Signs Your Nonprofit Staff are Heading to Burnout (and you too!)

Take a breath in, then out. Your work pile just got bigger. Your board wants you to host another event, your best volunteer just left, and you’re starting to question how long you can keep this up…

For some, this doesn’t just happen once in a while. It seems like slogging through, and always being buried in a backlog, is just normal for many nonprofit leaders.

That’s why I’m anxiously counting down the days to The Digital Nonprofit 2019 conference in June! (Go here to get tickets) Beth Kanter will be presenting a keynote talk titled The Happy Healthy Nonprofit: Linking Self-Care and Wellbeing to Organizational Impact – just in time for many nonprofits who need to hear this message.

But, even through the struggle, nonprofit work is very rewarding. You still get rushes of satisfaction that keep you going. That’s why it can be hard to step back and have the awareness to contemplate if you’re burning yourself out.

But what about your staff or volunteers?

It’s much easier to work on ourselves, but what about recognizing issues with staff or volunteers?

Are you working them to the point of burn out?

Probably not intentionally. Often, the pressure of working long hours, and giving it that extra push to get it all done, sneaks out of nowhere. It’s an unwritten expectation that’s absorbed through the culture and accelerated by our own compassionate, helpful personalities.

What’s the harm in asking?

As a leader, you might have the perception that “I’m not forcing anyone to do anything. I just asked, and they jumped on the idea”.

It’s fantastic that you have such inspired employees or volunteers. However, the reason they’re working for a nonprofit is likely a desire to help others. This makes it so easy for them to say YES.

I know because I’m the same way. I used to volunteer to lead music at church. It started out occasionally, then once a month, then somebody left and I was doing it almost every week. What was initially a fun contribution, turned into an overwhelming obligation.

When I hear of a need, my immediate reaction is, “I can do something to help”. I pile on the work and tend to overload myself. The kicker? I’m totally excited to do it, so you wouldn’t know it’s even an issue!

Well, you wouldn’t know until later… I eventually had enough and dropped out of that music role completely.

So as a leader, it’s your job to help your staff recognize signs of burnout. You need to be conscious of the culture you’re creating and actively battle against it to keep your people refreshed, passionate, and productive.

In her new book, Beth Kanter revealed key signs of burnout for nonprofit fundraisers, but it also applies to you and your nonprofit staff and volunteers. Beth’s new book, The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit, co-written with Aliza Sherman, is also her inspiration for her upcoming keynote presentation at The Digital Nonprofit Conference 2019, June 11 in Vancouver.

Visit the event page to register for tickets

1st Sign: Irritation at Small (seemingly insignificant) Things

You might hear of a staff member that’s causing issues with people and getting overly frustrated at printer jams. Yes, people have bad days, but if this happens frequently, it might be time to check in with them (or check in with yourself), as burnout might be around the corner.

As Beth Kanter explains it, “every nonprofit fundraiser has to put up with some annoyances, but if you’re feeling like you’re at your wit’s end at the start of the day, you might be burning out. Left unchecked, this can evolve into angry outbursts and serious arguments both at home and at work.”

2nd Sign: Frequent Distractions and Lack of Focus

This can be a bit hard to recognize in others, and it can also have multiple causes, but when you’re getting overworked and stressed, an obvious symptom can be distractions. You end up finding yourself, or your staff, seeking out more chit chat than usual. Or those phones are out frequently, and Facebook is on the computer screen more often than usual. When productivity is dropping like this it could be from feeling so overworked that sitting down to pick 1 task out of the 100 seems impossible. Finding distractions is much easier.

3rd Sign: Feeling Sluggish and Tired Despite Sleeping Well

Again there can be a variety of reasons that your staff could seem tired, and to uncover this sign you probably need to start having conversations with people. Begin by asking them questions with genuine concern about their health and their sleep. Ruling these out will help you determine if this is a sign of burnout – or simply just a cold that won’t go away.

If you feel you’re too close to the situation, try asking other colleagues about the employees in question. Often people are more comfortable chatting to people who are not their direct boss.

4th Sign: Consistently Working Overtime

This can be a difficult one because if it’s a reality, it’s usually because there is work that NEEDS to be done, right? Well, that might be the case, but if you or your staff are constantly working overtime, it means they’re not refreshing.

Former FBI agent, Chris Voss, says that people are up to 30% smarter when they’re in a positive frame of mind. I would say relaxation and time with family and friends helps you to be in a positive frame of mind. So you can do the math on how productivity and performance would be dragged down by being overworked.

Get Back a Healthy Workplace

Of course, this doesn’t apply to just your staff, it’s your volunteers, it’s your board, and it’s you too. We’re all susceptible to getting burnt out. These signs don’t always result in quitting, but it can lead to a lot of contagious negativity in the workplace, poor health, and a drain of resources.

