It is crucial to foster positive interactions between members of your nonprofit team. 

Good communication within your team forms the foundation of an NPO’s success.

To help you reach your goals, we have compiled a list of effective strategies to improve team communication and organizational structure.

Specify Roles and Highlight Contributions

One major challenge in the workplace that arises from ineffective communication is role overlap. Unclear communication results in individuals creeping in on each other’s professional scopes.

Therefore, every team member must be fully aware of their roles in a project. To augment this, highlight and reward each member’s contributions as projects progress. This encourages them to focus on what they’re proficient at. 

Highlight how each member’s work contributes toward the success of the whole. And encourage them to work towards broadening their scope if they feel they want to contribute more. 

For example, one team member may want to become a medical social worker. Ensure that this individual knows how they could contribute if they achieved this goal.

Identify Different Communication Styles

Oftentimes communication issues occur due to different workplace communication styles.

One member communicates in a way they believe has conveyed a message effectively. Meanwhile, since the receiver of the message has a different communication style, the message has been lost in translation.

A good leader will be able to identify the different communication styles within their team, as well as their own. This information can help a leader with understanding team members, and how to work with them to achieve the desired result.

Provide Psychological Safety

Oftentimes, team members do not feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas. Naturally, this can lead to ineffective communication.

Portraying empathy, listening actively, and curious questioning are all useful methods to combat this issue.

A leader should show that they’re interested in each team member’s ideas. Thus, your team will feel valued and heard. And hopefully, this will lead to your team members feeling safe to open up more freely.

You should also encourage employees and volunteers to share their thoughts, as well as ask clarifying questions. 

Allow Creative Freedom

No one wants to feel stuck or that they don’t have the space to reach their full potential. Allow individuals to express their creativity.

Once again, this can be achieved by encouraging team members to contribute their ideas. 

If they have a controversial or simply differing opinion to share, they should be able to share it freely without fear of judgment. 

However, providing this space requires building trust and morale within your team. Why not share your own controversial opinion so your team members can follow suit? Show them it’s safe to do so without negative repercussions.

Furthermore, encourage team members to approach you with their creative ideas individually. Maybe someone at a lower level in the organization has a brilliant idea no one else has thought of. Don’t miss these opportunities to try new things.

Prioritize Transparency

We all know that without transparency, honesty, and accountability, communication can hit a wall. So, a leader should prioritize these communication strategies in various ways.

One way to do so is to disclose business performance and information as it occurs. Your nonprofit team will feel much more comfortable if they’re up-to-date with all your NPO’s goings-on. 

Transparency also extends to constructive critique. Provide consistent feedback to your team members and ask them to provide feedback on you. 

You’ll probably be thinking now: what about those team members who don’t feel comfortable sharing their feedback face-to-face? In this case, a consistent and anonymous employee satisfaction survey is your solution. 


Mindful awareness prevents massive conflicts that are difficult to resolve. It is much better to catch issues early. And resolve them before they build up and explode.

Frequent one-on-one check-ins with all members of your team can be a worthwhile endeavour in this regard. These check-ins should revolve around each individual’s work-related issues.

Also, ensure that these check-ins consist of a personal element as well. How is the mental and physical health of each of your team members?

Maintain and Respect Boundaries

Another common people management mistake is not setting proper communication boundaries in your workplace.

A high-stress environment and negative relationships between members are often the results of poor maintenance and respect of boundaries.

For example, you may have a team member who consistently interrupts others’ work to “have a quick chat”. This can be extremely irritating. And can impede one’s workflow. 

Ensure you set a rule that if you need to talk to someone, don’t just approach them and start offloading. Encourage your employees and volunteers to inquire whether that person has a moment to talk or if they can organize another suitable time.

This shows respect and fosters healthy relationships within your nonprofit team.

Artem Borodin

CPO at Standuply. PMP, CSM, CSP. Ask me a question via Standuply

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