The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit: Strategies for Impact without Burnout
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More About This Title The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit: Strategies for Impact without Burnout


Steer your organization away from burnout while boosting all-around performance

The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit presents realistic strategies for leaders looking to optimize organizational achievement while avoiding the common nonprofit burnout. With a uniquely holistic approach to nonprofit leadership strategy, this book functions as a handbook to help leaders examine their existing organization, identify trouble spots, and resolve issues with attention to all aspects of operations and culture. The expert author team walks you through the process of building a happier, healthier organization from the ground up, with a balanced approach that considers more than just quantitative results. Employee wellbeing takes a front seat next to organizational performance, with clear guidance on establishing optimal systems and processes that bring about better results while allowing a healthier work-life balance. By improving attitudes and personal habits at all levels, you'll implement a positive cultural change with sustainable impact.

Nonprofits are driven to do more, more, more, often with fewer and fewer resources; there comes a breaking point where passion dwindles under the weight of pressure, and the mission suffers as a result. This book shows you how to revamp your organization to do more and do it better, by putting cultural considerations at the heart of strategy.

  • Find and relieve cultural and behavioral pain points
  • Achieve better results with attention to well-being
  • Redefine your organizational culture to avoid burnout
  • Establish systems and processes that enable sustainable change

At its core, a nonprofit is driven by passion. What begins as a personal investment in the organization's mission can quickly become the driver of stress and overwork that leads to overall lackluster performance. Executing a cultural about-face can be the lifeline your organization needs to thrive. The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit provides a blueprint for sustainable change, with a holistic approach to improving organizational outlook.


BETH KANTER was named one of the most influential women in technology by Fast Company and is the award-winning author of The Networked Nonprofit books. She is an internationally acclaimed master trainer and speaker.

ALIZA SHERMAN is a web and social media pioneer; founder of Cybergrrl, Inc., the first women-owned, full-service Internet company; and Webgrrls International, the first Internet networking organization for women. She is a motivational keynote speaker and the author of ten books, including Social Media Engagement for Dummies.


Our Acknowledgments xv

Beth’s Acknowledgments xv

Aliza’s Acknowledgments xvi

Foreword xvii

Introduction xxi

The Vision xxi

Why We Wrote This Book xxiv

What You’ll Learn in This Book xxv

PART I Revitalize Yourself

1 The Problem: Why Nonprofit Professionals Burn Out 3

When Work and Life Collide 3

What Is Burnout, Anyway? 8

Causes of Burnout 12

The Stress of Work 18

Moving Out of Burnout 25

2 The Foundation: Understanding the Areas of Self-Care 27

Dealing with Stress 27

What Is Self-Care, Really? 28

Introducing the Five Spheres of Happy Healthy Living 30

Sphere 1: Relationship to Self 32

Sphere 2: Relationship to Others 36

Sphere 3: Relationship to Environment 38

Sphere 4: Relationship to Work and Money 39

Sphere 5: Relationship to Tech 42

It’s Time to Make a Change 44

3 The Assessments: Change Your Habits, Make a Self-Care Plan 45

Self-Assessment Is the First Step 45

Creating Change 57

Making It Happen: Your Self-Care Action Plan 62

4 The Practices: Happy, Healthy Things You Can Do for Yourself 69

Individual Self-Care 69

Supporting Health and Wellness 70

Supporting Happiness and Well-Being 75

5 The Workflow: Changing the Way You Work 83

Bringing It to the Office 83

Relationships in the Workplace 84

Environment 87

Your Workflows 89

Managing Your Energy 90

Asking for Flexible Work 94

Bringing Play to Your Work 96

Breaking from Work 98

Tech Wellness 100

PART II Revitalize Your Organization

6 The Culture: Transforming Your Organization 107

Connecting the Dots to Organizational Culture Change 107

Defining a Happy, Healthy Culture 110

The Role of the Leaders 117

Supporting Employees for Culture Change 123

Committing to Culture Change 127

7 The Activities and Cues: Self-Care to WE-Care 129

WE-Care in the Workplace 129

The Physical Office 137

Human Interactions 141

Mindfulness at Work 144

Creativity Activities 147

Home Life Support 149

8 The Processes: Well-Being in the Workplace 151

Workflows 152

Energy Management 153

Walking as Work 153

Flexible Work 158

Play at Work 160

Breaking from Work 162

9 The Strategy: Working toward a Happy, Healthy Nonprofit Organization 171

Wellness Versus Well-Being Programs 171

The Benefits of a Happy, Healthy Strategy 174

Why Employee Engagement Is Essential 176

Your Policies and Employee Benefits 180

Writing Your Happy, Healthy Strategy 185

Rolling Out Your Strategy 187

Evaluating Your Happy, Healthy Organization 190

Shout Hallelujah, Come on Get Happy and Healthy! 192

Notes 193

Index 201