My clients are typically non-profit organizations who serve the underserved in their communities. When they come to me for their marketing needs, they typically are experiencing a slow client growth and a fast employee/volunteer turn over. In that scenario, who is being cared for and who is providing the care?
Too often people look to a group or organization to fulfill their caring needs. Sometimes the people that are doing the serving expect that all they have to do is show up. Organizations are literally not capable of fulfilling a persons caring needs. When was the last time you poured your heart out to a building and it spoke back to you or gave you comfort? The building can be a safe place, it can hold the necessary resources, but it is incapable of providing the necessary care. The people that you serve receive their care from the individuals who are aligned with the mission of your organization. Often they are what attracted the client in the first place. So let’s imagine you have a non-profit organization that has a mission to provide mentoring to young girls who live in dysfunctional environments. You would first make sure that you have a safe place to bring them with resources and positive images. In the meantime you are also putting together your staff. So, would you then hire or allow someone to volunteer who does not understand their own self-worth or who is verbally abusive? Probably not…at least hopefully not. Why? Because that employee or volunteer is a direct representation of what your organization stands for.
People associate compassion burnout when someone is caring for an ill-patient. But compassion burnout happens across the board whether you are a parent, spouse, employee, employer, caregiver etc. That is why it is important to not only make certain that your organization is providing the external care but also that the representatives of your organization (including YOU) are well cared for too. Situations come up, things change, it is important to be intuned to those changes in your representation just like you would be intune to the changes in your building if your roof needed repair.
When you are cared for you are better equipped to authentically care for and serve others. Don’t take it for granted that self-care is being handled by your representatives. Provide in-service workshops, have one-on-one sessions with them, create a working environment where they can also receive care if necessary. By improving the care in your non-profit organization you will find that more clients will be attracted to your programs and you will have more loyal employees and volunteers that are fully engaged and able to care for others.