Non-Profits also Need the “Human Element”

April 6, 2015 | Leadership

As previously stated, at the core of an organization’s human element, we see the need to find passion and purpose in our work. If leaders are not able to help employees find this to some degree, it is difficult to implement other tools to build employee engagement and trust in an organization.

By nature, non-profit organizations should have this human element by default as the mission of the organization is likely to help its community in some way. For example, the YMCA’s mission on an national level is to make others more healthy in mind, body, and spirit. The mission of a non-profit on the surface is usually very easy to support and we would think the employees and volunteers that work for such organizations would automatically have the passion and purpose to fulfill the mission. Wouldn’t the mission of the organization be a factor in the reason for working there?

Unfortunately, we cannot just assume that employment or volunteering automatically qualifies individuals to have a passion for an organizations’s mission even if it is simple and noble. Even in non-profits, it is up to the leaders  to constantly connect the dots between the work that they do and the organization’s mission. Not doing so could have negative consequences. For some reason, some of us believe that non-profits also shouldn’t need to worry of such things because they are neither in competition with another organization nor have the need healthy margins.

Regardless of what people think, each non-profit IS in competition with another even if their mission is not the same. The is because the amount of money made available by donors is finite. Due to economy and outreach activities by a non-profit and its fellow non-profit organizations, donations can vary from year to year. Sustainable yearly increases in donations for a non-profit do not come purely from being in existence.

Furthermore, even though an organization is called a non-profit, this does not mean that they do not welcome profits. The difference between a for profit and a non-profit is that ALL profits are invested back into the organization in a non-profit. Therefore, these profits can help the organization reach out to fulfill its mission in other ways due to more resources. Healthy margins are needed to ensure that the mission stays in tact and its outreach grows.

Because of the fact that non-profits are in competition to receive donations that can ensure healthy margins, the organization must have solid customer service who friendly, helpful, and appreciative. One key way to ensure that staff is performing good customer service is to have high employee satisfaction. It has proven through studies that customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction are directly linked. Leaders can create an environment of lasting employee satisfaction by rounding on them, recognizing them, and building trust with them. Satisfied employees create satisfied customers.

As illustrated, leaders, especially in non-profits, must continue to connect the dots between the mission and employee’s every day work to ensure having a long lasting impact on the people they serve. How do you propose that leaders help their employees connect the dots between their everyday work and their organization’s mission?



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