Survivor’s guilt and other ways the collective trauma we’ve endured may show up

[Image description: Some type of tunnel, with an opening at the end leading outside and light streaming in. It looks industrial, old, and metallic. Image by PixLord on Pixabay]

A few years ago, I discovered a personal pattern: Anytime that I had five or more consecutive days off, I would immediately get sick the first three days. Talking to other nonprofit leaders, I found out it was not unusual. It’s as if our bodies were so busy dealing with one crisis after another at our jobs that we just didn’t have time to get sick, and it catches up to us all at once when we have a moment to breathe.

Last week was the inauguration of US President Biden and Vice President Harris. I don’t think any of us believe that having a new US president will instantly solve everything. White supremacy and injustice will not end just because there’s a new administration. But this change at least allows us a moment to catch our breath, to take a break, and maybe get out of survival mindset long enough to assess how to best move forward.

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Tips, with pictures of baby animals, to help you deal with election anxiety

[Image description: A little light brown baby bunny with tiny ears. Image by kadres on Pixabay]

Hi everyone, before we get into today’s post, I’ll be having a conversation with the amazing Crystal Hayling, executive director of the Libra Foundation, next week November 10th at 1pm Pacific. We’re calling it “2020 Philanthropy Debrief AF” and will be discussing the good, bad, and ugly of foundations’ response to the pandemic, protests, elections, etc., as well as what we hope to see in 2021. It’s FREE and it’ll be fun and informal. Register here. [Updated from earlier link]

[Image description: An adorable little grey and black kitten! They’re looking directly at the camera with big eyes and a little pink nose! Aw. Image by helgaka on Pixabay]

The elections culminate this week, and if you’re in the US and care about democracy, chances are you are as anxious as I am. I’ve been unable to sleep. I’ve been eating way too much chocolate while doomscrolling on Twitter. I’ve been picking at my face! There is just so much at stake. If you’re feeling the same way, you’re not alone. So here are a few tips to endure the next few days, combined with pictures of baby animals. This is not to make light of what’s in front of us. I just can’t focus enough to write something more hard-hitting, and I’m not sure anyone wants a serious post.

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It’s OK to feel like crap right now

[Image description: A person, wearing a face mask, sitting on a bench, next to a large window. It looks like they may be on a train.The window overlooks some buildings and mountains in the distance. Image by wphoto on Pixabay.com]

Hi everyone, before I get into this week’s topic, thank you to the 2,700+ colleagues who attended last week’s Community-Centric Fundraising launch event, “Let’s Make Fundraising Less Racist!” The excitement was so much that we crashed several websites. If you missed it, here’s the recording. And check out the CCF website, communitycentricfundraising.org. Meanwhile, this week on 7/24 at 12:30pm Pacific Time we have another free event, Data Says: What BIPOC Fundraisers Have Known for Years, where evaluator and CCF leadership team member Anna Rebecca Lopez will present the results of the Fundraising Perception Survey, which over 2,000 people took. See you there.

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I was looking at my list of topics to write about, and honestly, this week I’m just really tired. I know many of you are too. It has been a horrible year. And now Congressman John Lewis just died, another light gone when the night seems interminable and our democracy so tenuous. I don’t know how much more we can all handle. At the beginning of the pandemic, I wrote “Things are not normal. It’s OK to not be OK.” I did not anticipate, though, how much worse it would get for the world, for our sector, for all of us.

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Things are not normal. It’s OK to not be OK.

[Image description: A cute light-brown bulldog, lying on the ground, facing the camera, looking sad. This bulldog is all of us right now. Pixabay.com]

Hi everyone. It has been a long couple of weeks. I don’t think many of us have experienced anything like this before. We’ve weathered awful things as a society, but this is something else, a threat not just to our physical health, but our livelihoods, our way of being, our groundedness, and our optimism for the future. It even threatens the one thing we could always count on during these challenging times: Our proximity to one another and our sense of community.

I have been trying to breathe and remain calm, not add to the chaos, and be helpful where I can. But it’s been tricky. Schools here in Seattle have been out. The days blend into one another as my partner and I try to figure out how to homeschool our six-and-four-year-olds. Or at least keep them occupied enough that they don’t burn the house down. They seem to be fine at this moment, but I know that as this progresses, it will hit them that things are not normal, that everything is out of balance.

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We need to stop joking about the sad state of retirement security in nonprofit. It’s no longer funny.

[Image description: An exhausted cat sleeping with their head on a wooden platform. They are white with some gray hair on their head, and pink ears. Their eyes are closed. I wonder if they’re dreaming. Do cats dream? Excuse me while I spend the next hour googling whether research has been done regarding whether and which animals dream. Pixabay.com]

A couple of weeks ago, I asked the NAF Facebook community, “What are creative ways you are thinking of in terms of retirement? Me, collecting kitchen gadgets in hope that these cherry pitter and pickle grabber etc., will appreciate in value!” The comments that came back were hilarious, because this is a group of brilliant, witty, and extremely good-looking folks. Here are a few:

  • “I intend to die in whatever museum I’m working in, and have my corpse be mistaken for part of the exhibit program. Until a century later, when an intern is cleaning they figure out that I’m that curator who disappeared. It’s the price of fame.”
  • “Dumpster dive former board members homes.”
  • “Relying on my love of the outdoors, because I’ll be living in a tent. When I’m ready to die, it’ll be with honor- just wandering into the forest and letting the coyotes eat me.”
  • “I plan on selling black market pies at the train station. Not kidding. I make excellent pie.”
  • “Work until I die – in debt”
  • “Commune / small house community with all of the other women I know who gave their best years to the cause and never got enough in salary or retirement benefits to be able to “plan” for retirement.”
  • “I feel like Pokémon will still being a thing in like 40 years, so hopefully I can sell the cards that I hoarded in 1999 to help make the student loan payments I’ll have until I die.”
  • “I’ve thought about dying at my desk”
  • “Counting on society to totally collapse before then, so currency and debt will be meaningless.”
  • “I plan on dying on the phone line, most likely in the middle of an ask.”
  • “My retirement plan is climate change and/or the total collapse of late stage capitalism.”
  • “I will die in my broken office chair.”
Continue reading “We need to stop joking about the sad state of retirement security in nonprofit. It’s no longer funny.”