As the call for submissions for the November Nonprofit Blog Carnival’s “Big Dream for 2013” came in, we were in the midst of analyzing our Small Membership Insight Survey results. And as I thought about my dream for the coming year, some of the comments from a few of our survey participants about isolation and burnout came to mind:
- How do you manage the expectation that you engage in social media (and every other shiny thing) and mobile marketing when you are already stretched to keep up the website and publish a newsletter, plus manage education programs, membership and financial records, etc. with only occasional staff?
- I wish you had asked questions about isolation and burnout for solo employees.
While these are only two comments among 559 survey participants, they resonated deeply with us and I’m sure they ring true for many volunteers and staff at small non-profits as well.
So while many of us begin the year fantasizing about what life would be like if we lived in our “dream house” or got our “dream job,” these comments suggest that some of the devoted volunteers and staff of small non-profits are simply dreaming of “enough time and resources” as they fight fatigue, isolation and burnout each day.
As Nancy Schwartz (this month’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival host) suggests in her “call to action” message “To Hope in 2013” the hard work of legions of volunteers and staff is helping to “turn despair into hope” through non-profits in North America and around the world. And while they work tirelessly with, as Nancy suggests, an “unshakable conviction that a better world [is] possible”, some of these volunteers and staff can get overwhelmed trying to make this dream a reality. And many feel isolated trying to reach their personal and organizational goals without enough resources, tools or support.
Our dream for resources and support
So this year, our dream for small non-profits and membership organizations is for them to find both the resources they need (be that volunteers, funds, tech support, etc.) as well as ways to manage their own and their organization’s expectations, so they can achieve their goals and gain personal satisfaction for their efforts, without feeling isolated or burned out from their good works.
And while it’s fine to offer up tips on how to juggle priorities and tasks and manage work-life balance, we’ll try to do our part this year by taking the information we received from small non-profits through our survey and offering up insight, resources and support to help these volunteers and staff continue their amazing efforts in 2013.