So next time you’re saying hi to an employee, skipping your lunch, or getting frustrated at nothing. Think about Beth’s 4 warning signs of burnout. Once identified, then you can dive deeper and take action.

If you’d like to dive deeper into this topic, come hang out with NetSquared, Beth Kanter, Vu Le, and over 200 other nonprofit leaders at The Digital Nonprofit Conference 2019.

Register for tickets today (limited availability for early bird pricing!)

Technology Planning for Nonprofits

Technology Planning for Nonprofits

00:00 / 42:58

The technology planning process can be overwhelming, especially for those without any technical background. Where do you start? What are your priorities? How do you fund them?

In this audio recording from Net2van’s March 5 meetup Fully Managed walks you through the process of building a technology plan and how to find a Managed Service Provider.

If you need some visuals you can watch the video or view the slides.

Slides and Video: Introduction to Technology Planning for Nonprofits

The technology planning process can be overwhelming, especially for those without any technical background. Where do you start? What are your priorities? How do you fund them?

In this recording from Net2van’s March 5 meetup Fully Managed walks you through the process of building a technology plan and how to find a Managed Service Provider.




A HUGE thanks to our amazing community partners and sponsors. Give them love! Spend 💵with them!

Call for Session Proposals for The Digital Nonprofit 2019

We are now accepting submissions for speakers at The Digital Nonprofit conference, a conference for Vancouver’s nonprofit leaders.

Who You Are

Our conference is targeted at nonprofit leaders, and our presenters will come from the same background. Specifically, we are looking for nonprofit employees, board members, or volunteers to present.

We encourage all to submit, especially those from under-represented groups. We want to showcase the full diversity of Vancouver.

Who Attends the Conference?

  • Nonprofit leaders who are responsible for their organization’s strategy. 62% are decision makers: EDs/CEOs/Directors/Managers
  • Digital staff and fundraisers who execute online campaigns
  • Program and support staff who want to engage their clients and members using technology

What We Want in a Session

The conference goal is to build the digital strategy expertise of nonprofit leaders. Sessions should focus on practical case studies sharing the stories of how nonprofits (especially your own organization!) implemented a technology-based solution and the impact it made on their operations and campaigns.

Topics could include (but aren’t limited to)

  • CRM (Constituent and fundraising databases)
  • Automation and workflows
  • Website development
  • Campaign innovations
  • Integrated fundraising
  • Volunteer management
  • Human Resources
  • Digital marketing and social media
  • Change management and technology adoption
    • “Why IT projects fail, and what you can do about it”

Avoid these approaches

  • Product-specific sessions
  • Overly-technical sessions – most people will not come from an IT background.

Session Details

  • The conference is Tuesday, June 11. 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • The sessions are 25 minutes in length. We are recruiting for five sessions.
  • The conference is single track. All 225 attendees will be in the same room
  • A variety of formats are encouraged and audience interactivity is strongly recommended.
  • Submitting with a co-presenter is welcomed
  • The room is set up with a front stage, podium, projector screen, and PA.
  • No honorarium is offered to presenters, but we may be able to help cover travel costs.

How Will Conference Sessions be Determined?

Submissions are open until March 31, 2019.

The Digital Nonprofit team will review all proposals by April 5 and will get back to you with an update by April 15, 2019.
Questions? Email [email protected]

And finally the form!

(Links to videos, testimonials, or tell us about your prior experience)

Get Help With Your Digital Marketing Projects from RED Academy


RED Academy students create websites, apps and digital marketing strategies for social impact organizations and entrepreneurs with a vision to make the world a better place! RED students have worked for over 600 partner organizations and generated over $4 million value in pro bono work.

 If you are interested in becoming a RED community partners, please contact [email protected] or submit an application through:

Digital Marketing Projects

Our Digital Marketing students will work with you to assess your goals, analyze your site performance and build a comprehensive multi-channel digital marketing strategy to achieve those goals. By the end of the project, you will receive the following: 

• Website audit
• Search Engine Optimization (SEO) audit and strategy
• Social Media audit and strategy
• Content strategy
• Google AdWords campaign ad strategy and forecasting 

• Social ad strategy and forecasting
• Final presentation
• Strategy report 

February 19: Maximize your free $10,000/month grant – Nonprofit Google Grant Workshop

Imagine what $10,000/month of Google Ads could do for your nonprofit.

With proper optimization and setup, this 10k in ads could help you recruit more volunteers, attract more donations and share your story with a wider audience by reaching people who are searching for nonprofits like yours.

Feb 19 – free workshop on Google Ad Grants for Nonprofits

Join Digital Hospitality for an afternoon focused on helping you learn how to maximize your free $10,000/month Google Grant. You’ll not only learn what you need to know about Google Ads but you’ll also be able to ask questions and review your account with our certified Google Ads Account Strategist.

