studying cultures of well-being at nonprofits
We're running a research study with 60 nonprofit workers, helping them manage stress with short-term, self-chosen resources for their bodies, minds and workteams. From classes to coaching to gear, participants are using and evaluating physical, mental, and team health tools over six months.
The D.C. Nonprofit Wellness Pilot is designed as a targeted, dynamic learning project to identify how the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors can: 1) boost worker health, 2) support recruitment, productivity and retention, and 3) build office cultures of well-being and teamwork to better support their missions.
THIS IS NOT A PUBLIC PROJECT but you can peek in the window. Nearly 100 folks applied; 60 are participating (see groups below). Our cohort is 82% female, 65% people of color, 52% make under $75K, 30% are fundraisers and 22% have an invisible disability or chronic illness.
We started in September 2018, when participants chose their "team health" and then "individual health" benefits. We are evaluating impact on individuals as well as their groups. The Pilot concludes on Feb 28, 2019 and we are currently raising funds to do qualitative assessment (interviews and focus groups) to complement online surveys of participants.
Many jobs are hard, but nonprofit, world-changing jobs in DC add special challenges. Long hours are common. Low pay is expected. Frustration is rampant. Nonprofit workers tend to neglect their physical and mental health, putting aside personal needs to care for others. More stress translates to higher cortisol levels and inevitable health problems.
Lately, nonprofit life has gotten even more difficult. Office financial insecurity from fundraising gaps. Home financial insecurity from our paychecks. Greater demand for nonprofit services. Daily attacks on social change. The barrage on our mental health is endless, and invisible.
We world-changers don't do much to protect against burnout. We haven't caught up to the corporate/tech world in offering anything beyond basic health insurance. Without support, it's difficult to replenish our depleted intellect, creativity, stamina and joy.
This pilot looks at how physical and mental health tools affect individuals, teams, and organizations.
Professional evaluators will survey and interview pilot participants & the business/wellness providers who donate.
At the organization level, we seek to impact retention, productivity, recruitment and joy.
Overall, and over time, we seek to support a culture of well-being at every nonprofit.
We are collecting information, including names, so that we may follow up directly with each individual to assist them in meeting their wellness goals. Our program upholds strong privacy standards. We will not share any individual information, including email, with any third-party individuals. We will be using some data in the aggregate, such as how many people are interested in a class or product, so that we can show businesses the value of stocking our webstore with wellness benefits. Never will names be associated with these summary numbers.
Our 60-person cohort represents the following 12 organizations:
The Advancement Project,
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance,
First Focus, Florida House DC,
Free Minds Book Club,
German Marshall Fund of the U.S.,
Justice Policy Institute,
Nat'l Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda,
Nat'l Latina Institute for Reproductive Health,
Reading Partners DC,
Tahirih Justice Center, UndocuBLACK
Please contact us, especially if you have something to contribute to the webshop.
Let us know your thoughts and practices -- we need collaborative solutions to this tenacious problem.
Building cultures of well-being (in the nation's capital and beyond)
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare.”