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Are you a stressed out fundraiser?

15 October 2013


 October 15, 2013

Give and Tke the bookRecently I read an excellent book called “Give and Take”

Why is it excellent?

Because it talks about what to do when you’re stressed out and tired and you just can’t take it anymore.

You have to kind of get to the middle of the book to get to this part though. Page 176 to be exact.

The book talks about this woman who joined Teach for America, who was excellent at everything she did. who ran half-marathons, who got to work at 6am and stayed there til 1am. This lady makes me look like a total slouch.

But of course it all becomes too much for her eventually, because teaching is exhausting, especially teaching people who are out of line all the time. So, naturally, she gets burnt out. But what does she do instead of taking a well-deserved nap?

She starts a nonprofit to mentor high-achieving kids!

Why was this a smart move? It seems pretty suicidal to me.

There’s this thing called Tend and Befriend that makes burnout go away.

How does it work?

Mr Grant posits that are different kinds of people. Takers, Matchers, and Givers.

Takers, obviously, care about their image and want to take as much as they can from life. When your boss wanted to take credit for your work, that’s classic taker activity. Matchers operate, as you might expect, in a tit-for-tat arrangement, where they can give you a favor in return for a favor.

Givers can be split into two groups. Otherish Givers, and Selfless givers. Selfless givers give until they drop, and don’t take care of themselves. Whereas otherish givers create networks, ask for help, and are able to succeed long after those martyr types have gone home.

In modern society, you’d think that Takers would be the obvious leaders, with Givers and Matchers falling into the follower category. As it turns out, Otherish givers are much more likely to become strong leaders. Why?

A UCLA psychologist named Shelley Taylor has discovered a stress response other than fight or flight. It’s called tend and befriend. This means that when people are stressed, some of them (otherish givers) come together in groups to provide and receive joint protection in threatening times. They invest their limited energy in helping their colleagues.

Moral of the story? If you strengthen your relationships and build support networks, you won’t burn out.

What networks do you have right now?

Do you belong to a local volunteering group, or fundraising professional group?

Do you belong to a group of your nonprofit peers?

Do you belong to a YNPN or a Meetup group for nonprofit staff?

What do you get out of this group, if so?

If you’d like to overcome being stressed out, and burnout, come to our April Virtual Fundraising Career Conference.

Fundraising Career Conference 2016

2 responses on “Are you a stressed out fundraiser?

  1. Sarah Neale says:

    I am really out of it… can’t do the RSS.20 feed thing at all… think I am in the wrong universe sometimes.

    • Mazarine Mazarine says:

      hi Sarah,

      if you need some help, I’d be happy to do a screenshare and help you. Let me know if you’ve got some time in the next two weeks.