A common issue facing philanthropists, especially those who lead an organization, is the feeling of burnout. You can put your entire life and soul into helping a cause and working toward some kind of solution, but it may seem like you’re never really making a difference for the cause you’re trying to help. Philanthropy is tough work, even though it can also be incredibly rewarding. It can be difficult to put so much passion into a cause and be constantly reminded of how big the issue really is. However, it’s also important to keep pushing forward; no matter how hopeless it seems, you can make a difference. Here are some tips for helping avoid and cope with burnout as a philanthropist.
Take a step back
Sometimes, the best thing you can do to manage philanthropic burnout is simply take a step back from your work. If you lead a charity, take a short vacation. If you spend a lot of time volunteering, cut back your hours for a week or two. It might feel selfish, but it’s going to be the best you can do for long-term goals. It would be more damaging to completely burn yourself out and have to abandon your philanthropic pursuits.
Find your support system
When you work in philanthropy, you’re going to be surrounded by people who are also dedicated to the same cause. Create a support system of sincere and trustworthy individuals who you can go to if you feel burnt out. These people do not have to be those you volunteer with; you can have a support system of family and friends who are completely separate from your philanthropic work, which can be helpful because they’re removed from any stressful situations that could arise at your organization.
Practice self care
Many people overlook the importance of self care and run themselves too thin. Instead of pushing yourself to put in as many hours as possible, set aside time every day for something unrelated to philanthropy that you enjoy doing. Take an hour to read a book for pleasure, watch some television, or go for a walk. If you take care of yourself, you’ll be more effective when it comes to achieving philanthropic goals.
Like any leader, it can be difficult to not take on too much. You’re going to be working with other people, so learn how to delegate tasks. It can be challenging to trust others to do as good a job as you know you would do, but it’s better to trust someone else than run yourself ragged and end up being unable to help at all. Delegate tasks to other people; anything that you do not have to complete yourself could be delegated, which allows you to focus on more important projects.
While it can sometimes be hard to channel positivity when you’re faced with a huge issue, like helping the environment or working toward ending poverty, remember to celebrate every victory. Take each day step by step instead of focusing on the end goal that looms large in the distance. If you meet a fundraising goal or help a single family out, celebrate these small wins. You’ll feel re-energized to pursue that larger goal.