I think I finally realized why social media is so popular and addicting - instant gratification! You post something. Whether it’s important or trivial, you (most often) get instant feedback and “likes”. It’s that affirmation that fuels us. It feels good when others applaud our successes. That small action can make a big difference with the retention of staff and volunteers. Staff who have an attitude of gratitude keep their volunteers coming back. And staff? These passionate people work tirelessly to run your programs, organize your fundraisers and recruit your volunteers to fulfill the mission. SHOW THEM SOME LOVE!
Make gratitude part of who you are. In the next month, try expressing your gratitude three times a day. I tried it as I went through security at the airport. I witnessed a TSA agent who went above and beyond. An elderly traveler tried to go through the checkpoint with his confirmation code instead of his boarding pass. Instead of berating him and sending him off, she politely sent him to the kiosk to get the proper document. I complimented her for her customer service. She said, “We don’t usually get positive feedback. Thank you for making my day.” Simple. Heartfelt. Powerful!
If feels good to receive kudos, but it feels even better to give them! I experienced this while facilitating a staff retreat earlier this month. As staff wrote on “gratitude grams” of coworkers, I noticed something. Both those on the giving and receiving end expressed genuine emotion, heartfelt compassion and deep appreciation. Bonds were formed and smiles lit up the room. Everyone left with a little more pep in their step. We need to replicate this every day in our professional and personal life.
Appreciation helps retain staff, volunteers and (dare I say) relationships! People need to experience affirmation on a regular basis. We all work harder when we feel recognized. Here are some ways you can fuel your staff to encourage hard work, dedication and excellence.
Let’s do more of it. For those who work in the nonprofit sector, make sure your volunteers know how much you appreciate them. Heck. What if you call them just to say thanks for volunteering? They’re sure to light up… and may just ask what opportunities you have coming up! Go forth and be grateful! An attitude of gratitude is truly contagious!