Nonprofit News from 4imprint
It goes without saying, engaging with the wider public is vital if charities are to attract a steady stream of donations and build a loyal group of supporters. Whilst this is key, it’s also equally as important to ensure colleagues are also engaged and on-board with the goals and objectives of the cause.

Staff Engagement was recently on the agenda at the People & Culture Conference staged by Civil Society Media – which highlighted the unique nature of charity workplace environments. Whereas some workplaces are full of people working just to pay their bills, it was noted that employees at charities are often individuals who care deeply about its cause. That said, Civil Society Media has become increasingly concerned that staff retention rates are fairly low in the Third Sector, and also pay rates are somewhat lower than other industries. So what can charities do to boost motivation and job satisfaction amongst their own workforce, so their employees can concentrate on raising funds and awareness for their cause?

Speakers at the conference presented a number of interesting ideas…

Bring in the right hires
The objective of a charity can determine what kind of people are best suited to working for it – so this should be considered throughout the recruitment process. Whilst getting a well-qualified individual is vital, just as important is getting someone who will fit into your team and is capable of engaging with a charity’s target audience effectively.

Organisations should therefore review how they go about attracting new recruits. Do they simply post ads on their web and social media sites? Or are they adopting more creative approaches such as setting up eye-catching display stands at jobs fairs? Fairs can be a chance for job seekers to find out what you are all about and a great way for the team to reach out to potential employees in a more targeted and engaging way; pens, coasters or mousemats printed with information about your work and your goals could also be distributed.

Workplace culture could also be a theme at the interview stage. At the conference Kate Collins, Director of Fundraising and Marketing at the Teenage Cancer Trust noted that interviews offer a perfect chance to tell candidates “what it is really like” at the charity, so you can find out their attitude towards your values and principles before offering them a job.

Keep staff happy
It’s well documented that engaged and motivated staff are more creative, productive and have less time-off than unhappy and stressed employees, so it makes sense to create a ‘stress-free’ working environment within your charity. Anything from visually appealing pictures on the walls, a supply of fruit, milk and tea bags, as well as a break-out area with a sofa and TV can help transform a working environment for the better.

Nic Marks of Consultancy Happiness Works was among those at the conference to talk up the case for focusing on staff welfare. He pointed out that there is a strong relationship between success and happiness. As a result, he believes starting with happiness rather than creating a fear-driven culture focused on short-term results will ultimately be more beneficial for charities and have a bigger impact on their cause.

Take on-board staff suggestions
Taking a top-down approach is generally counterproductive when it comes to creating a pleasant office culture, so show you value your staff by asking for their views and recommendations. Anything from a suggestions box (get notepaper or Sticky Notes printed with Great Idea!) to simply letting people know your door is always open to chat can help encourage staff to share their ideas and some of which might have the potential to make a big difference.

An organisation is only as good as its people, so making an effort to attract and retain the right people, as well as creating an environment where they feel valued and empowered, can pay off massively. Once you’ve got this right, your charity will be in a strong position to reach out and engage with the public to attract those all-important donations.

Further Reading / Sources
How to make your charity a great place to work: lessons from charity HR professionals Civil Society
People and Culture Conference 2015 Civil Society