To self (and staff): Great job!

Flickr: Doug88888

When Marc Pitman asked us nonprofit fundraisers and communicators: “How do you say thanks to yourself?” The first answer that popped into my head was—yoga. The second was—a glass of wine and a long hot bath.

Then I thought a little harder about how I’ve rewarded myself in the past, after periods of taxing work, when complex projects have come to fruition. Here are a few things that buoyed me up and helped me celebrate what I—and my co-workers—had achieved.

  1. Dredge up the very first file or planning document related to the project. Take a look at it and marvel at how far you’ve come since it was written. Truly, our beginnings never know our ends (in a good way). You’re allowed to utter “wow” aloud.
  2. Go into the conference room and lay out all the communications products associated with the project on a big table. If there’s media involved, stream it on a computer. Gather your coworkers who helped with the project and create a moment of group pride where you all feel the power of working together to accomplish something big. Turn on Florence and the Machine’s “The Dog Days Are Over” and celebrate with a little wrap party.
  3. Take a minute to drop by your CEO’s office and let them know the project’s done and share any data about its success…then let yourself bask in whatever praise they choose to heap upon you. But be sure to acknowledge those who helped you. (If they don’t heap some praise on you…ponder whether you’re in the right organization.)
  4. Once the project’s done, take the team out for a surprise, mid-morning coffee-donut break. Throw in an inexpensive but appropriate gag gift for each member related to their role on the project. (These can be as simple as home-made award ribbons with funny titles, or those cheap button pins with wacky sayings on them). Let people enjoy each other when they’re out from under the press of assignments and deadlines. Let them know you appreciate their roles.
  5. Just for yourself—take a few days off and get away. Different sights and a new environment can recharge your energy and imagination.

But I wouldn’t want to leave it at that. Taking care of yourself (and your staff—because they can be real contributors to your well being) isn’t something you should wait until the end of a project or a tough work period to undertake.

Build in rewards (and fun) all along the way…at major milestones or just every few weeks. Small things (e.g., a great image/saying about gratitude with a little hand signed note from you, taped to each team member’s computer screen when they come in on Monday morning) to bigger things (e.g., a chill-out dessert potluck some afternoon)—the gesture is the important thing, not the cost.  And you don’t have to have all the ideas—invite your staff to think up cool rewards, too.

You work very hard, and so do your staff. Regularly acknowledge and reward that!!

Creative Commons photo credit: Doug88888

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2 Responses to “To self (and staff): Great job!”

  1. Marc A. Pitman Says:

    Gayle, you had me at yoga and wine! :)8

    Thanks for this!

  2. Nonprofit Blog Carnival - Self-care for nonprofit staff and fundraisers Says:

    […] Gayle Thorsen goes beyond the great ideas of wine and yoga–both great ideas in my opinion–to a full five more ways to take care of yourself and your team! To self (and staff): Great job! […]


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