As the leaves change colors, the air turns crisp, and the aisles in your local grocery story try to sell you holiday candy WAY to early, it’s clear that we’re entering not just the holiday season, but one of the busiest times of the year in the nonprofit world (and, frankly, in most workplaces in general). For many of us, the pressure is ramping up. Year-end fundraising campaigns, along with the final sprint to reach annual performance targets, can leave us feeling frazzled. Regardless of our specific roles, each of us feels the surge of demands and expectations. Resilience will fuel us through this busy time of year.

What is Resilience?

Resilience, in its simplest form, is our capacity to bounce back, to regroup and move forward even when faced with adversity. It’s the spirit that keeps us innovating, even when a project stumbles or a grant doesn’t come through. It’s what helps us navigate the intricate dynamics of donor relationships, community expectations, and organizational missions. It also can get us through those holiday minefields… ahem, I mean holiday meals!… with our families.

Why Every Nonprofit Professional Needs Resilience

  1. Enhanced Job Performance: A resilient team member is an effective communicator, an innovative thinker, and a creative problem solver.
  2. Personal Well-being: More than just preventing burnout, resilience brings a sense of fulfillment and purpose, even amidst challenges. Resilience fosters a mindset that can withstand setbacks.
  3. Boosted Morale: Your resilience can inspire and uplift your colleagues, creating a positive ripple effect.

Strategies to Cultivate Resilience:

  1. Embrace Self-care: This isn’t about spa days (though those are great too!); it’s about consistently tending to your physical, mental, and emotional wellness. Regular breaks, hobbies, and even quick walks can help fill those tanks.
  2. Establish Boundaries: Passion drives us, but remember that overcommitment can backfire. Learn to discern when to take a step back. It’s okay to say no. In fact, setting boundaries can benefit everyone around you, as it may inspire them to do the same and create the culture change your organization needs.
  3. Connect with Colleagues: Admit to your frustrations. Share new strategies. You might find that this leads to collaborative solutions and mutual support.
  4. Adopt a Growth Mindset: Setbacks can be lessons in disguise. It’s not always easy to find those lessons in moments of frustration, but this is a muscle you can build.
  5. Seek Support: There’s no shame in seeking support. There’s strength in acknowledging vulnerability.

Celebrate Your Successes

Amid the hustle and bustle, the rush of tasks and targets, pause and reflect. Celebrate every professional win, no matter how small. Your dedication, adaptability, and resilience have paved the way. Tackle each day with grit and gratitude.

Give Some Grace

Remember, as the pressure mounts this season, you’re not the only one feeling the weight. Colleagues, partners, and the people you serve are under similar pressures. This is the perfect time to show grace, understanding, and compassion. A small gesture, a listening ear, or a word of encouragement can change everything.

If you cultivate resilience, you can rely on your internal reserves to fuel yourself this season and fill others’ tanks, as well. You bring more light to your workplace, family, friends, and community.


(psst… what do you think of the image that accompanies this blog post? I created it with ChatGPT-4 and it’s DALL-E 3 plug-in. I’m still learning, but it’s been fun to try!)


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