How to Avoid Burn Out in Your Nonprofit This Holiday Season

November 8, 2017 | 1,105 views

How to Avoid Burn Out in Your Nonprofit This Holiday Season

How to Avoid Burn Out in Your Nonprofit This Holiday Season

‘Tis the season to feel blessed, thankful, and downright stressed out. Unfortunately, the message of gratitude we’re hearing so loud and clear this time of year falls on deaf ears when our schedules fill up. Add in fewer volunteer hours and more vacation time taken by your team, and you have a recipe for fatigue worse than the tryptophan hangover you’re sure to experience during Thanksgiving.


If you feel like you’re on the edge of burning out, here are some tips that can help.


Remind Yourself of the Purpose

There’s a reason you chose the chaotic world of nonprofits. Don’t lose sight of that when you’re feeling demotivated at work.


Remind yourself of why you’re doing what you’re doing. Keeping the bigger picture and your purpose for working front and center will give more meaning to the daily grind, making it easier to power through the busy season.


Revisit Your Daily Schedule

Where does your time go every day? Where are you spending your working hours? Are these tasks inching you toward your goal or are they distracting you from the work that really matters?


Take a look at your daily schedule. You might need to nix a few of the items on your to do list during the hectic holiday season, so you have more time to focus on the tasks that matter.



In the world of nonprofits, asking for help is admirable, not a sign of weakness. You can’t do it all on your own. People want to help. Get specific about what your needs are and then reach out directly to a group of engaged volunteers who are best suited to take on a certain task. You’ll get more off your plate and you’ll avoid burning out.


Take Frequent Breaks

It might seem counterintuitive to stop working if you want to increase your productivity (and maintain your sanity), but that’s exactly what you need to do.


Studies show that focusing on one task for too long causes you to lose focus. The more you lose focus in your work, the less productive you are. And the less productive you are, the more time you spend turning your wheels trying to accomplish something that you should’ve been able to accomplish in a shorter amount of time.


Schedule in your breaks to remind yourself to take them on a regular basis. Add them to the public schedule, so others know you’re planning to take a break too.


Be Religious About Taking Time For Yourself

You’ve probably heard the expression, “put your oxygen mask on before helping others.” This expression comes from the airline industry about how to save your life in the event of an emergency but there’s a lot of truth to it in other areas of your life, such as your work.


If you’re feeling burnt out, it’s important to take a step back and dedicate some time for yourself. If you don’t, you’ll soon be unable to meet the demands of your organization and you won’t be able to help others. Help yourself first so that you can serve the people who need your help the most.


Happy Holidays

The holiday season should be happy and heartfelt. It shouldn’t be filled with fatigue and stress. Follow these tips to keep your purpose front and center, delegate more work, and take more time for yourself during the chaos of it all. It’ll pay off for you and the people you help in the long run.



Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Atlas Business Solutions was named as one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies in 2004 through 2007 and again in 2010, 2013 and 2014.

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