AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

BlogSupporting Nonprofit Employees’ Mental Health

Subscribe to AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

Nonprofit employee experiencing mental health breakdown.

Supporting Nonprofit Employees’ Mental Health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. The pandemic and economic downturn this decade have increased awareness of the widespread mental health crisis in children to adults. The National Institute of Mental Health reports one in five U.S. adults — 57.8 million — live with a mental illness.

Stress and Mental Health

Nonprofit employee experiencing mental health breakdown.

Stress and mental health have been a concern for many professionals in the nonprofit sector. The work often requires long hours and the need to perform multiple job roles due to short staffing and low operating budgets. Professional fundraisers and nonprofit CEOs may feel additional pressure to raise critical funds to keep programs and operations sustainable. These conditions lead to more staff turnover than for-profit organizations. According to a MarketSmart report in 2022, the average time a new fundraiser is in a position is 16 months and half of all development directors plan to leave their current role in two years or less.

Stress and mental health issues negatively impact a nonprofit’s mission and fundraising activities. According to GiveButter, studies estimate losing an employee can cost 1.5 – 2 times the employee’s salary through loss of institutional knowledge and the process of hiring and training new staff. Reduction in current and future revenue may also be considered as fundraising activities may become stalled as donors are not actively cultivated, solicited and stewarded during staffing transitions.

Strategies To Reduce Employee Burnout and Staff Turnover

  • Offer flexibility. Often nonprofit employees need to work weekend and evening hours to perform job duties. In exchange, provide employees the opportunity to take time off during the regular workday to tend to personal appointments and self-care without expending their Paid Time Off.
  • Implement and promote an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Establishing and encouraging employees to utilize EAP services can relieve mental stress on the job giving employees an outlet to talk in a confidential setting.
  • Foster work-life balance. Managing events in one’s personal and professional life can be challenging. When able, avoid scheduling work meetings or events that run into employees’ personal time outside of regular business hours.
  • Balance the workload. Particularly for those in leadership positions, employees may feel as if all the work needs to fall upon them. Review job tasks and reassign duties to others who may not feel so overwhelmed. Give employees the opportunity to delegate duties to another team member or volunteer. This also gives less-seasoned employees the chance to learn more advanced duties and gain greater experience.
  • Provide employees with the time and resources for personal and professional development. Morale increases when employees feel the organization is investing in them, whether it’s attending training to acquire new skills or a discounted gym membership to feel healthier. Additionally, provide employees with resources that may reduce duplication of administrative tasks such as project management tools or AI software that may already be embedded in your donor database. These tools can help employees work more efficiently and allow the development officer more time to meet with donors. Projects such as website maintenance or newsletter writing and design may also be outsourced to an agency. This gives employees the opportunity to focus more on other tasks.

AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising is a comprehensive marketing agency supporting nonprofits with fundraising consulting services, website development, graphic design, and print and digital marketing strategies. To learn more about how AMPERAGE can support your team, contact Jennifer Rubel at or 319-268-9151.

Written by:

Melissa provides fundraising counsel for AMPERAGE’s nonprofit clients, leading feasibility studies and providing solutions that drive successful fundraising campaign results. A Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), she uses her experience and extensive skill set to continually advance her fundraising practices and develop campaign-specific strategies, materials and training to help clients reach their campaign goals and advance their mission. Melissa has vast experience working in the nonprofit sector, having served in development and leadership roles with Sisters of Mercy and the Alzheimer’s Association. In addition, she has served as a volunteer and board member with local nonprofits, such as the Catherine McAuley Center. Faith-based organizations and causes are of particular interest to Melissa. Melissa moves the needle by always looking for new opportunities and ways to improve professionally. She is currently president of the Eastern Iowa Planned Giving Council and a past president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals-Eastern Iowa Chapter. Melissa holds a Master of Strategic Leadership degree from Mount Mercy University. This busy professional, wife and mother enjoys sports and live music in her free time. A fan of Cubs baseball and Iowa Hawkeye football, Melissa and family enjoy football tailgating, where she’s known for her breakfast burritos. She enjoys the local band scene but says a Foo Fighters concert is her all-time favorite.