Giving Compass’ Take:
• Kris Putnam-Walkerly explores the factors that contribute to donors feeling overwhelmed and how to address it.
• Are you feeling overwhelmed? How do you push through to make an impact in your giving?
• Read about giving in challenging times.
A serious, but largely overlooked, problem in philanthropy is feeling overwhelmed. You know what I’m talking about. You might have woken up this morning feeling overwhelmed by the day ahead of you. You may feel overwhelmed by learning to use new technology, while suddenly working from home and homeschooling your children. Or you might be overwhelmed because you don’t have a clear strategy, so you and your team aren’t sure how to focus your efforts when everything seems to have changed overnight.
What is overwhelm? According to wellness writer Michelle Rees, “Overwhelm happens when the sheer volume of thoughts, feelings, tasks and stimuli in our daily environment shifts our brain and nervous system into a reactive, stressed state.” The result? Easy things become hard and hard things become impossible.
Toss in the global COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed!
In my experience, philanthropists experience six distinct types of overwhelm. As you read the list, jot down how many of these you’ve experienced in the past year.
- Are you overwhelmed by the world’s problems?
- Are you overwhelmed finding a cause to support?
- Are you overwhelmed by choices?
- Are you overwhelmed by taking action?
- Are you overwhelmed by change?
- Are you overwhelmed by lack of time?
How many types of overwhelm did you experience in the past year? In the past month?
As odd as it seems, overwhelm often comes more from our minds than from the physical world. We actually contribute to feeling overwhelmed by wearing it like a badge of honor (and bragging about how busy we are), setting unrealistic expectations, lacking a strategy (or a plan to execute our strategy), and not investing in technology or advisors who can help us.
Don’t let feeling overwhelmed hold you back from changing the world. We need talented philanthropists just like you to step up, take risks, and make a difference. The world needs you. Your community needs you. Let’s go!
Read the full article about feeling overwhelmed by Kris Putnam-Walkerly at Putnam Consulting Group.