen Eber Davis provides customized advising and coaching around nonprofit strategy and board development. People leaders hire her to bring clarity to sticky situations, break through barriers that seem insurmountable, and align people for better futures. She is the author of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams and Let's Raise Nonprofit Millions Together.


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