1. Define Your Role and Responsibilities
Start by understanding your job description and the expectations associated with it. Clearly defined roles can help you prioritize tasks, manage your time effectively, and avoid taking on responsibilities that aren't part of your job.
Action Item: Schedule a meeting with your supervisor to discuss and clarify your role and responsibilities.
2. Set Clear Communication Guidelines
Clear communication is the cornerstone of any successful organization. Establish how, when, and through which channels you prefer to communicate with colleagues, supervisors, and stakeholders. This includes setting boundaries around email response times and preferred meeting formats.
Action Item: Send an email to your team outlining your preferred communication methods and response times.
3. Establish Work-Life Balance
Nonprofit work often involves a strong commitment to the organization's mission, but it's important not to let it consume your personal life entirely. Set specific work hours and stick to them as closely as possible. Avoid regularly working late or on weekends unless it's absolutely necessary.
Action Item: Create a weekly schedule that designates specific time slots for work, self-care, and personal activities.
4. Learn to Say No
It's okay to decline additional tasks or projects if they're beyond your capacity or expertise. Saying no doesn't mean you're not committed; it means you're focused on doing your best in your current role.
Action Item: Practice assertive communication by politely declining tasks that are outside your scope of work.
5. Prioritize Self-Care
Self-care is not selfish; it's a vital aspect of maintaining your well-being and effectiveness as a nonprofit staff member. Prioritize activities that recharge you, whether it's exercise, meditation, reading, or spending quality time with loved ones.
Action Item: Create a self-care routine that includes activities you enjoy and make them a non-negotiable part of your week.
6. Seek Support and Supervision
Working in a nonprofit can be emotionally challenging, especially if you're dealing with sensitive issues or working directly with those in need. Regularly scheduled supervision meetings with your supervisor or a mentor can provide a space for you to process and seek guidance.
Action Item: Schedule regular check-ins with your supervisor to discuss any challenges you're facing and seek advice.
7. Set Boundaries with Program Clientss and Stakeholders
While it's important to be compassionate and empathetic, it's equally important to set clear boundaries with clients and stakeholders. Communicate expectations and limitations, and be firm but kind when necessary.
Action Item: Develop scripts or phrases to gently assert your boundaries with clients and stakeholders.
Creating healthy boundaries as a nonprofit staff member is essential for maintaining your well-being and effectively contributing to your organization's mission. By following these actionable steps, you'll not only protect your own mental and emotional health but also enhance your capacity to make a positive impact in the nonprofit sector. Remember, setting boundaries is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness.
Stefanie Joy Muscat is Bevara's Founder + CEO, and is an award winning nonprofit strategist and advocate who has worked in the sector for over two decades. At Bevara, we change the world in small ways by helping nonprofits make better business decisions. Want to learn more? You can contact us here.