In the past several months, COVID-19 has significantly impacted almost every aspect of day-to-day life, from social distancing guidelines to a looming economic recession. Similarly, businesses and organizations everywhere have seen radical shifts in management strategies as entire workforces transition to work-from-home.
While there are several major advantages to remote working practices, one of the most significant drawbacks is a difficulty to keep employee productivity levels up. That’s why we’ve put together these tried-and-true productivity tips for boosting your nonprofit workflows from a distance.
Keeping your employees engaged and effective during this unprecedented time is crucial for ensuring a sustainable organization. Ready to get started? Let’s jump in!
1. Establish Employee Time Tracking Practices
Businesses around the world tend to invest in effective time tracking practices for their employees, while nonprofit organizations might not see the need. Nonprofits, however, should be tracking time now more than ever before due to the continuous shifts brought on by the coronavirus.
When nonprofits start tracking employees’ time, they can:
- Know where their funding goes. Employee time is one of a nonprofit’s biggest expenses, so it’s important to know exactly where that money is going. Plus, this data is useful for reporting back to funding sources like grant-giving institutions and major donors.
- Avoid being under- or over-staffed. Using time tracking data, you can provide accurate estimates of how long various projects should take. This way, your nonprofit can easily determine how much staff is required to get any job done efficiently. No need to worry about hiring too much or too little staff!
- Better prioritize employee tasks. Keep projects from slipping through the cracks with effective time management tools, both for nonprofit employees and leadership. Knowing how much time a task will require allows managers to divide the workload in an efficient manner.
If you run a nonprofit organization that’s making the move to remote operations, these key benefits to time tracking are certainly vital to ensuring an effective workflow.
2. Employ Virtual Volunteer Programs
One of nonprofit organizations’ greatest resources are their dedicated volunteers. Not only are these supporters willing and able to assist nonprofits in boosting their operations, but they can also be a unique tool for streamlining employee productivity.
After all, for every task completed by a volunteer, it’s one less that has to be assigned to a paid employee! That way, the organization is able to save money while assigning other relevant tasks to members of the staff.
As a nonprofit professional currently working remotely, you might be wondering how volunteers can get involved in a time like this. But it’s really simple— volunteers can support your organization from home as well!
For example, virtual volunteers can:
- Spread the word about your organization online.
- Solicit donations from friends and family.
- Help out with your nonprofit’s social media strategy.
All you need to do is get started with a virtual volunteer program and begin recruiting eager volunteers right away. For best practice, post your volunteer job descriptions online so that potential volunteers can see where they’ll fit in.
3. Adjust Your Fundraising Strategy
More than likely, your nonprofit’s fundraising strategy has been flipped upside down as a result of COVID-19. Events have been canceled due to social distancing requirements and organizations everywhere are starting to worry about looming shortcomings in revenue.
But by expanding your fundraising practices and taking a more flexible approach, your organization can continue raising money in the midst of a difficult situation.
Here are some top tips for adjusting your fundraising efforts to meet current demands:
- Transition events to the online space. Just because you can’t host in-person gatherings doesn’t mean you have to cancel your nonprofit’s biggest events. Instead, you can move those events to the virtual realm. With the right technology, it’s almost like your supporters are right there with you.
- Use digital marketing to promote online campaigns. It makes sense to use digital means to promote digital fundraisers, right? By making use of your social media platforms, your nonprofit website, and email outreach tools, you can spread the word online and get supporters pumped for upcoming fundraisers.
- Plan unique and engaging fundraisers. A big part of planning effective virtual fundraisers is making sure your campaigns stand out. After all, other nonprofits are moving online as well, so it’s important to plan fundraisers and events that donors will be excited to partake in.
Now is not the time to give up on your fundraising efforts. In the wake of the coronavirus, your constituents need you now more than ever! However, make sure you’re willing and able to adjust quickly to whatever life throws your way.
4. Invest in the Right Tools to Get the Job Done
A big part of ensuring a productive nonprofit is making sure you have the right tools to get the job done. By using outdated tools and impractical software, you run the risk of making more mistakes and taking longer to do a simple task. That’s why investing in nonprofit-specific software is the way to go.
These are three types of nonprofit software that any organization should have:
- Timesheet software: Bring your nonprofit time tracking practices to the next level with dedicated timesheet software. That way, you have easy access to all of your employee data as well as intuitive reports and actionable insights.
- Online donation platform: You can’t host online fundraisers if your donors have no way to give online! That’s why your online donation platform is the foundation of any virtual fundraiser. With the right software, you can quickly and easily accept donations and manage donor data for future reference.
- Marketing tools: Although outreach has always been a key element involved in fundraising and other nonprofit operations, your marketing efforts are more essential now than ever. Be sure to get the word out to new and existing donors alike so that all can get involved with your organization online!
Thanks to tools like these, you can maintain high levels of productivity across every aspect of your organization. And the best part of using these resources, you can be just as productive while working from home as you could in a typical office environment.
5. Be Sure to Check in with Team Members
Internal communication practices within your organization are just as important as external outreach. That’s why it’s so crucial to maintain effective communication with your team members during the move to work-from-home.
Consider asking questions like:
- How are you handling the transition to work-from-home?
- What can we do to improve your remote working experience?
- Do you feel equipped to handle assigned tasks at home?
- How do you suggest we improve the remote working process?
While your intuitive time tracking software can tell you whether your employees are on track, it’s still crucial that you check in on team members’ health and well-being— especially now! Not only is this useful information to know as an employer, but genuinely caring for staff members can also help build your employee relationships.
As you begin to implement these effective practices, you will start to see your organization’s internal workflows improving, make for a more satisfied staff, volunteers, and constituents with boosted efficiency in the workplace. Good luck!
About the Author:
Ernest Cheng is a San Francisco-based marketing professional who focuses on technologies that drive performance. He is currently the Head of Marketing at ClickTime, an award-winning time tracking platform for nonprofits, billable professionals, and growing businesses in over 65 countries.