Non-Profit, humanitarian aid, and other community services are aimed at helping needy and less fortunate people. For the same reason non-profit workers derive a great sense of fulfillment and satisfaction in doing so.

However, much as the profession seems to be rewarding and motivating, it is also a significant source of stress and worries for workers.

According to a study conducted sometime back by Hannah Law of YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) – a charitable organization – despite being more emotionally engaged, non-profit employees are under more stress and burnout.

In another survey conducted through The Guardian’s professional networks, more than 3,700 people belonging to various non-profit domains like NHS, charity and NGOs took part. 93% of responded accepted that they are stressed at work either all, some, or a lot of the time.

6 Ideas on Handling Stress when Working in the Non-Profit Sector

So what are the possible causes of these elevated levels of stress in non-profit workers?

Non-profit sector workers are at risk of increased anxiety, burnout and stress given the demanding and care-driven nature of work they do. Subsequently, susceptible employees experience the cumulative effects of stress over time.

If charity organizations can’t reach their revenue goals through fundraising, they have to lay employees off and cut programs. Funding is increasingly becoming challenging in this sector with contributors tightening their budgets.

Furthermore, non-profit sector workers often go an extra mile, as well, to launch an event or run a program. So these all issues can have a knock-on effect for staff within the sector.

According to charitybackroom, the stress can also be caused when there is a mismatch between job requirements and the individual abilities; which are as follows:

  • Demands: Workers get overloaded by the amount of work or type of work
  • Control: Workers have no say over how and when they do their work
  • Support: Lack of support from various quarters
  • Relationships: Poor work relationship issues lead to increased stress
  • Role: Lack of understanding of role leads to employees’ increased anxiety
  • Change: Poor change management leads to uncertainty and insecurity.

If you are a non-profit employee and  are finding it hard to get on with your work due to stress, we have some valuable tips and tricks to handle stress effectively.

Thus, based on the above observations and facts, we have composed the following techniques.

1. Understand what is right for your physical and emotional health

Being too much busy and immersed in work round the clock, you probably are not fully aware of what you need to do to manage your stress. Whether it is eating, exercising or sleeping; you have to basically restore your energy, motivation and momentum.

Learn to understand that your health is more important, and then only you can take care of others.

So whenever you feel like you are in a quicksand, overwhelmed or drowning; just know what is right for your physical and emotional well-being.

2. Avoid working at home

Just try this one trick……Don’t work at home for one month. This is just to bring to your notice that blurring the line between your work and home life can have a heavy toll on you.

These days – with the use of technology, mobile devices and social media, you are more likely to overburden and overtire yourself by working even when you are at home. Just keep asking yourself “do I really need to do this piece of work in my own time?”

So if you are successful in doing this; you will notice the difference in your stress levels, and hopefully, you can keep it up for longer.

3. Take regular breaks

A rejuvenating and refreshing break from work can work wonders for you. Stress drains out most of your energy, time and efficiency; so going for hiking, travelling or a retreat will make you happier and refreshed.

Sometimes you should go out and do things you enjoy doing the most, enjoy your time by eating healthy snacks and vegetables. Moreover, doing meditation and mind exercises in your spare time or break time can help you combat your stress.

4. Have fun occasionally

Fun and sports activities are the biggest stress-relievers. Many nonprofit leaders and workers also effectively manage their stress during off hours by incorporating relaxing activity.

Many studies have also provided evidence that having fun after stressful work environments, lifts a person’s mood. You should often socialize with your friends, attend family functions and keep talking to people in your networking relationships.

You can organize small house parties for your close friends and use personalized wine labels that are most appropriate for the occasion.

5. Get control on your worries

Sometimes frustration increases when you see nothing really is working for you; in such a situation try to exert some control over whatever is causing the stress.

At the same time, you need to avoid your worry habits; otherwise it will increase your problem over and over.

Before a small dilemma of yours could turn into a full scale anxiety episode, set aside some time, brainstorm possible solutions, get some more perspective and then deal with your life’s uncertainties.

6. Formulate and review a self-care plan

Developing and following a self-care plan can go a long way in combating stress. With mild activities in the beginning, you can increase frequency and duration of implementation of your self-care plan, which will establish a baseline for these habits.

As a result, you will be able to enhance your health and wellbeing, manage your stress and maintain professionalism as any type of worker. So, you can incorporate the following things in your plan:

  • Develop a regular sleep routine
  • Always eat healthy diet
  • Get some exercise before/after work regularly
  • Increase relaxation and equanimity
  • Pursue your hobbies


Burnout and stress are the main pain points in charity sector, which can cause emotional and physical exhaustion to the charity workers.

The round the clock dedication by non-profit employees and volunteers in harsh conditions is taking a major toll on their health. Thus, if you are up to saving people’s lives, you need to take care of yourself first.

The above tips can be immensely helpful for you before you make the world a better place to live.

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