Accountability is for everyone
Shared accountability is one of those phrases that could be a buzzword if it wasn’t such a large part of the success of nonprofit organizations. It’s a phrase that is too easily glossed over by staff and a phrase that holds the key to meeting your mission.
Everyone on your staff needs to understand shared accountability and why it is necessary to be successful. As nonprofit leaders, we are charged with teaching volunteers to embrace the idea of being held responsible without making them feel like they report to us – because they don’t. Staff members can’t blame volunteers when things go wrong and we have to give them all the glory when they go right. We have to get them to own the goals and be willing to do whatever it takes to get results. None of these things are easy, so why don’t we just take charge and hold ourselves accountable?
Why shared accountability is important for your staff
Shared accountability is a huge factor in the success of anything a nonprofit does. If staff members own an event, a goal, or a program in its entirety it won’t be long before that person is the only one left standing. Volunteers who aren’t invested won’t stick around for long.
No staff person can meet goals without the help of the board and lead volunteers. Staff members should be held accountable for finding key people and bringing them to the table. The key people at the table should be held accountable for taking the right steps to ensure success. A staff member that is alone at the table will fail. A staff member that fails will leave.
Why shared accountability is important for your organization
In order for an organization to be effective in fundraising they must have good volunteers who accept shared accountability for goals. Without them an organization will not grow. Top level volunteers and board members are involved because they have a link and interest in what you do. More than likely, whatever your organization does impacts them personally. If you don’t get them to accept responsibility, however, you’re left with little more than someone who thinks what you do is a good cause.
Volunteers and board members who aren’t given accountability may care about your mission, but they won’t care how you meet it. Without someone championing the cause and bringing more of the right people to the table, you can’t sustain growth.
A lack of accountability also creates an “us and them” mentality for volunteers. If staff members hold all the decision making power and all the responsibility for meeting goals, your volunteers will start thinking in terms of “us” – the volunteers – and “them” – the staff. Sharing the accountability forms a “we” mindset. The volunteers become a vital part of the organization and know if they don’t succeed, the mission won’t be fulfilled.
Success comes much quicker when a nonprofit has staff and volunteers who are sharing accountability. An organization that has multiple people taking ownership of outcomes will be able to build sustainable programs and long lasting revenue streams.
Are your volunteers and staff holding themselves and each other accountable for goals and success? Find out more about the volunteer, staff and board trainings I offer that will teach accountability and boost success. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and find out how I can help your organization meet its objectives.