How to Handle Organizational Burnout

Is your organization dealing with burnout? 

For nonprofits supporting underserved communities, the work can be long, arduous, and tiring. While these organizations tend to go above and beyond the call of duty, one of the tough side-effects is personal and organizational burnout.

The value minority-led nonprofits’ work is too great to collapse under the avoidable pressure of burnout. Luckily, there are mechanisms that your organization can utilize to prevent this scourge of progress!

What is organizational burnout?

Burnout refers to a state of chronic stress and is indicated by physical and emotional exhaustion, cynicism, detachment, and feelings of ineffectiveness. The organizational symptoms may look like poor performance, missed deadlines, and an unhappy culture.

How can this be solved?

Here at Social Action Partners, we have found a few methods to be particularly useful in preventing organizational burnout.

  • Ensure equal value: Try hosting staff appreciation day and awarding team members for their commitment. Take some time once a quarter for staff outings or other relaxing activities. And, consult with your team before moving forward on major projects. They’ll love you for it.
  • Email over Meeting? If it can be solved without a meeting, don’t have a meeting! And when there is a meeting, send the agenda in advance with room for open discussion.
  • No back to backs: Encourage the team not to schedule back-to-back meetings.
  • Social and Emotional Healing: Allocate time for strong interpersonal relationships and create a safe space for staff to share the strengths and challenges of their jobs.

What are some next steps?

  • Assess & Reflect: Have an honest conversation with your organizations team to understand what can be done to increase organizational self-care.
  • Envision & Create: Utilize this assessment to create new systems for organizational self-care.
  • Make it happen: Implement these ideas over a 3-6 month period, before assessing, reflecting, and reengaging.