As nonprofit executives, fundraisers, and board members, we have a big responsibility: secure revenue so our organization can carry out their important work. Especially toward the end of the year, it can be easy to get single-mindedly focused on achieving or exceeding our year-end fundraising goals without pausing to reflect on how far you’ve already come and what you’ve already accomplished.
I’m guilty of that, too. You secure a major gift, send a quick celebratory email to the team, and move on. You start working on the next gift or phone call or task without pausing to reflect on all the work it took to achieve that gift.
But beautiful things happen when we pause, both in work and in life. When we pause and look back on how far we’ve come, we give ourselves energy to continue achieving our goals. We give ourselves space to settle and remember what’s really important. We remember to appreciate ourselves and the people we work with and the time and energy they continually put into their work.
So today, I challenge you to sign out of your email, put your phone in another room, and take a few minutes to reflect on all you and your team have already accomplished this year. Write a list, so you can see them in front of you. What are you most proud of? What challenges did you overcome?
Once you’ve paused and reflected, it’s time to share with your team! Check out these four great ideas for celebrating your team’s wins this year:
- Host a forum to shout-out and appreciate individual team members. Whether that’s an appreciation comment box in the office or a Zoom call that celebrates each team member, make sure you reflect on what each member uniquely brings so you can personalize their shout-out.
- Hold a celebration. This could be a virtual game night on Zoom or an in-person celebration, but whatever it is, make sure you avoid discussing day-to-day work matters or future goals. Focus on all you’ve accomplished and then give people activities and conversation-starters to enjoy!
- Send team members a useful gift or hand-written card. Pro tip: Don’t assume everyone drinks alcohol; check in before sending a bottle of wine to someone’s home. Handwritten cards, fuzzy socks, journals, and gift cards are all wonderful gifts anyone can enjoy.
- Give your team time off. Cancel all your meetings on a Friday afternoon, or encourage folks to choose a day to be offline without using their PTO. Gifts and kind words are a wonderful way to celebrate, but giving people time off to recharge and enjoy their loved ones is even better.