The holidays are tiring out your employees. Between stretched finances, family obligations and last-minute gift shopping, sometimes work can be the last thing on a busy person’s mind this time of year.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t help out your nonprofit. So here are some tips for helping your nonprofit staff stay productive this holiday season.
It doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t have to be expensive. It just needs to be fun. Throw a party that your staff will look forward to. Long work days are a little more bearable when a party is on the horizon. You can choose to host a luncheon during office hours or have your party at a restaurant on a Friday night so your employees can bring their spouses. Either way, make it special. Decide on a couple of games or maybe even a white elephant gift exchange. Whatever you do, make it worth the hard work they put in all year.
Social media can be fun for your target audience as well as your employees. Have them brainstorm a special giveaway or a fundraising campaign. Be sure to make it holiday-themed to keep your staff and audience interested.
Maybe you can partner up with a local coffee shop or restaurant and give away a coupon or gift card to anyone who comments on a photo or likes a post on Facebook. You could also have your donors match the amount of likes a certain post gets by the time New Year’s Day comes. Have your employees run with the idea and let them have a good time with it. It’s something that’s a little different and special during the holiday season, but it still maintains productivity.
Your staff works hard all year, so be sure to recognize them. Hand-write thank you notes with a gift card inside, or offer a Christmas bonus. If you can’t afford to be financially generous, that’s okay. Just let them know they are appreciated. It will keep them motivated to do their best when they’re feeling burnt out.
Set some end-of-the-year goals for yourself, your organization and your staff. Having one common goal to work toward will keep you and your staff productive as the year draws to a close. Make the goal visible in your office so everyone can see it and be reminded of why they do what they do.
Make sure your organization is having some small successes along the way. Try partnering up with a for-profit organization. Maybe for every $20 made, a for-profit company will donate a percentage to your organization, or something similar. Don’t worry about burdening a company. They have the resources to carry out orders and produce merchandise, even though this is their busy time of year, too. In fact, 20 percent of annual retail sales occur between November and December, so your organization might be able to benefit from that.
When your staff sees that your organization is doing well and making a difference, they will be on board and ready to work until the holiday comes.
It’s difficult to come to a balance between working your employees hard until the holidays come and letting the lack of motivation get the better of them. Stay somewhere in the middle, though. Be sure to allow the time off they need, but make sure you are staffed enough to continue their work. Understand their busy schedules and stressful lives and they will appreciate you more.
Most of all, make sure you get the rest you need this holiday season, too, while preparing for the busy year to come.
Originally published 12.28.15—Updated 12.22.17