The constant strain of keeping the doors open of an NGO, NPO or NPC, or any business entity for that matter, takes its toll on all within the organization. Uncertainty and financial stability weigh on all of us and often it starts to erode our confidence and slowly chips away at our motivation and energy levels.
There is no quick fix for this, it’s a process that has to be acknowledged first and then the will to see changes in behaviour and motivation has to come from within each individual person within the organisation.
I do understand that often it’s that desperate need to get a paycheck at the end of the month and we just carry on day to day, almost knowing that at the end of the month the salary will be paid, because someone always makes a plan.
Non-profit organisations are like any other business, if the financial forecast is not there and the bills can’t be paid, the doors will close like any other business; it is not about the individual members or their home circumstances that keeps the doors open, it’s pure hard cash. The old model in services to persons in need was almost a culture of “we will receive, no matter what”, yet, times have changed. Only those that plan effectively and budget in line with expected income will survive.
I have learnt over the years that I as a NPC head I am only as strong as my weakest staff member. Perhaps a few tips I can share to offer guidance to others are as follows:
Walk the walk – show your team in your actions, deeds and words how you do things, roll up your sleeves and get stuck in; answer the phone, help clean the offices, that sort of thing.
They will either join in and become part of the team or not. If they don’t then perhaps they should not be there.
Work with the weakest link – Invest time and skill development is the weakest team member. If there is no improvement or change, again, perhaps they should not be there.
Accountability – We are all accountable for our actions and if a team member has a certain role and tasks to fulfil and they are not doing so. First ask why – perhaps some additional “coaching” is needed, if it continues to happen, don’t cover it up by doing it yourself. Have that hard chat and follow due labour practices. Again maybe they are not the right fit.
It’s all about the money –
Getting the right people with the right attitude is always based on budget. No one will work for free. Sometimes we have to cut the dead wood off the tree, and take the bold step to get the right people and pay them a decent salary. Remember input results in out-put! Rather have less staff, but awesome staffs that are able to lift the organization rather than dragging everyone down with them.
Have fun – Sometimes all we want is acknowledgment and to have a bit of fun at work. Take time to just sit and chat to the team – not about work related issues, just a free fun space to share or have a giggle or have a bell ring every now and then and everyone gets up and dances for 30 seconds – it just breaks the issues of work and replaces it with a silly moment that allows our brains to rest and just have fun, and of course the movement releases endorphins, which is always a great thing.
Behind the scenes:
Hannl Cronje is the CEO of Orion Organisation NPC and they create futures for people with disabilities through the provision of professional therapeutic and development services.
*An NPC is a Non Profit Company
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