I want to ask you a question:

How are you?

I’ll bet the answer isn’t a simple one. Between lockdown, working from home, trying to juggle everything life is throwing at you. It’s tough. Life’s been a real grind. It’s sapped you of energy. And so I ask again:

How are you?

I Wear Too Many Hats

This morning I spoke to an employee of a potential client. She has a job title but if you’re a nonprofiteer lifer, you know that doesn’t mean much. As we got to talking and fleshing out her organization’s needs, I’d ask “Who’s in charge of this?” and she’d answer she was.

After the third time, it became a running joke so that instead of asking, I simply said, “I assume this also falls under your jurisdiction.” And inevitably it did.

When you work at a nonprofit you’re going to have 7 jobs at once. That’s unfortunately the nature of the charity beast. If it helps the organization save money by requiring the same person to perform multiple jobs, then so be it.

The cost of trying to “run a tight ship”? That seems to be an afterthought.

Underappreciated, overworked, underpaid. That’s the nonprofit sector’s motto. In times like these, that motto is a curse.

And so I ask again:

How are you?

Photo by Nick Moore on Unsplash

Burned Out

You’re a fundraising pro. You enjoy helping donors meet the needs of the organization’s beneficiaries. It’s hard work but it’s satisfying when you see the smiles on the face of a donor after they have generously donated to your cause.

Problem is, you’re also burned out. Times are tough. The Board and CEO demand more and more. They refuse to give you the resources you need to expand your efforts. They “can’t afford” to purchase a CRM which will allow you to better manage and steward the donors. You’re shuffling between Excel spreadsheets.

The hours are long, the pay is crap. You want to stay where you are but you have to pay the bills at home. You want to work for a boss who will let you do your job. And so in the midst of the Coronaworld craziness, you begin the job search. Again.

My dear fundraiser, I have a question:

How are you?

Photo by Ian Espinosa on Unsplash

It’s Not Easy Being Boss

You’re the CEO. Boy did corona screw things up! Last year was a good year and you were looking forward to positive growth and being able to help more people in your community.

Now you have a million decisions to make. You want to keep all your employees on staff but the Board wants you to slash and burn. Everyone is working from home and that brings a new set of challenges. Because of social distancing rules, it’s hard for your team to provide services to beneficiaries.

I was a CEO during the Great Recession. Your frustrations and challenges? I understand them. You sweat blood and tears every single day to keep the operation afloat and running. I realize you must be worried because you’re responsible for not only yours but the livelihoods of your entire staff.

You’re doing what you can. You’re making sure all donors are fully updated about how you’re meeting the corona challenge. Constantly on the phone or Zoom speaking to supporters and staff. Yet you’ve stopped sleeping at night, worried that tomorrow more bad news will be delivered.

So big boss, I have a question for you:

How are you?

How are you?

It’s not a simple question on a normal day, certainly not today. Yet too often, because of the daily grind, we forget to ask others how they are. In a genuine, you’re-there-for-them sort of way. That includes the boss!

We’re too busy trying to do our job, feed our family, hold it together. All of that is important but it doesn’t absolve us of the responsibility of taking care of our fellow workers.

I’d appreciate if you could do me a favor: Today, please pick up the phone, call a fellow staff member and ask them, How are you?

Talk to them. Hear them out, Laugh, cry, smile. Whatever it takes. Just let them know that someone familiar wants to check in and make sure they’re alright.

Most important: NO shop talk. Discuss everything but work. There’s so much more to life than the office (or the home office).

Three words can make a big difference in someone’s day. Repeat after me:

How are you?

NOW’S the time to be engaging your donors via your website, social media and email. Since you might not be able to in person, let’s give your digital communications and marketing a kickstart, so we can give a boost to your bottom line!