Depending on the time and day of the week, it may or may not be spring in Louisiana. As I’m writing this, it’s 81 degrees, though it’s going to be 60 by week’s end.
March 20 marks the vernal equinox, which I’m told is the true turning of the seasons. And, okay, I admit that the sun is pretty important in dictating the natural and celestial mechanisms that make spring happen. But I would submit that if you want a relatively accurate predictor of spring, just find the nearest nonprofit executive and regularly poll her about her anxiety levels. When they reach their true peak, that’s when one knows spring has truly sprung.
Spring, you see, is the busiest season of the year for many of our nonprofit partners. Program launches, galas, board recruitment, planning for annual meetings… it’s just like the rest of the year, but you’re also restarting from zero at the beginning of a new fundraising cycle.
Having spent many years fundraising as a nonprofit leader, I can readily relate to those of you who spend the first quarter worrying about how to solve the next challenge over long sleepless nights. But still, we push through the next day with the help of lots of caffeine and an absolute commitment to hit our fundraising goals because of all that means for the work we do.
Before we fully dive into the season, I want to spend a moment advocating to our non-profit leaders and to our funder partners for self-care among the non-profit community. Schedule time off, reinforce boundaries between your on time and your off time and look after your health. Burnout, particularly at peak times of year, is one of the most influential factors in the nonprofit industries disproportionately high turnover rate.
You are too important to lose. In many cases, the work you are doing is literally changing and saving lives, so it is understandable to feel driven to pour every bit of your energy into solving problems for your organization and its clients. But remember: taking time for yourself doesn’t let anyone down — it’s essential to bringing your best self to the table. Your clients, your friends and family need the best of you. And none of us can solve these complex social challenges alone.
When it gets tough over the next few months — and it will get though — remember this: as they say of a good Mardi Gras celebration, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. You’ve got to take care of yourself. You are what makes these critically important changes happen in our communities and so you taking care of you is also critically important.
Our Community Partnerships team has been in your shoes and, in many ways, we follow the same patterns of intense seasonal work. We believe in you and the work you are doing in support of so many in our communities. Me and my team are rooting for you and, if you don’t have someone in your network to talk things over with during this particularly busy time of year, drop me a line. We’re happy to help and work to connect you with others who are also working to make this busy and stress filled spring a time of impact with plenty of renewal and joy along the way.
– Michael Tipton
BCBSLA Foundation President and Head of Community Relations