by Christine Schaefer, VP of Community and Marketing
In 2012, I attended a couple of different training conferences - Web of Change and the 2012 Salsa Community Conference. I observed one big similarity between those two events: attendees got more than just knowledge, they got re-energized about their causes.
In the business-world, when I would attend training conferences, I saw people getting excited about the new things they were learning and sharing their challenges with peers. But, in the nonprofit-world, training conferences do so much more than that. Look at the pics of participants at the 2012 Salsa Community Conference or at the Web of Change. There’s something in their eyes. Hope. Energy. Confidence.
For so many of us in the nonprofit space, this is a CRAZY time of year. Fundraisers are scrambling to take advantage of year-end giving. Organizers are rallying support around some pretty important issues before legislators go out of session for the holiday. It is hard to imagine taking a moment for yourself to breathe, let alone attend a webinar or, heaven forbid, a training conference.
I challenge you that if you don’t plan time to take care of yourself, you are doing a disservice to your cause.
If there is one thing I have learned as a Mom, it is that I am a better Mom when I take care of myself, get rest to do what is needed to help them grow, and demonstrate to my kids how important taking care of yourself is to the ones you love. But, in all my work with nonprofits, I didn’t apply that same philosophy. It was always push, push, push...don’t let up on progress. Now, older and wiser, I am thinking it is important to take care of myself to be a better supporter of my causes.
But, how? How do we find the time to refill our hope, energy and confidence?
What do I do? I schedule it.
I recently made a pact with my husband that vacations - big or small - would be a regular part of our schedule - ones with kids, one with just us and sometimes by ourselves. We schedule them well in advance now. And, I am applying that to my professional and volunteer life as well. I have appointments on my calendar to read an educational article every day. I have appointments on my calendar for webinars or online training once per week that I adamantly refuse to move unless I absolutely can find no other way around it. And, finally I make sure I get AWAY to a training conference (1/2 day, 1 day or multi-day depending on what I can afford time/money) at least once per year.
You may not be able to imagine taking time for training, education or networking with peers right now, but can you at least schedule it for next month or sometime next year?
Now, you may have seen us talking about the 2013 Salsa Community Conference. And, you may be thinking I am saying all this just to convince you to come. Well, you are right. I am. Because it is important. Because I want to see you there. And, I want a picture of you with that same Hope, Energy and Confidence in your eyes that I talked about above. Our causes are worth it.
Expect to see more blogs here on the importance of training, continuing education and self-care to your cause. I am hoping to gather research (i.e. data) that proves my hypothesis. If you know of any studies, please let me know so I can share them with the community. I want to give everyone the resources they need to convince themselves, their peers and their leaders that scheduling time for training, professional development and self-care are crucial to success.
To put a twist on Rod Tidwell’s famous quote in Jerry Maguire: Help Yourself, Help Others.
Next time: A Webinar a Day (or Month) Keeps the Doctor Away