Accentuate the Positive: Tips for Preventing Volunteer Management Burnout

Posted Thursday, July 26th, 2018 by Sterling Volunteers and VolunteerPro Staff

Accentuate the Positive: Tips for Preventing Volunteer Management Burnout

Do you have work/life balance? The term has become a buzzword for human resources in the non-profit world, but the reasoning behind the word holds true for volunteer organizations as well. Work-life balance has been defined as the balance that a person needs between time allocated for work and other aspects of life including personal interests, family, social or leisure activities.

According to Mental Health America, “With so many of us torn between juggling heavy workloads, managing relationships and family responsibilities, and squeezing in outside interests, it’s no surprise that more than one in four Americans describe themselves as “super stressed”. And that’s not balanced—or healthy.” Stress can weaken our immune systems, leaving us open to colds, backaches and even heart disease!

When work/life balance is “out of balance” for an extended period of time, it can lead to burnout. This is even more prevalent for volunteer organization managers. Our partner, VolunteerPro, explains that it is common for burnout in the volunteer field, “For mission-centric people, these can be dark days where the work no longer seems to matter, and the joy is gone.” Volunteer manager work is “so vital to our communities and our missions and if the very people who make volunteerism magic are wiped out, we’re all in trouble.”

Tips for Preventing Volunteer Manager Burnout

Open communication is one of the most effective things that a volunteer organization can do to avoid burnout and keep the volunteer management and staff on the right track. VolunteerPro has shared four suggestions for preventing volunteer manager burnout:

  • Take Time Off: Taking vacation time or giving yourself some “down time” is a must to re-balance when burnout seems to be on the horizon. Vacations allow you to unplug, refresh and get a new perspective of the things that were causing you stress. Sometimes volunteer managers are just that, volunteers and they don’t receive paid time off. If that is the case, give yourself some time “off” of your duties. VolunteerPro suggests making time, even just a half day a month, to put aside work and do something that you have been putting to the side, such as reading the “pile of articles you’ve saved but never find the time to read.”
  • Find a community: Feeling isolated and alone is a major contributor to being burnt out. Therefore, having a work or social community to turn to is extremely important to help during high-stress As VolunteerPro explains, “As social beings, it’s deeply important to our wellbeing that we “find our people,” especially when faced with challenging situations.” For those volunteer managers who work on their own, look for online or other outside communities to reach out to listen and assist with your issues.
  • Be Efficient: We all have days when we are not very efficient. But did you realize that if this is your normal workstyle, it could be causing you stress? When we procrastinate, simple tasks could end up being beyond our control. Splitting the projects into smaller, completable tasks will make the work easier to accomplish. VolunteerPro suggests that you also could, “Seek out tools that make your life easier.”  Use existing proven tools, templates and even repurpose content instead of creating brand new pieces every time. This will help save you creation time, money and at times frustration.
  • Become a Volunteer Pro Member: VolunteerPro has created a vibrant online learning community and master-level library for volunteer managers. The community members “aren’t immune to burnout, but they are keeping it at bay with constant access to inspired knowledge, a community of like-minded volunteer professionals, and a vault of field-tested tools and templates.” See below for a special discount offer from VolunteerPro and Sterling Volunteers.

Accentuate the Positive

Battling volunteer management burnout is not a “one and done” situation. There will always be challenges that will have to be conquered, but by following some simple best practices, you can keep the negative effects of burnout in your team at a minimum and accentuate the positive. VolunteerPro concludes, “In a world that, more than ever, needs the magic of volunteers, we nothing more than to help volunteer managers like you to jump out of those ruts and to accelerate toward a happy, healthy state of productivity and growth.”

Both VolunteerPro and Sterling Volunteers support a high quality, effective and ethical approach to volunteer coordination. Through this partnership, we can help organizations follow the most up-to-date practices in the field and take the necessary steps to safeguard your assets, reputation and the dedicated people you serve.

Sterling Volunteers and VolunteerPro have partnered on a great discount on affiliate pricing for the VolunteerPro community. We are excited to offer a 20% discount (or $120) off the annual membership to the community when you use the code VERIFIED during sign up. Find out more information and sign up today!

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