Depending on how long you've been working in the nonprofit sector, it's likely that you've picked up on some of the jargon and inside jokes among your colleagues. One of the most common idioms I hear from nonprofit bleeding hearts all over the country references "wearing many hats." After all, it's not uncommon for nonprofits with limited budgets and small staffs to combine job descriptions. I've met community educators who do social media and case managers who write their own grants. They're often proud to be "pulling their weight" and to be "supporting the mission." It's commendable, to say the least; however, to supervisors and nonprofit leaders alike, heed this warning: beware the Burnout Factor.
The Burnout Factor refers to the likelihood of a staff member taking on too much, going above and beyond, and ultimately burning out. This unfortunate scenario leads to higher turnover rates, and wasted time spent recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and training a revolving door of staff.
It wasn't long ago that I too wore a fabulous collection of hats - so many hats that I opted to step away, focus my strengths, and support multiple missions doing what I enjoy doing most . I left a few of the hats behind for someone more their style. I did my best to step away before I burned out, and before I lost touch with everything I loved about the work in the first place. We passionate, bleeding heart, non-profit champions need to love the work we do. The last thing an organization needs is a staff full of exhausted and unmotivated individuals.
This is why consultants, like myself, specialize in specific areas of business - to lighten the load for your team to focus on the work they love, for a fraction of the time and money you would invest into recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and training a full-time staff person.
Save your energy for doing what you're best at. Hire an expert to lighten the load for your team, and increase the quality of life and work product of your staff.
It's that easy.
Ryanmarie Tover is a consultant and executive coach with extensive experience working with businesses and professionals to promote positive behaviors for personal and professional development in the South Florida region.