7 Delegation Tips for Non-Profit Leaders
As a non-profit leader, you may feel overwhelmed by the many tasks and responsibilities you have to handle. You may also struggle to balance your work and personal life and avoid burnout and stress. One of the most effective ways to cope with these challenges is to delegate some of your work to others. Delegation benefits you and your team members, who can learn new skills, grow professionally, and feel more engaged and motivated. Here are seven tips to help you delegate effectively as a non-profit leader:
Identify the tasks that you can delegate. Not everything can or should be delegated. Some tasks are critical for your role, require expertise or judgment, or are confidential or sensitive. These tasks should remain under your control. However, many other tasks can be delegated, such as routine administrative work, research, data entry, event planning, social media management, etc. List these tasks and prioritize them according to their urgency and importance.
Choose the right person for the task. Once you have identified the tasks you can delegate, you need to find the best person to do them. Consider your team members’ skills, experience, interests, and availability. You may also want to delegate tasks that match their strengths or help them develop new competencies. Avoid delegating too much work to one person or overloading them with tasks beyond their capabilities.
Communicate clearly and respectfully. When you delegate a task, communicate clearly and respectfully what you expect from the person. Explain the purpose and goals of the task, the deadline and budget, the quality standards and criteria for success, and the resources and support available. Also, give them some autonomy and flexibility in completing the task as long as they meet your expectations. Encourage them to ask questions or raise concerns if they have any.
Provide feedback and recognition. Delegation is not a one-time event, but an ongoing process that requires follow-up and feedback. Monitor the task’s progress and check in regularly with the person to see how they are doing. Provide constructive feedback on their performance and offer guidance and assistance if needed. Also, acknowledge their efforts and achievements and express your appreciation and gratitude for their work.
Learn from mistakes and failures. Delegation is not always easy or smooth. Sometimes things may go wrong or not as planned. Instead of blaming or criticizing the person who did the work, try to learn from mistakes and failures and use them as opportunities for improvement. Analyze what went wrong, why, and what can be done differently next time. Also, help the person learn from their mistakes and failures and support them in overcoming any challenges or difficulties.
Delegate more than once. Delegation is not a one-off activity, but a habit you must cultivate and practice regularly. The more you delegate, the more comfortable and confident you will become with it. You will also see more benefits for yourself and your team members as they gain more experience and skills in doing different tasks. Delegating more than once also shows that you trust and value your team members and are willing to share your power and responsibility with them.
Evaluate and improve your delegation skills. Delegating is a skill that can be acquired and enhanced over time. You can evaluate your delegation skills by asking yourself: How often do I delegate? What tasks do I delegate? To whom do I delegate? How do I communicate my expectations? How do I monitor and provide feedback? How do I handle mistakes and failures? How do I recognize and reward excellent work? Based on your answers, you can identify your strengths and weaknesses in delegation and work on improving them.
- The Management Center. (n.d.). Delegation. Retrieved from https://www.managementcenter.org/resources/delegation/ This resource provides tools and advice for effective delegation, particularly in non-profit organizations.
- Mind Tools. (n.d.). Successful Delegation: Using the Power of Other People’s Help. Retrieved from https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_98.htm This article covers the basics of successful delegation, including choosing the right tasks and people, and providing feedback and recognition.
- National Council of Non-profits. (n.d.). Delegation for Non-profit Leaders. Retrieved from https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/tools-resources/delegation-nonprofit-leaders This resource provides tips and guidance specifically tailored to the challenges faced by non-profit leaders when delegating tasks and responsibilities.
- Forbes Non-profit Council. (2019, February 11). 14 Delegation Strategies for Non-profit Leaders. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesnonprofitcouncil/2019/02/11/14-delegation-strategies-for-nonprofit-leaders/ In this article, members of the Forbes Non-profit Council share their advice and experiences on effective delegation in the non-profit sector.
- Bridgespan Group. (n.d.). Leadership Development: Delegation. Retrieved from https://www.bridgespan.org/insights/library/leadership-development/delegation This resource from The Bridgespan Group offers insights and tools for non-profit leaders to improve their delegation skills and empower their teams.
- VolunteerPro. (2020, January 30). The Art of Delegation: 6 Tips for Non-profit Leaders. Retrieved from https://volpro.net/art-of-delegation-tips-for-nonprofit-leaders/ This blog post shares six delegation tips specifically for non-profit leaders, emphasizing the importance of building trust and empowering others.
- Dhar, R. (2019, May 21). Delegation Tips for Non-profit Leaders: How to Pass the Baton without Dropping the Ball. Retrieved from https://www.techsoup.org/support/articles-and-how-tos/delegation-tips-for-nonprofit-leaders This article offers practical advice on how non-profit leaders can delegate tasks effectively while maintaining control and ensuring successful outcomes.
Non-profit Leader Delegation: Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is delegation and why is it important for managers of not-for-profit organizations?
Delegation is the assignment of tasks and responsibilities to team members, allowing them to assume more responsibilities and develop new skills. It is critical for not-for-profit leaders to effectively manage their workload, prevent burnout, and promote career growth within their teams.
2. How do I determine which tasks can be delegated?
Tasks that can be delegated are usually those that do not require your unique expertise, judgment, or access to sensitive information. Examples are routine administration, research, data entry, event planning and social media management.
3. How do I choose the right person for a delegated task?
Consider your team members’ skills, experience, interests, and availability when selecting someone for a task. Delegate tasks that match their strengths or help them develop new competencies. “Avoid overloading one person with too much work or tasks beyond their capabilities.” (“10 Best Practices for Effective Delegation in Non-Profit Organizations”)
4. What is the best way to communicate my expectations when delegating a task?
Communicate clearly and respectfully about the purpose and goals of the task, the deadline and budget, the quality standards and criteria for success, and the resources and support available. Give the person autonomy and flexibility and encourage them to ask questions or raise concerns if needed.
5. How can I provide effective feedback and recognition for delegated tasks?
Monitor the progress of the task and communicate regularly to the individual. Provide constructive feedback on their performance, offer guidance and assistance if needed, and acknowledge their efforts and achievements. Express your appreciation and gratitude for their work.
6. How can I learn from mistakes and failures in the delegation process?
Instead of blaming or criticizing the person who did the task, analyze what went wrong, why, and what can be done differently next time. (“10 Best Practices for Effective Delegation in Non-Profit Organizations”) Help the person learn from their mistakes and support them in overcoming challenges or difficulties.
7. Why is it essential to delegate tasks more than once?
Delegating tasks more than once is crucial to cultivate a delegation habit, establish trust, and share power and responsibility with your team members. (“10 Best Practices for Effective Delegation in Non-Profit Organizations”) It also allows your team to gain more experience and skills in different tasks.
8. How can I evaluate and improve my delegation skills as a non-profit leader?
Ask yourself about your delegation habits, communication, tracking, feedback, and handling errors and failures. Based on your answers, identify your strengths and weaknesses in delegation and work on improving them.
9. How can delegating tasks benefit both the leader and the team members in a non-profit organization?
Delegation helps leaders manage their workload and prevent burnout. For team members, delegation offers opportunities to learn new skills, grow professionally, and feel more engaged and motivated.
10. Can the delegation help prevent burnout and stress for non-profit leaders?
Effective delegation can help non-profit leaders avoid burnout and stress by distributing tasks and responsibilities more evenly among team members, thus reducing their workload and promoting a better work-life balance. (“10 Best Practices for Effective Delegation in Non-Profit Organizations”)