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Allyson Kapin 6 min read

Why Nonprofit Self-Care Is Non-Negotiable

"What if your organization’s culture encouraged you, and everyone who worked there, to embrace self-care without guilt?

What if you could feel the vibrancy of your organization when you stepped into the physical office or hear it in the voices of staff when they talked about what it is like to work at your organization?"

These are questions you're asked in The Happy Healthy Nonprofit: Strategies for Impact without Burnout, Beth Kanter and Aliza Sherman's newest book that was just released. And not only are you asked these questions, but you're walked through the answers in a tangible, realistic way. Their goal is for you to actually accomplish these things.


Here are 5 things (of many) that this book hones in on:

  1. How you, as an individual, can make the shift from unbearably busy and stressed to calmer, proactive, and productive.
  2. How to start a real culture shift at your nonprofit to focus on wellbeing and sustainability.
  3. Strategies for how to move from contributing to burnout to alleviating it, or preventing it from ever happening in the first place (to you, or to other employees).
  4. The importance of being unapologetic (and disciplined) about self-care, and really defining what that looks like for you, and for your organization.
  5. Why self-care initiatives shouldn't be "extras", but instead, should be woven right into the fabric of your daily life, and your regular work environment.

Really, if we break it down, this book is actually a "How To" guide - it's a way to be better for yourself, for the people in your life (family, friends, coworkers), and for your social justice cause. If you burnout, you can't continue changing the world. The authors describe the book as "a practical roadmap for getting better results from mission-based, social change work by paying closer attention to individual and organizational wellbeing."

Take one more moment of self-care to imagine this, as described in the book:

"Imagine what it would it be like if all nonprofits nurtured their staffs’ wellbeing with the same care and attention they give to external stakeholders. What if nonprofits looked internally to their staff to get feedback and used it to continuously improve their workplace environment, culture, and work flow? What if staff felt part of a supportive community at the office with everyone working towards the greater good, tapping into a never-ending supply of creativity and energy? If all nonprofits were Happy, Healthy Nonprofits, think how much more effective we would be in solving some of the big social change problems of today's world."

Take the time to read this book (you can purchase it here). Do it as self-care, and do it to ensure growth and sustainability. And while you're reading, make sure to talk about it. Beth and Aliza are collecting stories because this is something that all of us face at one point or another, and we need to make sure we're supporting one another.


Allyson Kapin

Allyson has been named one of "Top Tech Titans" by the Washingtonian, one of the Most Influential Women In Tech by Fast Company, and one of the top 30 women entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter by Forbes for her leadership role in technology and social media. As Founding Partner of Rad Campaign, she leads the firm's client and online strategic services. For over a decade Allyson has helped non-profit organizations and political campaigns create dynamic and award-winning websites and online marketing and recruitment campaigns. She works side-by-side with her clients to meet their web needs and maximize their online effectiveness to create real world impact.