24 Sep Mission/Life Balance Tips for Nonprofit Leaders
Serving others through my organization, Dare Humanity, for the past 6 years, has been fulfilling, but it consumed me in the past. I had to learn to balance my personal life while administering programming for people who needed it the most.
You should know that it is possible to pursue servitude and live a fulfilling life.
At the time my organization was founded in 2015, I was working part time at a nonprofit, and pursuing medical school. I knew I wanted to establish the organization at the time because of the foreseen “incubation” period for the organization, so I set out to register that year. We did not have our programming established, but we did pursue awareness events to serve youth and promote serving others.
It was a lot to manage in 2015 – pre-med studies, running an organization, working part time and having a social life. However, I remained consistent. I was in a place of unknowns when it came to running a nonprofit, but I knew I was meant to serve.
Keep serving through the unknowns, but do not stay there, keep building on enhancing your ability to serve.
I learned a variety of things while working at a nonprofit. I was able to enhance my public speaking skills, I learned about different systems for nonprofits and tracking outcomes for programs, and discovered the power of community building.
I want to share 5 tips on finding balance, nonprofit leader.
(1) Say “no”, respectfully – serving does not mean you have to say “yes” all the time. In fact, you will find that a lot of individuals will begin to pull on you and your gifting, but you have to stay mission-focused, ensuring the organization is only pursuing opportunities that align with the mission, and pursue what will allow the organization to make the most impact.
(2) Establish boundaries – When the work of my organization began in Haiti in 2018, I began to give individuals access to me that we would be serving. I offered my number to most of the individuals I encountered, not realizing that the demands would start to come, and unfortunately some unpleasant reactions from those I was connected to. Leader, you need to limit who has access to you. Only share your contact information with those who are necessary and trusted.
(3) Determine cut off times and days you are not available – Your passions can be the driver, but they can also cripple you, if you do not set limits. I think about Dare Humanity and the people we serve daily. I’m sure you do as well, naturally. However, I would encourage you to set a schedule that allows you to serve and rest. Set days when you are not available for meetings, administrative tasks, feedback, etc. This is going to allow you to maintain your peace and take care of you.
(4) Make yourself a priority – prioritize taking a break, treating yourself, having rest periods and spending time with family and friends. Unplug when necessary and accept that it is okay to do so. Give yourself permission to put your health and wellness first.
(5) Give yourself grace – as you build, you are going to make mistakes and face challenges, but you will overcome them. Organizations are not built on perfection; they’re built on the unpaved roads and led by leaders who can continue to evolve.
I trust that this post has blessed you, nonprofit leader. Remember that you need to be full to fill the cups of others, and that it is okay to build as you go.
Serve well and impact communities.