People stay engaged in a nonprofit because of relationships. They may have initially joined because your mission is compelling, or the work you’re doing is impactful. They’ll stay for the long haul when they feel cared for, and have the freedom to have fun along the way. As a leader in your nonprofit, how you set that example sets the tone for the entire community.
We need to make sure they know they’re a valued part of the community. When they give freely of their time, money or resources, make sure you appreciate them. This could look like a simple as a face to face thank-you, a personal email, or hand written note thanking them for their involvement. Your appreciation could definitely be more than that, but the point is to appreciate them. Don’t let the idea that it needs to be an extravagant thank-you keep you from showing them they’re valued. By appreciating them, they will not only know you care, but it’ll make their involvement feel a little more fun, and that it was worth doing.
Build in time to spend with your people. Don’t be too busy for them. This doesn’t mean you need to be best friends with everyone involved. But by making time for conversations with them, it really does two things. Making meaningful time for them shows them you care about them as an individual, not just what they have to offer. And second, it gives you a better picture of the people drawn to your organization and mission. This gives you the ability to come together as a community and live out your mission joyfully together. It also gives you the ability to serve those volunteering and serving.
There are many other ways to value people, building on what was mentioned here. This will hopefully be a reminder or starting point to ensure your people feel cared for. This will boost trust between your members and the organization. It encourages a healthier, unified community. It ensures everyone has a good time fulfilling your mission – after all, isn’t that what we’re all here for?