What you need to know to Survive Fundraising Burnout

fundraising burnout

Written by Tim Grable

August 3, 2017


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What you need to know to Survive Fundraising Burnout

Working and volunteering for a nonprofit organization can be very rewarding and equally stressful.  Perhaps the gre

atest stressor is related to fundraising.  Raising money is essential to any nonprofit because without it, many nonprofits would be forced to decrease their services, layoff staff or even close their doors. For those that work or volunteer for nonprofits, such fears can lead to Burnout.

Fundraising Burnout Tips

What It Feels Like

True enough, very few people wake up every morning with an unquenchable thirst to raise money.   However, a person that is experiencing burnout may have feelings of despise toward fundraising.  Or there may be feelings of anxiety regarding their inability to raise enough or bear the weight of the nonprofit’s existence on their shoulders.  Also, a person may also get a pit in their stomach just thinking about the details necessary to have a fundraiser such scheduling the right talent, venue and catering.

How It Happens

Fundraising Burnout happens because of a prolonged breakdown in the fundraising process.  There are usually a lot of significant factors that occur rather than one isolated incident.   Committees may get lost in the details of planning the fundraiser.  There may be continued strife among board members regarding their personal differences.  Sticking to a budget or not having one can cause problems.  Not having a plan for the fundraiser and operating in panic mode may cause unnecessary stress.  Booking talent that bombs year after year can cause a lack of confidence and increased stress.  Experiencing many of these repeatedly will inevitably result in dreading the next fundraiser.

What to Do About It

The good news is that Burnout can be helped.  You can overcome those negative feeling related to raising money.  Here are some tips that can help.  First, remember your mission statement and memorize it.  Many fundraising committees and board members do not even know the mission statement of the nonprofit they serve.  Recalling the mission statement can help you refocus and gain a new approach to your next fundraiser.   Second, have a clearly laid out budget so that everyone is aware of all expenses and the amount that must be raised to break even.   Third, learn to play well with others on the committee or board.   Choose your battles.  Look for things that you can agree on rather than focusing on your differences.  Fourth,  find the right talent that is able to customize the performance to your event.  Using an experienced agent that is able to clearly match the talent to your event will reduce stress and promote feelings of optimism for your fundraiser.  Finally, remember to evaluate and keep notes of your fundraiser.  Identify the pros and cons clearly so that you are able to make your fundraiser better next year.  This will also help to ensure you are not recreating the wheel; thereby reducing stress further.

Don’t Let Fundraising Burnout Get You Down

After months of fundraising by soliciting donations and filling out applications for grants, it is easy to get burnout before reaching your fundraising goal. So how are you going to achieve this objective with entertainment for your non profit when you have burnout? How about a planned event? These can take much time and energy, but it is possible to have a planned activity with minimal effort and rake in the money. To do this, you can book an act that will draw crowds and keep your potential donors entertained for several hours. If you book an act like this, then all you have to do is set up the when and where moreover, you will have the perfect setup to get a lot closer to your goal without irritating your fundraising fatigue. We work with some acts to that would be great to book.

Acts to Hire When You Have Fundraising Burnout

Fundrasing Gala and Live Auction - Live Event Artist - Heidi Schwartz - Paint Your Event

If you think an auction is a way to go for your fundraising event, then live event painter Heidi Schwartz is the person you want to book. While everyone is enjoying themselves, Heidi will paint a picture of the event live, and then auction that painting off to the highest bidder as well, all in the name of charity.

Joe Castillo - Sanford Health Foundation / Children's Gala

Sand art is an effective way to tell your donors the reason they are donating to your cause, and Joe Castillo is one of the best at it. By arranging sand on a screen, he can tell a story that will move his audience and even remind you why you are raising money for this cause.

Guitar Comedian Matt Jernigan 80's Music and Commercials

You can always keep people entertained by making them laugh. Add some music and you have the perfect act. Matt Jernigan will sing parodies of songs like “Should I Sneeze or Should I Blow” instead of Clash’s hit “Should I Stay or Should I Go” as well as play guitar. He likes making fun of the way commercials have ruined many songs over the years.

The America I Grew Up In. Jeff Allen

Another comedic act that will draw the crowds is comedian Jeff Allen who talks about everyday life in a hilarious yet encouraging way. He has said to have inspired and encouraged many people in married life and starting parenthood. He is had parts in comedy skits on Comedy Central, Showtime, Dry Bar Comedy and Vh1.

Comedian Tom Cotter Sizzle Reel 2019

Tom Cotter is the first comedian ever to reach the finals on America’s Got Talent, and he deserves it. He is now a rising star frequently winning competitions in comedy and making appearances on TV, including on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Today Show, and The Late Late Show. He is a fantastic act that will have the audience falling out of their chairs with laughter.

No matter what choice you take, they are all great for your fundraising event and will give you a break to get over your burnout.

Fundraising is hard work.  But, it does not have to feel overwhelming.  Are you looking for more tips on how to make your next fundraiser a success?  How about some support from an experienced agency that can offer some hindsight to your next fundraiser?

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