Additionally, the nonprofits in attendance will have a chance to be selected and provided with 2 free months of of Google Ads coaching & support.

During this workshop, you’ll receive one-on-one and group consulting to learn:

  • How to get started
  • How to structure ad campaigns
  • Which specific Google Ads tools to use
  • How to set up detailed tracking
  • How to use ads data to achieve your goals
  • How to maximize conversions over time

Date: February 19th 2019
Time: 1pm – 4pm
Location: Hotel Blu 2nd floor Conference Room
Address: 177 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2A8
What to bring:
This is a hands-on workshop. Bring your laptop and be sure you can log in to your Google Ads account (if you have one) & Google Analytics for your website.

About Digital Hospitality

Digital Hospitality specializes in helping organizations achieve their goals online through maximizing online conversions. The workshop will be run by our Google Ads Strategists who have managed more than 25 million in campaigns for the likes of Warner Music, CBC, Rogers Communications, Alpha and others.

April 12: Donation & Landing Page Certification Workshop

April 12: Donation & Landing Page
Certification Workshop

Net2van friend Brady Josephson is bringing a Donation & Landing Page Certification Workshop to Vancouver!If you’re wanting to raise more money online, asked if your donation page is good or could be better, or wondered how you can grow your email list then this workshop is for you. Through this full-day workshop, you will…

  • Know how to craft, implement, and optimize the 3 essential types of donation pages
  • Be able to create a high converting landing page for email acquisition offers to grow your email list
  • Get a workshop binder with notes to take home and reference
  • Have the chance to get your donation and landing pages optimized by the workshop instructors
  • Learn what other nonprofit fundraisers and digital marketers are doing, struggling, having success, etc.
  • Receive a NextAfter certification seal
  • Be eligible for 4 CFRE points/credits

What makes these workshops unique is that every single idea you’ll hear has been tested and proven with major nonprofit organizations, and is backed up by data and research from our library of over 1,300 experiments. You can learn more at and be sure to use the discount code NET2VAN to save $100.

The Digital Nonprofit 2019

The Digital Nonprofit logo.

Vancouver’s Online Strategy Conference for Nonprofit Leaders

Whether you’re in the midst of digital transformation, struggling to keep up with new tech in online communications, or are looking for  strategies that work today to grow your nonprofit, The Digital Nonprofit is the place for you to be this June.

This all-day conference is Vancouver’s premier event for nonprofit and charity leaders, where over 200 local professionals come together to discuss how we can all learn and support each other to fulfill our missions.

Through This All-Day Event You’ll Get To:

  • Build new relationships with over 200 other nonprofit and charity professionals
  • Learn digital strategies and tactics through 7 speaker presentations that you can bring back to your nonprofit teams
  • Learn from practical case studies from nonprofit leaders who will share the tactics they’re using to truly engage online with their members (an increasingly difficult task)
  • Expand your thinking through a series of short “Lightning Talks” throughout the day
  • Enjoy a fully-catered lunch and drink as much coffee as you want!
  • Network at our after-party immediately following the conference (drinks included!)
  • BONUS, attend a hands-on digital marketing workshop by Beth Kanter the following day (space is limited, reserve now).

Keynote Presenters:

Vu Le

Envisioning the Future Charitable Sector

Vu Le headshot in circle

Given everything happening in the world, the nonprofit/charitable sector continues to play an urgent and critical role. But we face many challenges to fulfilling our full potential. What does the ideal sector look like? How will we get there? What are sacred cows we must let go? Join Vu for a no-BS presentation filled with pictures of baby animals.

Vu Le is the Executive Director of Rainier Valley Corps, a Seattle nonprofit that promotes social justice by developing leaders of color, strengthening organizations led by communities of color, and fostering collaboration between diverse communities. Known for his pointed observations delivered with a sense of humor, Vu has been featured in dozens, if not hundreds, of his own blog posts, found at, formerly

Beth Kanter

The Happy Healthy Nonprofit: Linking Self-Care and Wellbeing to Organizational Impact

Beth Kanter headshot in circle

This keynote is about how and why it is important to treat self-care and a culture of well-being as an organizational strategy and cultural norm. When self-care initiatives are treated as “extras” instead of being built right into the fabric of an organization’s culture or leadership does not model the behavior, they often fall flat.

Beth will share the latest thinking on self-care and well-being in the nonprofit workplace based on her book “The Happy Healthy Nonprofit: Strategies for Impact without Burnout.” Going beyond a narrow focus on physical health and wellness, she will share examples and insights from nonprofits that have created and implemented a culture of well-being in the workplaces that supports results.

Beth Kanter is an internationally recognized thought leader in networks, social media, philanthropy, wellbeing in the workplace and training.  Beth has over 35 years working in the nonprofit sector in capacity building and has facilitated trainings for thousands of social change activists and nonprofits on every continent in the world.

