Hey! What’s up? Do you ever feel like a cog in a wheel? Push fundraiser, money comes out?
Recently, Seth Godin wrote on his blog,
“The factory-mindset encourages every worker to protect his time and his effort. Don’t volunteer because they’ll never give you any slack. Don’t push harder because you’ll only exhaust yourself. Don’t let them speed up the line because it will never slow down again…
It’s true: in a commodity business, productivity only increases as the result of more effort, and that effort is rarely compensated.
We see one organization after another, left unchecked, pushing miners or laborers or bureaucrats to exhaustion, all in the name of enhanced productivity.”
He calls it “underextending.” Does this sound familiar to you in your small nonprofit?
I remember feeling like this, time and again, “No, don’t get all of your work done yet, they’ll just give you more to do, and never appreciate, promote you, or anything!” So it’s creative incompetence. How can I drag this out, just so they won’t stick me with 10 other tasks?
The reason I quote Seth Godin, at length, is to show you that if you are under-appreciated at your job, if people treat you like an easily-replaced cog, if you resist every attempt to get you to do more and more, you are not alone.
Do you want to know who REALLY has cause fatigue?
Us. The fundraisers.
Are YOU getting properly thanked for all of the hard work you do?
Do people at YOUR nonprofit really Appreciate YOU?
Are you tasked with giving out all of the appreciation, but not really getting your share in return?
I don’t know about you, but every time someone comes up to me on the street, I just think, “Oh no, not again.” I don’t want to give to any more causes, because I’ve already been burnt out by the practices above. Do I want to give MORE of my time, MORE of my money, MORE of my energy, for free? It hasn’t worked out so far. Why should it start working out now?
Believe me, when i want to give to charity, I do. But when someone approaches me to give to their cause, I just ask myself, “What good is it really going to do? They’ll mistreat THIS fundraiser, and they’ll be gone in a year, and the whole cycle will repeat again, and they’ll have wasted that money by having to hire someone new.”
As a donor, I’m not looking for efficiency here. I’m looking for a real, human connection at a nonprofit that treats its workers, no matter what their job title, with dignity and respect. A nonprofit that treats its workers well would rise immeasurably in my eyes as deserving donations. Is that too much to ask?
The trouble with being a one-person shop or even just working at a small nonprofit is that you may find you’re too isolated to rise up with your other co-workers. But look, it’s happening all around us. It’s happening in China. It’s happening in Greece. It’s happening in Egypt. It can happen here too. We don’t have to be taken for granted. We don’t have to keep accepting more and more work. We don’t have to accept that we have no power in the nonprofit.
If you’d like to learn more how to create a workplace where everyone has dignity, check out these posts: