When is the last time you had fun at work?
Take a deep breath and think about the last time you had fun at work. I am not talking about the times you find your work enjoyable, rewarding, fulfilling, etc. I am talking about a really good time with a group of people (coworkers, volunteers, constituents) that was full of lots of laughter. Having fun in our lives is necessary. And yes, part of our life is work. Having fun at work is important and has many benefits for both employees and the organization.
There are numerous studies that have been done and books written about how fun in the work place increases productivity, innovation, better decision making, and team work. Those studies also show that organizations that are fun have fewer absences and lower turnover.
I found on www.workplaceissues.com a list of six reasons fun can improve work quality and mental health. I think these reasons sum up the importance of why we need to have fun in the workplace.
1. Fun breaks up boredom and fatigue
2. Fun fulfills human social needs
3. Fun increases creativity and willingness to help
4. Fun fulfills the need for mastery and control
5. Fun improves communication
6. Fun breaks up conflict and tension
Now I know some of you are thinking, “Erin, I just want to come in do my job, go home at the end of the day and receive a paycheck on a regular basis.” I completely understand and I have those days as well. But, think about what your day would be like if there was some fun and you were still getting paid…
Now that we know there are benefits to having fun at work, let me provide you with some suggestions on ways to have fun that are low cost. If you don’t like my suggestions, I encourage you to Google “Fun at Work” for more ideas.
I can’t forget to most important part which is to allow yourself and others to have fun in the workplace. Encourage others to step away from their desks and cut loose every now and then.
I encourage just have fun at work! It will make the place you spend more than one-third of your day more enjoyable.
Erin Teter, SPHR
Sr. Human Resource Business Partner
Sage Business Solutions
Comedian Mike Birbiglia does a bit where he recounts a routine that goes horribly
wrong. As he’s telling the story, the audience can see where it’s headed and groans.
"I know… I’m in the future also.”
Often, in the clear light of day, it seems obvious we had a bad idea. What were we
thinking? Why didn’t we see this mistake coming?
As a leader, if we fear trying something new because it could fail, we are
encouraging our employees to avoid risk. And a risk-averse culture is toxic to
creativity and innovation. That’s why one of Google’s mottos is around failure:
“Fail Fast, Fail Smart.”
I encourage you to promote a culture where failure is not the end of the world
and that only by making mistakes can we learn and grow. You don’t have to
necessarily celebrate mistakes or failures, just acknowledge them (admit them
in the unlikely event they are your own), learn from them and move on.
And, remember, no one likes a Monday morning quarterback. The time to point out
the obvious is before the fact, not after it.
Plus, a little thoughtful reflection makes it pretty likely you’ll never make
that particular mistake again – or at least not in that particular way. And, who
knows, it could lead to another creative or innovative idea.
To quote Scott Adams in The Dilbert Principle: “Creativity is allowing yourself
to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”
Is failure an option at your organization? Should it be?
Senior Marketing Manager
Sage Nonprofit Solutions
With the kids back in school, holidays fast approaching, and the year coming to a close, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle. And have a massive “to-do” list.
As I thought about what to write about for my first blog, I had a chance to breathe for a moment. It was the reminder I needed get out of the “to-do” and get back to basics.
What I love about my job is that I help people solve problems. I focus on three key questions:
1) What is going to help you simplify your process?
2) What is going to help alleviate pain or help to overcome obstacles?
3) And finally, does it make sense?
And then I listen.
Four very small things that really mean the world to those I’m helping and working with daily. It’s that simple.
What does getting back to the basics mean for you?
Director, Sales, Sage Nonprofit Solutions
In my last post we discussed the importance of donor engagement, why you want engaged donors, and some simple ways to gauge if your donors are engaged or not. If you missed that article you can read it here (http://community.sagenonprofit.com/community/blog/56233?id=3582).
To take that information a step further, in today’s post we are going to look at 5 ways to improve the engagement level of your donors. Let’s dive right in!
