Audit Report

Delegating Tasks Can Lead To Fresh Perspectives

Non-profit leaders often know exactly how they want something done and can be perfectionists. While many believe they’re the only ones capable of doing it right, this is simply not true in many cases. Unfortunately, this attitude can alienate staffers and make it difficult to mentor successors and build effective teams. Time also is a huge factor : there are only so many hours in the workday. As a leader, are you dedicating your time to the functions that best serve the organization? To best serve your non-profit and its constituents, you must practice the art of delegating the right tasks to the right people, including yourself.

What To Hand Off
It’s important for executives to devote their time to the projects that are the most valuable to their organization and that can best benefit from their talents. For example, public speaking engagements and meetings with major donors are probably best left to you and other upper-level executives. On the other hand, tasks that frequently reoccur, such as sending membership renewal notices, and jobs that require a specific skill in which you have minimal or no expertise, such as reconciling bank accounts, are probably delegation targets.

Before you delegate a task to an employee, consider the person’s main job responsibilities and experience and how those correlate with the project. At the same time, keep in mind that employees may welcome opportunities to test their wings in a new area or taking on greater responsibility. Before assigning new tasks, check staffers’ schedules to confirm they actually have time to do the job well.

How To Be Flexible
When handing off a task, be clear about goals, expectations, deadlines, and details. Explain why you chose the individual and what the project means to the organization as a whole. Also let employees know if they have any latitude to bring their own methods and processes to the task. You may be tempted to micromanage a delegated task, but try to give staffers flexibility. After all, a fresh pair of eyes might see new and better ways to accomplish jobs.

On the other hand, delegation doesn’t mean dumping a project on someone and then washing your hands of it. Ultimately, you’re responsible for the task’s completion, even if you assign it to someone else. That ‘s why it’s important tostay involved by monitoring the employee’s progress and providing coaching and constructive feedback as necessary.

Getting It Right
How do you know if you’re delegating correctly? Ideally, you should have time to focus on mission critical tasks that leverage your specific talents, and your staffers should be provided with growth and learning opportunities. If you’re new to delegating, it may take some time to get used to identifying projects to delegate and the staffers best capable of handling them. But once you get the hang of it, delegation can make the job of managing a non-profit a little easier and much more fulfilling.

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