It’s the most wonderful time of the year! As a fundraising professional, it seems like the minute after you throw your last summer BBQ, there’s an automatic pivot in the air to end-of-year fundraising and that momentum does not stop until 12:01AM January 1st of the next calendar year. And for a good reason, too. Regardless of when your fiscal year ends, nonprofit organizations across the board raise approximately 30% of their annual revenue in December alone, with 12% of all donations coming in during the last 3 days of the month. With a third of your annual revenue dependent on just one month, there’s plenty of reasons to be stressed and not take care of yourself.
Here are 5 simple ways to take better care of yourself during this stressful time, accompanied by animal gifs of course:
Move your body
It’s a well-known fact that exercise is fantastic for your brain and during this time of year, we need our brains to be in tip-top shape. Although it is recommended for everyone to get a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week, sometimes that is just not possible. But don’t worry, here are two ways to get the blood flowing when you don’t necessarily have a lot of time:
- Take a stroll around the block in lieu of another conference room meeting. Not only are you doing your body some good, you’re freeing up a conference room for a very gracious coworker!
- Schedule a 5 minute work-out break during your day, such as a plank challenge, push-ups, or even some stretching. Anything to get you away from your desk.
Burn out is real in the nonprofit world and one way to avoid that is to really set boundaries, even during your busiest time of year, when you’re in the office. With email on phones and chat apps like Slack and HipChat readily available 24/7, it’s no wonder why we are less and less likely to disconnect from work after the end of business hours. Perhaps it’s not 100% possible to disconnect because fundraising doesn’t sleep, I get it. But even implementing little things such as proactively communicating to your team what times you will and will not be available can go a long way.
More and more research lately has been showing adequate sleep as one of the most important health habits people can have. Try and aim for 7-8 hours a night and resist the urge to look at your phone the minute you wake up.
Schedule in breaks to look at cute animal pictures
No, this is not just because I love cute animals but because actually science says so. Did you know that, according to a Japanese study a few years ago, participants who looked at animal pictures before performing a task ended up doing so more carefully and with more focus? I’m totally your girl if you need help finding said photos.
Lastly, it really is the most wonderful and stressful time of year so give yourself a break. Indulge a little, whether that is going to your favorite bakery and getting a donut or ordering that new pair of shoes. It’s always the little things in life that keep you happy.
Remember, we’re all in this together. Nonprofit fundraisers are a special breed of people. Know that you’re not alone in this year-end frenzy. Happy fundraising my friends and to all a good night!