Recognition of Employees in the Nonprofit Sector

Espace idées   •   March, 29th 2019

It's a sad reality: employee turnover in the nonprofit sector in Quebec is quite significant. This situation is all the more difficult since the change of personnel is costly and we know that each dollar raised is important in fulfilling the organization’s mission.

What could explain this human resource challenge?


Indeed, the philanthropic sector offers lower salaries than those found in the private sector. On the other hand, it is not uncommon to see individuals move from one nonprofit to another and continue working in the sector. Salary is therefore not the only reason...


Yes, stress is present in nonprofit organizations. Employees have to deal with the pressure of always doing more, but with less. There’s also the stress that comes with dealing with difficult societal issues.

Lack of Training

It’s not always easy for organizations to find budgets for staff training. However, as we’ll see later in this article, this is a very important and appreciated form of recognition.

Fear of Change and of Taking Risks

When projects stall and the organization does not make any changes, it can zap employee motivation. The same employees who, in most cases, have chosen to work for an organization in order to make a difference.


Lack of Recognition

Employee recognition is fundamental in any organization, but perhaps even more so in the nonprofit sector to overcome some of the challenges just mentioned.

Here are some employee recognition ideas to put in place within your organization:
  1. When thanking your employees, be specific. What exactly are you thanking them for?
    "Thank you for taking notes at this morning’s meeting. "
    "Thank you for passing on information to our volunteers. "
  2. Ask them for feedback about YOU. How do your employees view you? Do they have suggestions for improvements or advice? They will appreciate the fact that you asked them for their opinion.
  3. Celebrate each year of service in a simple and personalized way.
  4. Share any relevant information related to the organization with employees.
  5. Survey employees for their opinion on different aspects of the organization.
  6. Take advantage of social media to showcase them.
  7. Remember to recognize employees through their passions. Discover what interests them so you can give thanks with a gift related to these passions.
  8. Create a section on the organization's website to present your employees. You could also do this in a newsletter.
  9. Organize team meetings where everyone must recognize the work of another colleague.
  10. Organize activities outside the office.
  11. Organize team challenge activities.
  12. Add a suggestion box in the office.
  13. Hang a bulletin board where employees can display thank you notes.
  14. Highlight employee personal achievements and successes.
  15. Offer training/development opportunities (with Espace idées, for example 😉).
  16. Write recommendations on employee LinkedIn profiles.
  17. Allow your employees to leave work earlier on Fridays.
  18. Allow your employees to work from home, if possible.

The idea is to select the recommendations that are right for you and that can easily be implemented within your organization. We say thank you to our donors, but we shouldn’t neglect our employees. They play a huge role in the success of our organization!

By |2019-05-29T15:57:22+00:00May 29th, 2019|Uncategorized|