As your nonprofit grows, you’ll need to build and expand your team. And that means that as a leader you’ll need to leave tasks to others. And not just tasks – responsibilities, too. Here are my 5 tips for delegating in your nonprofit, especially if you find it hard to let go.

Set the goal together

First things first. Sit together with your team member, and set the goal for the job, project or tasks together. What is to be achieved? What does success look like? What’s the time frame for achieving the goal? Are there any targets or milestones to achieve?

Make sure you delegate the responsibility to achieve the set goal – for your team member to achieve however they see fit. Of course, bearing in mind your nonprofit’s values and SOPs.

Refer to your nonprofit’s values

Make clear what values your team member needs to respect on the job. This is an actionable version of your nonprofit’s value statement. How do you expect your team members to behave, internally and externally? Are there values that are particularly important for the specific task or responsibility?

Share SOPs

If you’ve created standard operating procedures (SOPs) for some of the tasks that are part of the work you’re delegating, share them. Be clear that SOPs are helpful for tasks that don’t require specific creativity or strategic insights. And that they aren’t meant to curtail the person’s space to find their own way in doing the work.



Let go

Now it’s time to trust in the professional capacities and motivation of your team member to do the work properly. Don’t set up weekly progress meetings. Don’t ask them for an update every day. Just make clear from the outset that you’re there to help if and as needed – when they ask.

Be ready for a ‘mistake’

If you’ve been doing the task you delegated yourself, you likely have a clear idea of how it needs to be executed. If you delegate the responsibility for the goal, your team member can use their own creativity and professional skills to find the best way to execute. That may be a very different way from yours. And it may feel like the wrong way, to you. Keep quiet and wait for the end result. You may be surprised that the goal can be achieved in a different way, too.

Or for a real mistake

It’s even possible the person will make a real mistake.

Don’t go running around dispensing blame or fixing the issue, if that happens. Your team member is responsible now, so simply ask them how they will fix it and what they’ll need for that. And help them reflect and extract lessons learned.

Tip 6

My sixth tip is, be grateful to have someone in your team who can take over tasks and responsibilities. This is a great sign for the stability and sustainability of your nonprofit! Celebrate this!


And don’t forget to celebrate the success of your team member achieving the set goal!

How I can help

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Watch my video How to delegate responsibilities in your nonprofit organisation to get the work done successfully.
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