Fundraising can be fun, energizing, and extremely rewarding, but it is no secret that burnout can sometimes be a problem. Stress levels and constant deadlines can take a toll on anyone over time.
Battling burnout is a hot topic among advancement leaders. Much of the discussion focuses on what can be done to reduce stress and boost employee retention by changing how development teams are managed and structured—things that are out of most development professionals’ control.
Yet, if you find yourself battling with burnout, there are plenty of things you can do to inspire yourself and reinvigorate your passion for the great work you do. There are numerous articles, blogs, and books that provide generic suggestions, many of which you already know, such as sleep more, exercise regularly, focus only on positive results, drink less coffee, etc. Today, we want to share with you three tips to help beat burnout that are specific to those working in philanthropic development.
1. Forget numbers and deadlines
Instead, think about stories. Acquaint yourself with the individuals whom your fundraising efforts have helped or are helping right now. Perhaps it’s a particular student who couldn’t get by without a scholarship, or a patient that benefited from a new piece of medical equipment. Maybe there is an entire new facility or program that you have helped bring into existence.
Listening to these stories can go a long way toward helping you understand the importance of what you do and the difference you make in people’s lives.
Take 10 minutes out of your day to walk through your campus or hospital. Talk to some students, faculty members, physicians or patients. If you can’t get away from your desk at the moment, here are some videos that can help remind you of why you became a professional fundraiser and how rewarding your work truly is.
2. Look at the big picture
Reacquaint yourself with your institution’s mission. Re-read the mission statement if you haven’t done so recently. Make an appointment to visit with your dean or physician, get a sense of the impact philanthropy has made for them, and walk away with a renewed sense for how each individual your organization helps adds up to improving life in your community. The sum total of all those individual stories is nothing less than a brighter world in which your work has played a small, but vital, part.
3. Call some donors
But don’t ask for a contribution. Instead, check in and see how they are doing. Ask them about the meaning they have found in their giving, thank them once again (even if it is for the hundredth time), and invite them to share how they feel about their support of your organization. Chances are, you will be inspired by their passion and the stories they have with your organization.
Once you are feeling inspired, jump back into your work with a renewed sense of purpose. You will undoubtedly work with donors in a more effective, meaningful way, which will ultimately lead to higher satisfaction—for both you and your donors.