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Overwhelmed?

If you are in the arena of nonprofit fundraising, chances are you may be a little overwhelmed. If you’re not, I am super happy for you and my gift to you is that you can skip this blog post or save it for a time that you are.

My experience with clients and peers in nonprofit fundraising is that come 5pm or 6pm, it really is time to go home yet there seems so much more to do. Many stay longer, which negatively affects their family and their life, and others go ahead and head home but feel guilty for leaving and get down on themselves for not getting enough done.

We all experience feeling overwhelmed at times and I’d like to offer actions one can take to chip away when feeling like this. Some of these ideas are repeated from past blog posts. Here’s my list:

Create a list of must-dos for the morning once you arrive. I mean it, only must-dos.

Check and respond to email upon starting your day and then don’t check email again until lunch time.

Use an auto-response to communicate with those emailing you.

For future projects or work you are doing for others, be super clear in expectations, time line and boundaries in regards to what is possible for you to accomplish and what is not. If we can all have super honest conversations about what we are working on, the end result and how everyone feels when it is done is a much more positive space.

Ask for help. It’s OK. If you lead fundraising efforts and you simply do not have staff to help, go to your board. Then volunteers. My experience tells me that there is always someone who can help, even by taking the simplest thing off of your plate.

Get comfortable with saying “no”. Not no, I’m not going to do this. More like, no, this will take days not hours so I cannot get it back to you by this afternoon. Realistic work load scheduling helps a lot.

Go for a walk. I know, that makes no sense when you are swamped and feeling overwhelmed. It doesn’t make sense, until you are actually walking and begin to feel a bit better.

Don’t multi-task. That may look good on job descriptions (it doesn’t to me) and it will decrease your being overwhelmed if you focus on something and finish it, then the next something.

If even just one of these helps, I am super happy. Thank you for reading!

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