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Professional Fundraising Certificate Program

Why We Throw Holiday Parties: Know Your Team

Have you ever stopped to think about why your company throws a holiday party each year?  If you look at some 2017 statistics from Forbes’ “The Trouble with Company Holiday Parties,” it is not for the happiness of your employees since only 36 percent of employees find holiday parties fun. The intentions may be to celebrate a team, show appreciation, and have some fun, but is that really what gets accomplished?

In the fundraising field, we know that right around the holidays, our teams are busy working to close gifts by year-end and to maximize the annual spirit of giving, so are we really able to achieve the goals of showing appreciation and team building by hosting a holiday event? At this point I would say no.  What if, instead of a holiday party this year, you close the office early one day and allow your team to use that time however they wish?  Many might want to do some shopping, or get to an appointment they typically can’t fit in, or just have some time to take a pause during the busy time of the year.  Would this make your employees feel more appreciated?

But what about the team building and relationship building that occurs through the informal nature of an annual holiday party?  You can still accomplish this.  Consider asking everyone to write a short note to a colleague before they leave early.  They could highlight something they appreciate about their colleague or a particularly positive interaction they had in the last year.  If you are still interested in throwing a party, consider waiting until after the holidays — a time that is slower for your team.  Often during the first couple weeks of the new year, the pace is a little slower, and a social gathering might be a less stressful commitment to take on.

You can give this non-holiday-party idea a shot with very little downside.  Communicate to your team that you are trying something new. If they like it, you will continue it, and if not, you will change it.  Remember that at the end of the day you are doing this for your employees’ happiness, so that should be the driver behind the decisions you are making.  A sure-fire way not to have fun is to put a lot of work and resources into a gathering that your employees (or at least no more than 36 percent of them) don’t even want to attend.

#ProfessionalFundraising, #BostonUniversity, #Management&Accountability, #Team, #Holidays