Lessening the Effects of Burnout for Nonprofits

Employee Burnout in Nonprofits

We’ve all experienced it to varying degrees – burnout at work

It’s something we can never truly escape, but there are measures you can put in place to minimize the impact it has on your organization. Employee burnout has far-reaching effects that stretch beyond the employees involved. It can affect your ability to reach clients and even deteriorate the culture of your organization.

In particular, nonprofits are experiencing dramatic rates of burnout. Roughly 30% of nonprofit employees claim they are burnt out with 20% at risk of burning out. That is a staggering 50% either at risk or worse! Before we get into how to fix this, first things first – it’s important to understand the signs and causes.

What are the root causes of employee burnout?

Burnout can be caused by any number of factors. Often, it is a combination of several factors that contribute to an employee’s risk of burning out. Many organizations focus only on what is in their control, but it’s important to understand that burnout can occur due to factors in an employee’s personal life. Sleep, nutrition, exercise, and others play a role and should not be ignored.

  • Inability to Influence or Control Your Workload or Schedule
  • Long Hours
  • Work-Life Imbalance
  • Lack of Encouragement
  • Poor Management
  • Little/No Upward Mobility
  • Communication Channels Lacking
  • No Social Support
  • Factors at Home

Working on Low Energy

What are the signs of employee burnout?
  • Cynical or Irritable
  • Having Trouble Getting Started
  • Low Energy
  • Unproductive or Difficulty Concentrating
  • Less Satisfaction from Successes
  • Out of the Ordinary Physical Complaints
How to prevent it

It’s not enough to hold meetings to address burnout. In fact, this can further harm those who are experiencing it. These meetings could be misconstrued as just another distraction that puts them even further behind on their work.

Instead, your actions should speak louder than words. Implementing exercises or activities are great methods to reduce employee burnout and have the added bonus of team building.

A supportive work environment is a must if you want to address the external factors causing burnout. Ensure your employees know that seeking support is okay and there will be no recourse when asking for help. Having a designated employee available to address these needs in a discrete manner can help tremendously.


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