1) Mind the Gap
The difference between a first time donor and an “engaged donor” is often referred to as the “Engagement Gap.” This is the set of actions or contacts that are needed to turn a first time donor into an engaged donor.
What do you currently do with first time donors at your organization to get them more engaged? You need to be thinking of multiple ways and methods to encourage first time donors to become more involved in your organization and its mission. This is a process that can take some time so know that it usually doesn’t happen overnight. You need to build a graduated offering of actions, starting with very simple items, such as “please forward this email to a friend,” and from there work up to more involved actions like peer-to-peer fundraising.
As the old saying goes, “If you don’t ask, the answer is definitely no” The simple act of asking your donors to do small favors, such as signing a petition, forwarding an email, or commenting on a blog post, will increase their engagement and further their connection with your organization. That’s right, asking people for their support builds goodwill for your organization.
It is also important to ask your donors what they want, need, or care about and then listening carefully to their answers. Asking your donors to fill out a simple survey not only allows them to do a small favor for your organization, it also allows you to tailor your content to the exact issues that concern them, giving them one more reason to get more involved and engaged.
3) Make It Easy
If you have seen Office Depot’s ad campaign for the “Easy Button,” then you know what we are talking about here. Most people are so busy with the business of life that they are looking for easy / simple solutions. You can respond to this fact by providing as many easy ways as possible for your donors to get engaged.
Events, whether live (such as a Gala, MeetUp, or speaker series) or virtual (think webinars or online chats), are great methods for growing donor engagement since they allow your donors to get to know you, your staff, and your constituents on a more personal level. Instead of simply reading an email that was blasted out to thousands of recipients, they have a chance to interact one-on-one and connect on a more human level. (As a former social worker, I feel obligated to mention Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, specifically the need for ”Love and Belonging.” You can learn more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs.)
Attending an event and experiencing a deeper one-on-one interaction will eliminate the “engagement gap” for most donors. People who have attended a successful event are the folks who are most likely to become your future long-term and major donors.
5) Listen / Connect with Influencers
Always remember that engagement is a conversation – it has to go both ways or you will quickly be ignored. (Just remember the last discussion you had with someone who would not listen and how quickly you wanted to get away from them.) The need for a truly cooperative spirit has become even more striking in the age of social media. There is no quicker way to get ignored than to jump on Twitter or Facebook and start talking about me, me, me. It’s the equivalent of going to a party, standing in the middle of the room with a bullhorn, and screaming your life story at the top of your lungs. Not a good way to encourage engagement, or make friends, for that matter.
How do you create these two-way conversations? First, you need a compelling story that engages your donors and makes them want to pass it on. You need to show your passion and clear commitment to the causes you support and want others to support.
Second, you need to listen. You need to listen not only on your site, or your community, but also where conversations are already taking place about your issues and causes. This can be on Twitter or Facebook or topic-specific listservs. You need to join those conversations in an authentic way and ADD to the conversation.
Third, you need to identify your top advocates and influencers and engage them separately on a one-to-one level. Provide them with extra support and help them spread the word about who you are and what you are doing. A recommendation from someone’s friend or family member will carry much more weight than anything you, a stranger, can say as a representative of the organization.
In the end, increasing your donor engagement is all about action. You need to create the opportunities and engage your supports in real and authentic ways. If you can do that on a consistent basis, then good things will start to happen.
For more on donor engagement, you can view a recorded webinar we recently held with Sage, titled “Improving Donor Engagement Online,” available at
The webinar slides are also available on SlideShare: http://www.slideshare.net/sagenonprofit/improve-donor-engagement
Until next time,
Founder, Nonprofit R+D
Richard is the founder of Nonprofit R+D, a consulting firm dedicated to helping emerging nonprofits fully utilize technology and the web to support their missions through training, best practices and interactive services. Richard holds a M.S.W. from The University of California - Berkeley as well as a B.A. in Political Science from UCLA.