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Five ways to boost your advancement team’s morale during the holiday season

Show appreciation to your advancement staff during a busy time of year

December 11, 2023, By Jenny Jones, Principal, Advancement Marketing Services

The end of the calendar year marks a busy time for Advancement teams. From wrapping up critical end-of-year fundraising campaigns to processing influxes of year-end donations, advancement staff are working overtime during this final fundraising push.

  • 58%

    of fundraisers said they’re asked to do too much.

With long hours in the office over the holidays managing increased workloads, it’s easy for staff morale and energy to decline. Showing your team sincere appreciation during this demanding period can go a long way. Even small gestures to lift spirits and spread some holiday cheer let your advancement staff know their dedication does not go unnoticed. Here are five ways you can show appreciation towards your staff this holiday season.


5 ways to show appreciation

1. Host a team lunch or potluck

Organize a team lunch or potluck to bring everyone together in a relaxed setting. Sharing a meal fosters camaraderie and provides a break from the hectic pace of year-end tasks. Consider making it themed or even bringing in a local caterer to add a festive touch. Including icebreaker questions or games can make the conversations light and fun for your staff. Even more, consider adding a hot cocoa bar to your office one day for staff to enjoy a comforting cup of cocoa amid the holiday hustle.

2. Be flexible with their hours and time

Recognize the extra effort your team is putting in by offering flexibility with their work hours. Allow your staff to take off an afternoon to attend their child’s holiday concert or provide more work from home opportunities during this time of year. This gesture acknowledges their hard work and dedication while allowing them to balance their professional and personal commitments during the holiday season.

3. Organize a recognition ceremony

Host a special recognition ceremony to publicly acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of individual team members. This could include highlighting notable contributions, milestones, or exceptional efforts during the year-end campaigns. Consider creating certificates or awards to present and encourage team members to share anecdotes or express gratitude for their colleagues. Not only does this foster a positive atmosphere, but it also provides a formal platform to recognize and appreciate the unique strengths each team member brings to the advancement efforts.

4. Go to a campus event together

Take a break from the office by attending an event on campus as a team. Whether it’s a holiday concert, a sports game, or a festive gathering, participating in campus activities as a group can be a refreshing change of pace and boost team spirit.

5. Give them gift cards (or campus swag)

Show your appreciation with small tokens of acknowledgment. Gift cards to local restaurants, coffee shops, or online retailers are versatile and allow staff to choose something they’ll enjoy. Alternatively, if you don’t have much of a budget, consider giving out campus swag that is already available in your office, such as branded merchandise or apparel, as a tangible reminder of their contributions.

Showing your advancement team sincere appreciation through small tokens of acknowledgment goes a long way during the high-intensity holiday season. When staff feel valued for all their hard work supporting critical year-end campaigns and gift processing efforts, it stimulates their engagement, morale, and productivity. Remember that amidst the hustle and bustle of finalizing campaigns and processing generous year-end gifts, it’s crucial not to overlook the wellbeing of your dedicated staff.

Jenny Jones

Jenny Jones

Principal, Advancement Marketing Services

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