In the high-pressure world of healthcare fundraising, attracting and retaining fundraising staff remains a perpetual challenge. In fact, 90% of fundraising professionals stated that unfilled fundraising positions significantly increased their workloads, and a similar percentage agreed that their organizations were underemployed to meet their potential for raised funds. While employee attraction is an important solution, employee retention can help you keep your excellent fundraising staff while avoiding the work and financial costs associated with hiring and recruiting new fundraising professionals.
Our ten tips for employee retention and innovative implementation ideas below will help you support a thriving team so that your healthcare organization continues to make a significant impact on the communities you serve.
1. Create Opportunities for Upward Mobility
Hospital fundraising professionals are often ambitious and driven individuals. Therefore, provide clear career advancement pathways to retain talented employees. Demonstrating opportunities for growth within your organization is key to retaining their loyalty. Develop a structured career progression plan that allows employees to set goals and work toward promotions.
2. Communicate Fundraising Priorities
Some fundraising professionals report experiencing ambiguity around which fundraising priorities to discuss with donors. When not properly communicated, this lack of direction can lead to burnout.
Leadership can proactively outline fundraising priorities by implementing a structured communication framework. This may involve regular, transparent dialogues between hospital administration and fundraising teams to articulate and update fundraising goals. Additionally, fostering collaboration between different departments can create a unified approach, ensuring that fundraising professionals have up-to-date information to engage with donors effectively.
3. Provide Professional Development
Invest in the professional development of your fundraising team. Hospital work can be complex and challenging, and it is crucial that your employees have access to the training and resources they need to excel in their roles. Encourage your fundraising staff to attend workshops and conferences and take online courses. Consider creating an in-house mentoring program where experienced staff can guide newcomers.
4. Generate and Reward Referrals
One of the most innovative approaches to employee retention is to engage your current team in recruiting top talent. Encourage your staff to refer potential candidates who align with the hospital’s mission, fundraising objectives, and team culture. Consider rewarding successful referrals with monetary incentives. This approach not only strengthens your team but also contributes to the organization’s growth.
5. Promote Work-Life Balance and Wellbeing
Fundraising is hard work, and burnout is a common challenge. Hospital fundraisers frequently face intense demands, high expectations, and many responsibilities beyond fundraising. Your leadership is responsible for creating a work environment that prioritizes work-life balance and well-being. Encourage your team to take regular breaks and utilize time-off benefits. Offering flexible work schedules and remote work options can significantly reduce workplace burnout.
6. Establish Flexible Workspaces
In today’s dynamic work landscape, the traditional office concept has evolved. Implementing flexible workspaces is an innovative approach that allows your employees to choose where they work most effectively. For instance, employees might have the flexibility to work from home, shared coworking spaces, or even unconventional locations like outdoor workspaces.
7. Kickstart Peer Recognition Programs
Implementing peer recognition programs can be a game-changer for your organization’s culture. Encouraging employees to acknowledge and celebrate their colleagues’ accomplishments can instill a sense of belonging and mutual support. For example, you might launch a “Peer Spotlight Program” where team members can nominate their peers for recognition each month.
8. Offer a Career Pathway Navigator
Navigating one’s career within an organization can sometimes feel like a labyrinth. An innovative approach to address this is to develop a digital tool or platform that maps potential career pathways within your organization. This Career Pathway Navigator can provide employees with a visual representation of roles they can aspire to and the skills and experiences required to reach those positions.
9. Enlist Professional Coaches
Incorporating professional coaches into your employee development strategy is an investment that can significantly benefit both individuals and your organization as a whole. Coaches can guide staff in their personal and career development, helping them set and achieve meaningful goals. For instance, you could offer access to executive coaches who specialize in leadership development.
10. Express Appreciation
Regularly expressing appreciation to your fundraising team is a small gesture that can make a big difference in retaining staff. Recognition can be as simple as a thank-you note, a team celebration, or an “Employee of the Month” program. Employees who feel valued and appreciated are more likely to remain committed and engaged in their work.
These Approaches Prevent your fundraising staff from burning out and Drive Success at your healthcare organization
In the challenging world of healthcare fundraising, retaining top talent is an ongoing battle. Fundraising executives who adopt innovative strategies to support, engage, and motivate their teams will reap the benefits of improved staff retention and heightened fundraising success. By generating and rewarding referrals, offering competitive compensation and benefits, promoting work-life balance and well-being, creating opportunities for upward mobility, providing professional development, expressing appreciation, and integrating innovative approaches, you can create a workplace that not only retains staff but also inspires them to achieve greatness in their roles. Doing so will overcome workplace burnout, foster a culture of growth, and ultimately drive success for your hospital’s fundraising efforts and the healthcare community it serves.
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The 2024 CCS Philanthropy Pulse report serves as a guide for fundraisers, offering insights into the modern strategies nonprofits employ for development and highlighting avenues for fundraising success.