Good ideas for lean times

In a time when nonprofits are asked to do more with less (by the way, we hate hearing that phrase), we need to remember that as the needs of our clients become greater the stress level of our staffs skyrockets.

The Center for Nonprofit Management hosts a monthly get together of nonprofit CEOs. Usually, there’s a speaker. But this morning, they held an informal round table to take the pulse of CEOs about this challenging economic climate.

This meeting was confidential – what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, so to speak. But some really good ideas came up. I’ll pass a few along without naming names.

1. Think of ways to reward your hard-working staff that don’t break the budget. Give them a day off with no strings attached.  Many staff members actually treasure time over money, and that’s an easy way to keep people motivated. Another idea: Host a lunch for a staff member’s birthday, with the agency picking up the tab for the honoree.

2. Love on your board a little. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that board members have business lives, too, and they may be impacted by the recession. Find ways to involve your board members without asking for money. Every one has talents that can be useful to a nonprofit.  See if there isn’t someone on your board that has something non-monetary to contribute.

3. It’s the little things that count. Bring in bagels and cream cheese one morning for your staff. Reward a particularly well-done job with a gift card to a grocery store or gas station. Reserve a prime parking spot for the employee of the week.

What else? If you have a great idea to relieve stress and reward your staff, send us a comment!

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