You’re talking about how to take care of your donors. You’re talking about how to keep your organizations sustainable. You’re talking about how to best meet your missions.
Here are 8 innovative ideas for taking care of your frontline fundraising staff:
- Be responsive. Prioritize your fundraiser’s requests. If they need information, documentation, your ear or your time in a virtual meeting or call, respond! by simply making yourself available you will boost their energy and help keep morale high.
- Consider offering a flex schedule. Chances are your fundraiser is putting in extra hours working on new deadlines, pivoting to virtual events or rewriting your annual business plan. If they are working on the weekends or after traditional hours, ask them where they would like some time back. Extending freedom of flex time is as valuable to many as a bonus.
- Say thank you. Thanking your staff cannot be overestimated in its power to bolster self-esteem. Send a snail mail card. Record a video message. Start your next call with them by saying thank you.
- Consider auditing and adjusting responsibilities. If your frontline fundraiser is picking up additional work outside of their job description, consider cutting back on work that is less important. Ask them what work could be delegated to others—most often, they’ll have a suggestion on that front. It’s too easy to keep piling things on one plate without taking an inventory of the big picture.
- Offer professional development. Give your strapped fundraisers a book budget of $50 for professional development materials or give them time off to join a free webinar or online training. A move like this will pay big dividends. For fundraisers, spending time in professional development often results in new ideas, skills or creative approaches that enable them to perservere.
- Streamline communication processes. In our changing environment, every organization is adapting day by day, minute by minute. It can be challenging for fundraisers to keep donors abreast of the changes. Creating easily accessible documents to update with program changes and new expenses will lower stress, save time and ease communication.
- Share the load. If a staff member supports your primary fundraiser consider promoting them. We all have seen it happen. Development associates and managers blossom from across our organization charts. If you have a staff member who has the skills of a fundraiser and could provide more direct relief to your core fundraising staff, let them step up.
- Give a creative morale booster. One nonprofit solicited each employee for their top 10 songs and then created a pandemic playlist for the staff and contractors. Send a wry meme or a funny picture of a past success or silly blooper. Adding levity is an easy way to boost morale.
One certainty about the impact of COVID-19 on the nonprofit sector, organizations in all roles are doing things they’ve never done before. We are all working to put our most nimble foot forward. As leadership responds rapidly to replace unnecessary and outdated systems, new best practices will be adopted. Now, more than ever, responsiveness to care for frontline staff will pay dividends.
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