Is Your Nonprofit or Faith Organization Full- or Part-Time?

Written by Corae Young

November 12, 2023

The older I get, the more I analyze. The more I slow down to watch, assess, and understand. What I’ve started to understand more is that our time is valuable and precious, and that we should do what we can to respect and value the time of others. Running an organization or a faith entity is not easy. But, as leaders, people respect you and the organization more if you respect their time and talents. Staff and volunteers themselves follow based upon the organizational culture that’s set before them Every organization should have a set of policies that governs how tasks are completed (BTW, if you don’t have a set of policies, Young Consulting can help you with that!). But the organizational culture will determine the values, beliefs, attitudes, and rules that influence the behavior of staff and volunteers. Better yet, how do people experience you and your organization? Do people follow the procedures that are in writing, or is what people do more of what they see other people do?

Being considered “Full-time” or “part-time” is not just about the number of hours worked or served, but rather the energy, execution time and relationship-building we have allowed to successfully operate an organization or prepare for an event. It has little to do with whether your team is paid or volunteered, but rather the time invested into the purpose. If the only time people feel they can talk to you about something work-related is before or after a faith service, or on the day of a special event, then people feel like their access to you is limited to that. Handling business in that manner means something will get overlooked, forgotten, or misinterpreted because oftentimes it’s done in a last-minute discussion, with limited focus on the conversation due to more pressing matters.

Let’s assess: Is your leadership based upon only when people see you, or do you lead people throughout the week, whether in-person, via phone, email? Do you engage with your team throughout the week? Do you have a true relationship with the people that serve with you? Or do you only engage with them when you need something from them, at the time when you need it? 

Being considered “full-time” means that we have left time for appropriate planning, conversation, engagement and implementation. It means we have provided sufficient time to execute our strategies, versus being “on-the-fly,” waiting until the last minute. Full-time means we have given time for our team to have proper engagement to discuss the goals, the strategies, and the resources that will be needed. 

Oftentimes, the organizational culture is developed based upon how leadership handles people and tasks. While there may be written guidance of when and how something should be done, oftentimes people follow the examples that have been set before them, even if those examples are sometimes wrong. Sometimes we have to “check ourselves” and the way we handle our work. Some basic ways to build an effective team includes having:

  • Scheduled, productive meetings with a clear agenda, goals and next steps;

  • Regular check-ins to discuss challenges and progress;

  • Giving clear timetables for work performance that holds everyone, including leadership, accountable;

  • Allowing sufficient time to effectively plan and execute events and activities; and,

  • Listening to the team and engaging them in the decision making process;

  • Try to limit last-minute planning and discussions that take away from the initial purpose of the activity.

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