Giving Compass' Take:

• Here are five self-care approaches that nonprofit organizations can increasingly acknowledge and adopt to improve organizational work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

• How can donors help nonprofits take care of themselves? What relief can funders offer? 

• Read more on prioritizing self-care in the nonprofit sector. 

Living in the time of COVID-19, our understanding of self-care and its role in the workplace is evolving rapidly. Here are five lessons about self-care that the nonprofit sector is increasingly acknowledging and looking for ways to adopt:

  1. We’re confirming that superhuman strength is unsustainable. 
    1. What the sector needs:
      1. Coronavirus reminds the sector that we need safe work environments for our staff and constituents in the physical space and in the mental and emotional space.
      2. Because crisis is often the norm in the sector, trauma-informed staff and support resources and policies are critical to caring for staff in this new reality
  2. Recognize that burnout is real.
    1. What the sector needs:
      1. A day off — or a week off — without penalty amid crisis may prevent burnout and increase positive mental health.
      2. Peer support groups and safe spaces for dialogue, peer coaching, and feedback are also helpful in building a community of practice and accountability in this new way of operating. We need each other.
  3. Focus on productivity instead of the 9-to-5.
    1. What the sector needs:
      1. The sector will benefit from flexible schedules and a focus on productivity and deliverables moving forward to balance work, life, and health.
  4. Realize that self-care is highly personal.
    1. What the sector needs:
      1. Organizations should create designated time and space for individualized self-care — without adding something else to an employee’s plate.
  5. Acknowledge that self-care is a privilege.
    1. What the sector needs:
      1. To understand self-care as a privilege, organizational leadership must also create space for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programming, eliminate barriers to participate in self-care, meet individuals where they are to build a sense of belonging, and identify blind spots in their own work for individual and collective well-being.

Read the full article about self-care approaches for the nonprofit sector by Mandy Sharp Eizinger at Johnson Center.