At 6,300 feet above sea level, (I'm at Lake Tahoe) I think better, sleep better, and in general, feel like I'm working on all cylinders. Why I live at 560 feet MSL I don't know.
At dinner last night with 6 executives of mid size California nonprofits, one of the key things I heard was living the job, no time to think, learn, take time off, etc. Everyone agreed that taking time was good, but how to do it?
Today I'll be talking about troubling trends....and one of the most troubling to me is the workload of senior staff in nonprofits. Like everywhere else, nonprofits are being forced to do more with less. As I tell people this reduction in staff has been going on for a decade, and has resulted in many admin staff going from 1.0 to 2.5 FTE's living in their bodies. Even with help from tech, this means more work, more time demands, more pressue.
Is it surprising that the Nonprofit Quarterly found that over 40% of Execs would "Never take an ED job again"?
And, if we lose 40% of our experience capital out of our sector, what happens then?
Three thoughts; easy to say, tough to do:
First, delegation is a key for ED retention. The execs at dinner said "Yeah, I should give up stuff, but it's so HARD!" and things like that. This is a management skill, one that needs to be developed to allow other staff to take some of the load, and to grow themselves.
Second, more education for nonprofit employees (and board members) in ways that accomodate their crazy schedules. Funders need to ramp up the perceived value of continuing education for everyone in the sector, fund/reward it wherever and whenever possible.
Third, a greater understanding by board members of the huge job their senior staff take on, and a gentle/steady prodding from the board to make sure that staff do take time off, both on a daily and annual basis. Otherwise we burn out/kill our employees.