Illustration for article titled Organizing a Workspace for Your NonProfit

As a nonprofit, you are used to running your business on a shoestring budget. That doesn’t mean that you need to sacrifice the organization and flow of your workspace, though. An inviting office improves productivity and staff morale, which makes it easier to do your jobs with a smile on your face. The following tips can help you improve the organization in your nonprofit.


Tip #1: Identify your key work zones

Each office will have its own primary work zones. These are the combination of individual offices, teams, and shared spaces that the nonprofit centers around. Examples of work zones include the following:

  • Individual work spaces. These are for those staff members that need private work spaces, such as management or those that meet individually with clients or associates.
  • Team spaces. These are often the bulk of the work spaces, as they are shared offices between those in a similar or related sector.
  • Shared spaces. Areas like the copy or print room, file room, or meeting room are spaces shared by all staff.
  • Down spaces. These are spaces for downtime, which include break rooms, staff kitchens, lounges, and waiting areas.

Tip #2: Determine the best layout

Flow is very important. If clients or associates come to the office, you will want to begin your flow near the entrance with a receptionist and waiting area. From there, move to the individual offices, which can be in a separate office with a door or protected by tall cubicle walls. Placing these near the waiting area ensures visitors don’t have far to walk.


Finally, you can section the remaining space into your shared and team spaces. Keep in mind that some down spaces, like the kitchen, may be locked into their location due to built-in amenities like plumbing.

Tip #3: Create a comfortable atmosphere

Atmosphere helps keep stress down during the work day. As a nonprofit on a budget, look for deals or donations on items to use for office décor. For example, you may be able to get a large rug donated that requires little more than oriental rug cleaning to be usable, but yet it will be a vast improvement over hard, uncovered floors.


Opt for comfortable break room seating over utilitarian hard chairs, as well. Make sure artwork is pleasant without being overwhelming, and try to connect it all together by using matching frames (or at least same-color frames).

Tip #4: Don’t overlook the down spaces

The down spaces, such as the staff kitchen, break room, and lounge, can be refuge for your staff. Working in a nonprofit can be hard and stressful, so it’s vital that you provide a spot for everyone to unwind on their breaks. Create a comfortable and clean environment for the workers. Color choices are not considered was an important factor in this but it very important and effective to create a calm environment. So consider cabinet painters when redesigning the kitchen or common room.


Provide all the basic amenities, like a fridge, microwave, small stove or convection oven, and room for dehydrated food storage. Don’t forget a good coffee maker, along with bottled water and other beverage selections.

Tip #5: Make it file friendly

One of the most disorganized yet necessary parts of any nonprofit is the file system in use. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to keep most files in a central location so they can be found with ease, instead of having them scattered across different work stations.


If possible, considering moving the files to digital storage. While you may still need paper files in storage, your staff can access necessary files digitally so that they can’t be lost or misplaced.

Coming up with viable organization methods is a highly specific task, as the best methods vary greatly depending on your specific needs. Fortunately, these tips can help you begin to determine the basic organization structure that you need so you can form an effective plan.

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