Janice Haddon from Morgan Redwood gives some simple tips for improving staff morale
In recent months the fundraising sector has suffered at the hands of bad press, which has served to detract from some of the fantastic fundraising that charities undertake. One potentially damaging knock-on effect of all the negative coverage is loss of confidence and motivation internally among fundraising staff. This article gives a few simple tips on how you can improve morale within your organisation, make staff feel encouraged and supported, and keep them motivated and enthused in their fundraising roles.
Make sure your staff truly understand what the vision and purpose of the organisation is, and how their role contributes to the charity’s success. Show them how their work is making a difference to the lives of the people you are trying to help - in much the same way you’d show a donor: using stories, videos etc. Ensure your communications with staff are regular, and two-way; show that you are listening, not just talking.
It's important that your staff feel they are supported, so create an environment where staff members feel they can ask questions and raise any issues or concerns. If you don’t have time to answer a staff query right away, make a point of acknowledging their question, and let them know you will come back to them asap - and then make sure you do!
Nurture their wider wellbeing
Encouragement and support can also come through practices that nurture your staff’s wider health and wellbeing. These can take many forms - you could offer discounted gym membership, promote a cycling to work scheme, hold lunch-hour yoga classes or massage or give your staff healthy treats such as fresh fruit and nuts one day a week, for example.
Help your staff to become more emotionally resilient, so that they are better able to cope with the stresses and strains of the job. If, in the light of negative press, they are more likely to receive difficult questions from the public, give them extra training in dealing with difficult conversations. Help them to understand how to respond appropriately. You could provide them with ‘model’ answers to potential questions so they are more prepared. That way, they will have the confidence to deal with different situations and also maintain the charity’s brand and image.
Get people together
Where possible, create social and fun events that staff can enjoy. Bring your employees together and build teamwork, so you create a strong culture that everyone can connect to. Holding regular team meetings will allow you to keep your team up to date, and also enable them to share with each other the projects they are working on.
Acknowledge their hard work
As a fundraiser you'll be aware of the importance of thanking your donors. The same applies to your staff - so ensure you acknowledge how hard they are working and thank them, particularly when they have gone the extra mile in achieving a task. This could be as simple as saying you appreciate them. You could provide recognition through your performance management scheme or, if budgets allow, organise a time when you provide your team with a celebratory drink.
Fundraising can be a difficult area to work in, so pay attention to your staff and volunteers; they are there because they are passionate about making a difference. So make a difference to them and it could make all the difference to you.