by Barnes Dennig

During the recent 22nd annual Non-profit Leadership Summit, Alida Miranda-Wolff, CEO and founder of Ethos, gave insights about how nonprofit leaders can treat burnout with belonging. The summit was hosted by Barnes Dennig in conjunction with the Leadership Council for Nonprofits, and the Association for Fundraising Professionals with numerous sponsors: the Better Business Bureau, Chase Bank, Fifth Third Bank, Anne M. Maxfield LLC, Bricker Graydon, Eagle Bank Charitable Foundation, First Financial Bank, PNC Bank, and The Yunker Group.

Miranda-Wolff’s keynote presentation addressed ready-to-use tools for organizations, understanding your relationship with power, how to use that power responsibly, and how to share that power. She also presented a real-life example of what can help to create conditions for everyone to thrive at work.

Understanding organizational bias

Some of the most pressing obstacles and biases that non-profit organizations face include:

  • Race and ethnicity bias
  • Structural bias
  • Pay inequality
  • Decreased individual contributions
  • Balancing a remote/in-office workspace
  • Employee shortages
  • Increasing loneliness among employees in the workplace

To start addressing some of these issues, Miranda-Wolff recommends making sure that organization leaders and individuals understand the definition of belonging and the different types of belonging, including: self, foundation, group, societal. Each concept has a unique definition and can carry a different meaning or importance to each individual. Realizing the differences between each and understanding how to interact with everyone’s sense of self is critical to building a culture of belonging.

The relationship between stress and burnout

Some of the components that can lead to burnout are:

  • Exhaustion, or constantly feeling drained of energy due to overextension
  • Depersonalization, or the feeling those you are meant to serve are more problems than those you are meant to help
  • Lack of personal accomplishment, or feeling your work accomplishes or contributes nothing

It is important for everyone to recognize some stress is good. Similar to how exercising muscles can build strength, stress can lead to motivation, growth, building, and feeling satisfied. However, too much stress can lead to feeling tired all the time, exhaustion, anxiety, panic, anger, and in the worst case, a breakdown.
Treating burnout with belonging

Some recommendations to treat burnout with belonging include:

Understanding generational differences: Baby boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z are all represented in the workforce. Different generations have different needs and expectations from their work, including feedback style, social rewards, and public versus private recognition. Understanding these differences can help an organization improve employees’ sense of belonging.

Understanding generational commonality: Just as important as recognizing differences, an organization should understand and leverage similarities, such as: levels of financial security, creating a dignified job experience, establishing purpose and meaningful work, how each generation experiences learning, and the types of growth opportunities each generation looks for.

Create belonging through the 3 R’s

  • Relationships
    • Checking-in versus checking-on
    • Creating social space where employees can connect and relax as a group
  • Resources
    • Establishing maximum hours
    • Training employees on the code of conduct and opportunities
  • Reciprocity
    • Building a team environment that supports helping out everyone
    • Institute community organization services

Additional Resources

Download the slides and worksheet, watch the recording, and learn more about Alida Miranda-Wolff here.

Barnes Dennig’s latest Non-Profit Compensation & Benefits Benchmarking Report, which features information and insights from non-profits of all sizes across our region outlines the latest trends in benefits, what various positions pay, and how non-profits are attracting and retaining talent in a tough market.

Other resources include the Non-Profit Toolkit, packed with resources to help your organization thrive, a video overview of Form 990 – and how to use it to tell your story and attract donors and grantors.

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