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Nonprofit Culture - Facets (episode 18, part 7 of 10)

Updated: Apr 24

In this video, you'll learn about more key "facets" every nonprofit culture should include - flextime for staff. Remember, people like to do business with people they like, trust, and know -- and care about. Granting time off or paid days off will keep your team fired up and keep your culture tight and unified -- and happy!

by Tom Iselin

“America’s Best Board Retreat Facilitator”

Hi, Tom Iselin, here . . . and welcome to First Things First.

This is Day 18 of Boot Camp—A Leadership Guide to Building a Gold Standard Nonprofit. I hope you’ve been enjoying this series on how to build a “Get it Done!” CULTURE.

Over the last couple of episodes, I’ve provided some “culture facets” that a nonprofit should consider incorporating when building an organizational culture. Today, I’m going to discuss a couple of facets that you can use to improve your STAFF culture . . .

The first is “FLEXTIME”. Some might argue that offering flextime to staff is more of a perk and a cultural facet, but I think differently. Why? . . . .

Because one of the most satisfying things you can do to deepen a staff culture is to reward staff with time off. Staff at nonprofits typically work longer hours and make less money than if they worked for a for-profit equiva­lent. Offering two weeks paid vacation and a dozen national holidays is a good start, but there are other ways to grant time off.

At Sun Valley Adaptive Sports, I rewarded staff by offering flextime. The entire staff loved to exercise and enjoy the outdoors (a signature facet of our culture), so as long as we didn’t have an event taking place or a meeting, staff could take an extra hour at lunch to hike, bike, run, or do whatever.

They also had the option to work through lunch and leave early. If it was a “pow­der day,” they could come in a couple hours late so they could en­joy a morning of skiing in fresh snow.

Granting unexpected days off is another way to show appreciation for staff. I randomly gave staff a paid day off if they had achieved a major milestone, or had sacrificed a weekend day to work a special event.

I also awarded additional days off during the holidays to create long weekends, and offered additional paid time off when staff members faced difficult circumstances such as severe illness, trauma, or a family death.

During my fourth year at SVAS, full-time staff received an average of seven weeks off a year. They also received paid time off to attend con­tinuing education conferences and training seminars.

Staff earned their time off, but it was also a juicy perk. They were proud and thankful for our generous culture, and it became the culture of envy of many businesses and nonprofits in town.

Adding flextime and unexpected time off to your culture will keep burn­out rates down, morale high, and validate the hard work of your committed team. It will also help build a culture where staff feels valued, their personal time is respected, and their hard work is appreciated. If you give up a little time and flexibility to your staff, it will come back five-fold in their passion and hard work. Try it and see the results for yourself.

That’s it for today. In the next episode, I’ll tell why it’s important to remind board and staff members of the culture they decided to adopt. And remember, do what’s right for your nonprofit, not what’s convenient or easy. Until next time . . . Who-ya!

Tom Iselin

“America’s Best Board Retreat and Strategic Planning Facilitator”

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Tom's Books, Podcasts, and YouTube Channel

Tom Iselin has built four sector-leading nonprofits and four foundations. He’s written six books, sits on six boards, and hosts a video blog and podcast. Each year, Tom speaks to more than 5,000 nonprofit leaders at conferences across the country. He is considered America's best board retreat and strategic planning facilitator and is a leading authority on high-performance nonprofits, and his impact on the industry has been featured on CNN, Nightline, and in Newsweek.

Tom is the president of First Things First, a business specializing in board development retreats, strategic planning, fundraising, executive coaching, and speaking. To relax, he loves mountain biking, hiking, skiing, tennis, and baking.

If you’re in the hunt for the best board retreat/board development facilitation, or the best strategic planning facilitation, it would be a privilege to learn more about your organization and the aspirations you hope to achieve as you work to propel your noble mission. Jot me an email to set up a meet-and-greet call.

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