Do you have iPass in your state? It is an electronic system to automatically pay tolls on a highway as you zip through the tollgates without stopping…without even thinking. Hold that thought.

I don’t know about your nonprofit organization, but the ones I see have been experiencing big increases in client numbers and needs. In fact, the last three years have seen tremendous increases in traffic for most social service nonprofits.

With theses increases come longer hours, longer lines, stressed staff and volunteers. A problem associated with all this is the tendency of your key workers (staff and volunteers) to unintentionally slip into automatic mode when delivering services to your clients. In other words, they enter the iPass Lane.

The iPass Lane is where staff and volunteers may lose some level of personal touch and empathy-not commitment-and the ability to deliver high touch service. It’s a place where your people may begin to operate mechanically with your clients. They don’t make a conscious decision to do so, it just happens. They focus on one goal, getting through to the end of the day (or the long line in front of their desk). Not an ideal situation, obviously.

So, what do you do to guard against this understandable but unacceptable mindset? Occasional celebrations help, so does walking around (often) and generously giving out “atta boys” to your team. Also, try to reconnect to their passion and their reasons for joining your organization.  Remind them of just what good they all are doing. The more attention and appreciation you show them, and re-anchoring them in the organization’s mission, the less likely are they to fall into the iPass lane-

Call me; let’s talk about this some more…