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A pat on the back: Keeping staff motivated
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It’s no secret that non-profit professionals wear many different hats. While the work is rewarding, it can be downright exhausting —especially with the busy holiday appeal season upon us. We thought we’d offer some tried and true tips for making sure that your team stays motivated throughout the season and into the New Year.An easy place to start is with yourself, because motivation is contagious. Approach your day-to-day interactions with excitement and positivity, and you will likely see it in return.

In addition to motivation through day-to-day interactions, encourage staff—reward a job well done. Incentives like gift certificates to local restaurants, coffee shops or movie theaters are well-received, as are practical surprises like a Smile Café Grande 17.5 oz. Mug or an Auto Open Sport Umbrella. You can also implement a casual dress day and bring in treats to share.

Sometimes, we find ourselves so deep in our work that it’s easy to momentarily forget the big picture. Take the time to remind employees why they are here. Often, revisiting your non-profit’s goals and the difference your staff is making in the lives of others is enough to reenergize the team. Invite individuals who have been helped by your non-profit’s cause to share their stories at a staff meeting or create a game based on your non-profit’s mission—such as Pictionary, using keywords from the mission statement. Winners could receive playful door prizes like a Balsa Glider or a Goofy Guy Pen.

Games like these are often a great way to involve employees in keeping one another motivated—they help to create a team environment.

  • Bond through team building activities
    Solve a problem together as a team, find team building activities that showcase what your staff admires about their coworkers, participate in trust-building exercises and more. Hand out Rally Pom-Poms to cheer each other on. No matter the activity, it should reinforce the importance of working together to stay excited and motivated about your non-profit’s cause.
  • Go on field trips, scavenger hunts or volunteer together outside of work
    Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in a day to find time for formal activities—if this is the case, consider facilitating special events for staff that take place outside of work or beyond the workday. These off-site activities provide a great way to reconnect as a team and have fun or give back to the community in a different way than your work as an organization.
  • Host a cook-off or potluck
    Instead of eating lunch at your desk, hold a cook-off—chili, pies, tacos, anything!—and have employees bring in their best recipes to share for an all-office taste test. Participants could receive fun cooking-themed gifts like the Deluxe Oven Mitt or a Cook’s Choice Measuring Cup.
  • Hold a holiday gift exchange
    Exchange names and have employees purchase each other small gifts or make donations to other non-profit causes in the recipient’s name. Putting in the effort to secretly find out what each other likes is a good way to learn about one another. Exchange gifts during a staff meeting or holiday party.
  • Enact monthly lunchtime activities like a craft hour or a book club
    This is a fun activity that can be done on a regular basis without interfering with normal work hours. Provide craft supplies—small ceramics to paint, clay to sculpt, popsicle sticks to build with—at the lunch table to encourage creative collaborative as a brief lunch hour escape and stress relief tactic. Get employees together over lunch to discuss a book—perhaps your organization can sponsor a themed book club focusing on topics and books relevant to your non-profit’s work or mission.
  • Involve employees in your non-profit’s fundraising activities by incorporating an internal contest
    For each friend they refer to give a gift, enter the employees’ names into a drawing to win large prizes like the Deluxe Picnic Basket, a Williams-Sonoma Cookies Cookbook or a Stainless Steel and Ceramic Travel Mug.

Things in your office may be busy, but that doesn’t mean your employees have to lose motivation or miss out on the fun. Implement these fun tactics and your staff will be motivated and inspired in no time!

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