At Veritus, our Client Experience Leaders (CELs) work directly with over 200 mid, major and planned giving officers every week. What they’re reporting back to Richard and me is that a majority of the fundraisers they work with are extremely stressed out.
This isn’t surprising, and I’m sure you can relate. 2020 has been one tough year. Our lives have been completely disrupted. Your work with donors has not only changed dramatically in how you do that work, but there’s an added sense of urgency because of heightened revenue pressures facing your organization.
Our CELs, meeting every week with fundraisers, say that they’ve never witnessed such stress, anxiety and exhaustion. So, if you too are experiencing this, you aren’t alone. Your colleagues all over the world are feeling the weight of the pandemic and the disruption it’s caused in our daily lives.
I could sit here and write to you about all the things we can do to help alleviate this stress, but I was inspired by an article in the Harvard Business Review that Theresa Tapocsi (one of our CELs) sent me the other day on one very simple technique on breathing.
Yes, simply breathing differently can help you calm yourself and alleviate the immediate anxiety for your day, week and (according to this article) throughout the year. This technique is called SKY Breath Meditation. Here’s a quote from the article:

  • “So, what makes breathing so effective? It’s very difficult to talk your way out of strong emotions like stress, anxiety or anger. Just think about how ineffective it is when a colleague tells you to ‘calm down’ in a moment of extreme stress. When we are in a highly stressed state, our prefrontal cortex — the part of our brain responsible for rational thinking — is impaired, so logic seldom helps to regain control. This can make it hard to think straight or be emotionally intelligent with your team. But, with breathing techniques, it is possible to gain some mastery over your mind.”

I urge you to read the article and start putting the breathing techniques into practice.
As you’re well aware, we’re coming into the time of year when donors will give the most, and revenue expectations are much higher. There’s a ton of pressure on you to perform, especially if you’re working for an organization where other sources of revenue have been massively affected by the pandemic.
I’m thinking of non-profits who rely on events or corporate giving for a bulk of their revenue. Now, there is even more pressure on major gifts to help the organization weather the storm.
You can’t stop situations that make you stressful or anxious. But you can control your response to them to help you get through those stressful times. (Tweet it!)
Just breathe.