Nonprofit leaders…are you suffering from compassion fatigue? Do you have concerns that your staff is beginning to burn out? Here are 5 ways that you can help your organization rebound after COVID-19.
We are now three months into this pandemic, and each day brings word of new cases. Long hours, economic challenges and personal concerns are leading to burnout and compassion fatigue as frontline workers strive to meet the tsunami of needs.
Concerns over safety have caused many organizations to cut back or completely eliminate volunteer programs, placing a heavier burden on already limited staff and resources. Yet the demand for assistance is greater than ever. One food bank reported that the number of people their nonprofit serves went from around 3,000 to over 17,000 in just four weeks.
So as we look towards the gradual re-opening of our nation, what steps can we take to help employees recharge?
Although it may not be possible to fully return your nonprofit to a pre-COVID schedule, establishing a regular routine again helps provide a sense of stability and reduces stress. Incorporating safety measures into your daily routine also helps to establish them as part of a “new normal”. The sooner you adopt a post-COVID culture, the more resilient you will be as an organization.
Create an Emotionally-Safe Environment
People deal with crises differently. It’s important to create a working environment where everyone feels safe and able to process through the impact made by COVID-19. Honest, open communication and taking time to listen are critical in the rebuilding process. Many people are still working through the trauma of the past few weeks. Patience and understanding are qualities that every good leader should exhibit as they guide their team back to a place of normalcy.
Have a Little Fun
Scientific studies have shown that laughter can reduce the levels of stress-related hormones in our body and activate the release of good hormones. Social isolation, grief and fear have been constant companions for many people over the last few weeks. We could all use a little more fun in our lives. Providing a few lighthearted social activities for your staff will help build resilience and team cohesiveness.
Finding balance and time for self-care can often be challenging for those in helping professions. It is difficult to maintain empathy for others while neglecting yourself. Eating well, getting adequate sleep, making time for relaxation and regular exercise are all important components of resiliency and endurance. Encourage your staff to prioritize self-care by setting the example yourself. You might even want to provide incentives for those who demonstrate healthy habits.
Simplify the Volunteer Process
Having a simple, well-organized volunteer engagement plan will help your organization get back on track after COVID-19. The uncertainty of the past three months has been overwhelming, so the more streamlined you can make the reintegration process, the easier it will be for everyone. One helpful tool that will enable you to do this successfully is using volunteer engagement technology. VOMO offers a simple yet robust platform–absolutely free–that helps you to manage volunteers, post projects, and calculate impact.
As we head into this post-COVID season there are so many reasons to be hopeful. Taking the lessons we’ve learned from the past few months, and adopting some new strategies to help us prepare for what is ahead, we can confidently move forward together with teams that are refreshed, equipped and ready.