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Now recognised as a chronic health condition, burnout is big in fundraising and your major gift fundraisers are particularly susceptible. Courtney Henry has some advice.


Nearly everyone has felt the touch of burnout at some stage in their career. Whether it was a time when you were overloaded with work, overwhelmed with pressures, or put in a situation where it was impossible to succeed, when these situations continue to cause stress burnout takes hold. But what about when you’re passionate about what you do, yet just can’t seem to succeed in the environment? Perhaps it’s because of uneducated leadership, a lack of support, misconceptions around fundraising (“Just go ask for it!”) or missing crucial ingredients for a major gift program. These are key complaints of major gift fundraisers around the globe, and it’s contributing to increasing rates of burnout and attrition.

According to Harvard Business Review, burnout is a special phenomenon that occurs after people expend a great deal of effort – intense to the point of exhaustion – without visible outcomes. The experience is more than just stress; people in these situations feel angry, helpless, trapped and…

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