When talking about employee engagement, it’s assumed that the employee works for a for-profit company. Managers are concerned about sales and bottom lines, so they look to increase the engagement of that employee so that they can improve job performance.

But if you are managing a small nonprofit, employee engagement is just as important for you as well.

engaged employees

However, one thing to keep in mind is that engaging a nonprofit employee is going to be a little different from engaging a for-profit employee.

For example, a salesman for a for-profit company will likely be motivated by external rewards, like bonuses. Nonprofit employees will also be motivated by external rewards, but they do need to be tied into other factors, like their need for meaningful work.

Let’s take a quick look at what nonprofit workers need to be engaged with their jobs.

The core of their engagement? Mission

Studies have shown that nonprofit employees clearly care about the work that they do.

This says that their jobs need to be meaningful. Throwing a gift card at them might work once in a while, but don’t expect that kind of reward to completely change the culture of your workforce.

Rather, they want to work for organizations whose missions they believe in. And more importantly, they want to know that the work they do directly contributes to advancing that mission.

In a sense, this is very similar to a for-profit employee. The most engaged employees need to know that their work matters.

Another component? Empowerment

Another aspect of nonprofit worker engagement is the feeling that they are empowered to achieve success.

This can take many different forms, depending on what your nonprofit is looking to achieve. But if you can clearly define success for your team and give them clear, concrete steps to achieving that success, you’ll see engagement levels increase.

A great way to do this is by allowing them to make decisions for the organization – or at least for achievements in their own work. By giving them responsibility, you allow them to feel like they are a part of the process – and contributing to the mission.

Satisfaction is not about pay

While many for-profit employees value the paycheck, nonprofit employees are looking for a deeper satisfaction in their work.

That doesn’t mean they don’t value rewards. But they do want to see clear benchmarks for performance and they want the ability to reach those benchmarks.

They also are looking for additional training and advancement. One way you could incentivize performance for nonprofit employees would be awarding them training sessions related to the fields they are interested in that you will pay for. You could issue these awards based on their work performance.

Make it easy on yourself and your team

Open communication is a hallmark of a strong company culture, and it is a big factor in nonprofit employee satisfaction.

With a tool like COGZ Recognition Rewards, you can create your own custom benchmarks for your team, along with your own rewards system.

You can mix in external rewards like gifts and purchases along with internal rewards like training sessions or other types of educational, career-advancing rewards.

COGZ is flexible enough to handle any type of rewards program you want to set up, so you can be sure that you are building the proper culture for your nonprofit team.

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