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How to Handle Fundraising Burnout

Feeling like your fundraiser is draining you? Here's what Dan Maby, founder of Big Orange Heart, says about fundraising burnout.

It all starts with an idea.  Your passion for this idea runs high, and you question why this thing you have in your mind hasn’t been done before. And now you start to think about ways to bring this idea to life.

As you dive deeper into your journey with this idea, you realise that you’re onto something – something big. Something that people need and want. So you start to share it with anyone and everyone that will listen. You can see as you speak about it, others begin to become enthused.  They want to know more, how they can get involved. How can they help?

It’s around this time that you realise a genuine need to get serious about how you deliver this idea. Which inevitably leads to the need for financing.

Whether your idea is as big as starting a new non-profit from scratch or undertaking a unique charitable activity within an existing cause, there will often be the need for some fundraising to get the idea off the ground.

Now you have your initial idea, and to bring that to life, you need another idea – the idea that will support the fundraising needed to make it happen.

Make Your Fundraising Ideas Happen

This stage can be exciting, thinking of all the fun and unique ways in which you might encourage people to support your original idea.

Will you run an event? Are you thinking maybe a crowdsourced campaign? How about connecting with sympathetic corporates to your cause?  Lots of options, lots to think about already.

So let’s say you go down the event planning route. It’s an excellent idea; not only can you build a fun and exciting event around the thing you’re so passionate about, but you can bring together elements of both the crowdsourcing concept and thoughts around corporate support into this single idea too!

Now we’re getting into it! So to deliver an event, to support your original idea, you’ll need a venue, some speakers, maybe some volunteers to help bring it all together. How about some way for people to make donations? Our friends at GiveWP have some of the best-in-market solutions for you. You’re also going to need a marketing plan to ensure people know about it.

Be sure to get to grips with Social Media Marketing, and of course, you need to get that Email Marketing machine going. Because what’s an event without amazing attendees. You’ll also want to open up that little black book of yours to reach out to those sympathetic corporates, to get them on board.

Don’t Let Your Projects Run Wild

So let’s say you give yourself a three-month window to bring all these various moving parts together to deliver a top-notch event. You’ve dedicated every moment to ensure that all aspects come together in a way that provides the best experience for all your attendees, speakers, sponsors, and volunteers. You’ve given every spare hour you had to create a fundraising machine to support your original idea.

But what about the original idea? Right, so it’s time to focus on that, now that you’ve raised your initial goal through the event. Good times!

But hold on. You’ve raised the amount you needed to start the project, but what about the ongoing costs? How will you meet those beyond the initial investment you now have?

Maybe another event? It worked so well last time. Why not?!

But hold on, now you won’t have time to dedicate to the original idea. You’ll be spending another three months bringing the next event out.

So how do you find that balance? Ensuring that you’re not simply fundraising for fundraising sake and that you are actively able to deliver your original idea whilst keeping the funds rolling in needed to sustain it?

It’s the question. Answering this question will enable you to maintain a healthy relationship with your original idea and the money needed to sustain it.

Avoid Fundraising Burnout

As you take on a fundraising idea, there is always the potential for fatigue and ultimately burnout if you don’t have a broader focused plan.

The concept of running an event might, on the surface of it, offer all the benefits your organisation needs. And for millions, this is the case. But you need to be aware of your resources.

Taking on a fundraising activity that stretches your resources beyond their limits will ultimately hurt your original idea.

Burnout is a genuine issue in fundraising. Taking on more responsibility and actions than you can cope with may breed resentment toward your original purpose.

When considering ways to fundraise, have an honest conversation with yourself, or your team if you have one, about the reality of delivering the concept. No one knows the future, but being honest about every potential outcome before you start can help guide you in the initial decision-making process.

If you’re a single individual considering an idea, be sure to discuss it with as many trusted people as you can before you commit. Take on board the opinions of those you speak with, and consider the potential outcomes.

Your mental wellbeing should never be the price for the delivery of a charitable outcome.

If you’re working remotely for your organisation, check out Big Orange Heart, a nonprofit dedicated to your mental wellbeing.

Have you ordered your Mental Wellbeing gear yet?

Our “Your Mental Wellbeing Matters” merchandise is only available for the month of May 2021. Get yours now! All profits go to Big Orange Heart.

Celebrate Mental Health Month swag - tshirts, hoodies, and totes.

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