Working to Make a Difference: Generating Even More Passion Among Non-Profit Team Members

It’s true that passion is part of the job description when you work in the non-profit or charitable sector. But today’s non-profit leaders need to go beyond passion, treating their workers with fairness and respect, and listening to their ideas.

Motivation is a key part of the equation if you want your team to become an integral part of the organization.  And although some non-profits today face serious financial difficulties and constraints, the real challenge is figuring out how to survive in an economy primarily focused on profits.

Hear from some executives, including members of the Forbes Nonprofit Council, who provide a few effective ways leaders can motivate their team in a non-profit environment.

  1. Revisit Your Goals

At mid-year, if you are not on track to reach your goals, which were set a year before being realized, don’t just look at performance but also at the goals themselves. Perhaps you were overly ambitious when setting them or something happened that was out of your control during the first six months that now makes them unattainable. This also avoids putting all the pressure on staff. – Tom Van Winkle, Hinsdale Humane Society

  1. Focus On Who You Have Helped

To help stir the team up to meet their goals, it’s always a good idea to remind them of specific people who have been helped by past donations. This reminds them of just how many more future stories they’ll have and makes them feel good about what they are trying to achieve. – Gloria Horsley, Open to Hope

  1. Stay Involved

An effective leader is involved in goal setting and acts as the tip of the spear for goal setting and achievement throughout the year. If off-track mid-year, a leader will check the feasibility of success against current goals, adjust as appropriate and then participate in and encourage weekly execution against required key performance indicators (KPIs). Small wins will rebuild momentum. – Glenn Banton, OSD (Operation Supply Drop)

  1. Take Time for Students

I never turn down a request from a student. We’re all really busy and it’s easy just to say, “I don’t have the time.” But I always try to meet with them, in person or by phone. I see each of these meetings as an opportunity to share my passion for the nonprofit world. I was lucky that a lot of people did the same for me when I was younger, and it literally changed my life. It’s very important for me to do the same for the next generation. You just never know! – Mathieu Chantelois, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada.

Non-profits can provide exciting job opportunities for the right kind of person. You have to be passionate about the vision, the mission and the values of the organization, says Chantelois. People who are willing to think outside the box to produce something bold and ambitious that people really remember, he says. “That’s really the only thing that matters.”

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