More Presenters:

Yasmine Abu-Ayyash

How to Create a Tech Plan for Your Nonprofit and Win OVer Your Board

Does your nonprofit need major upgrades in tech? Where do you start and how do you get your tech infrastructure up to date on a tight timeline and budget? This presentation will show you the steps you can take to develop a tech plan for your nonprofit, so that your nonprofit can better identify its organizational needs, make the most of the tech already available, and plan for future tech investments.

We’ll show you how with the right tech plan, you can make effective use of tech to impact your nonprofit’s mission and increase transparency in your achieving your strategic goals. Best of all, we’ll share tips on how to get your board on board with investing in your tech pan.

Yasmine Abu-Ayyash is the Communications Coordinator at TechSoup Canada and is responsible for crafting resources and materials that support nonprofits in using tech to more effectively pursue their missions.

Chris Brandt

Social Media from the Top: Why nonprofit leaders need an online voice

Chris Brandt, former ED of Music Heals, shares best practices for stewarding relationships and raising money with social media.

Social Media isn’t just your first point of contact with current and prospective donors, volunteers, and the media – it’s often the only one. The risk of not talking is that no one knows that you exist. How would you evaluate your organization’s presence on social media? Are you involved in the conversation, either through the org’s channels or your own? You can’t be seen until you learn how to see.

Chris Brandt is the founder of Charity Agency, which helps businesses increase their charitable impact and helps charities improve their business. His background includes over 20 years in the music industry and 6 years as a nonprofit Executive Director, where he built a foundation from conception to directing over $1m in program funding in under 5 years.

Kimberly Shearon

The Tao of Integrated Campaigns

It seems that integrated campaigns are all the buzz these days. But what does “integration” even mean, how do you do it, and why bother with it? Ecojustice’s Kimberly Shearon shares three big lessons her team learned (the hard way) from its foray into the world of integrated campaigns. Also, pop culture references.

Kimberly is Director of Strategic Communications at Ecojustice, Canada’s largest environmental law charity. She was born and raised on Vancouver’s North Shore, where she dreamed of becoming a journalist and changing the world. After a five-year foray out east for university and bouncing around some of the country’s top newsrooms, she turned in her media pass and joined the Ecojustice team. It has proven to be the perfect home for her and her love of em dashes, bicycles and wandering through the woods.

With so much packed into one day, have you wondered about how you’ll be able to capture all your learnings? Don’t worry, we have something special planned to help you capture insights, and use them when you get back to work. Join us this year and find out.


Beth Kanter – Nonprofit Digital Marketing Strategy: The Secret Sauce

WORKSHOP with Beth Kanter – Nonprofit Digital Marketing Strategy: The Secret Sauce

Beth Kanter will be hosting a workshop for organizations wanting to invest in improving their digital strategy. This hands-on workshop will be limited to 75 attendees.

Social media, mobile phone adoption, new digital payment methods, bots … there are so many digital channels for nonprofit markers to engage and connect with people, and convert them to live long supporters. But with so many free and low-cost tools out there, how do you decide where to invest your time and resources for the most impact? How do you quickly and easily test those decisions to improve results?

This interactive workshop will help nonprofit markers boost their digital strategy using a simple canvas, “Ready, Set, Go,” that will allow them to quickly develop and test a strategy that connects with your audience. This workshop is highly participatory, using hands-on methods and will draw from design thinking methods. It will focus on strategy, not tactics.


We are grateful to our community partners for their support. Give them your love and spend money with them!

Would you love to come, but finding it hard to get the funds together? Care2 has partnered with Net2Van to provide 5 tuition scholarships to attend.

Nonprofit Tech Trends for Vancouver Nonprofits

Where should nonprofits focus their attention in 2019?

Net2van’s January meetup was a smörgåsbord sampler of #Tech4Good trends. This fast-paced evening of Ignite-style 5 minute mini-presentations shared the trends, tools, and techniques charities should explore to create more impact.

Rob Cottingham – Trust as the Killer App in the Age of Fake

Brady Josephson – Third Party Giving


Kyle Thom – Video and Chat Tools to Advance Your Engagement Cycle


Shoni Field – Blurring of the Lines Between Phone and Online; Getting Serious About Digital Lead Generation


Jeff Harrison – AI and Machine Learning Trends for Nonprofits


Jessica Macleod – How to Effectively Use Instagram Stories


Matthew Pattinson – Uncovering Big Ideas That Matter With the Lean Canvas


Daryl Hatton – the Market Shift From Major Donations to Micro-Donations and From Macro-Projects to Micro-Projects


Ash Kumar – Explore Micro-Communities in 2019


A HUGE thanks to our amazing community partners and sponsors. Give them love! Spend 💵with them!