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Understanding Nonprofit Employee Stress
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Understanding Nonprofit Employee Stress

Recently, at the local gym, I overheard a doctor on the phone answering a page. I was shocked at first by his conversation. When he called in I heard him say: “Look, for the last four days straight I have been seeing patients all day and I have not had any time for myself. If it is an emergency, I’ll come in, but if it can wait I’ll seen them later.”

After getting over the initial shock, it then hit me. Wait a second, this guy is right on target! Other professionals like airplane pilots or truck drivers are required by law to take a certain amount of time off work to rest and recharge because it has been recognized that if they don’t a disaster could happen! Surely this guy needs time to unwind just like anyone else!

So, what about nonprofit professionals? I think in most cases people who provide services to others like nonprofits are totally forgotten! Also, it seems, that nonprofit organizations without realizing it have adopted trends they see from their distant cousins, the for profit corporations.

Don’t get me wrong I will be the first to tell you that nonprofits should in many ways adopt certain practices and operate more like a business. However, in the for profit arena bigger is almost always considered better! More sales, more distribution points, larger product lines, more customers, etc.

Unfortunately the nonprofit arena has been brainwashed into thinking the same way, that being bigger is better!

I’m sure some will disagree with me, but I’d rather have a nonprofit that serves twenty-five children brilliantly versus one that struggles to serve a hundred showing lack luster results. Yet, like most, I’m ever mindful that when it comes to spending donor’s money very close attention will be paid to the actual cost per child ratio. Now more than ever nonprofits are expected to do more with less! Is this fair? No, but who said life was fair?

My only hope is that nonprofits and the professionals that guide them will be able to withstand the pressure and not push staff beyond their breaking point!

DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended to provide legal or accounting advice, or to address specific situations. Please consult with your legal or tax advisor to supplement and verify what you learn here.