How Can Nonprofit Professionals Practice Mindfulness?

How Can Nonprofit Professionals Practice Mindfulness?

As a nonprofit professional, you handle a variety of different responsibilities in your day-to-day work, ranging from hosting revenue-generating fundraising events to optimizing your organization’s website design. However, just because you’re working toward a good cause doesn’t mean your role isn’t stressful or even overwhelming at times. Prolonged stress will drastically reduce your enjoyment of your job and can even result in burnout.


Luckily, there are many different techniques you can incorporate to reduce the stress you feel and find greater satisfaction with your life, and one of those techniques is mindfulness. In this guide, we’ll show you that you don’t need to work at a massage business to practice mindfulness and cover a few ways to incorporate it before, during, and after your workday. Let’s dive in!

What is mindfulness and why practice it?

Mindfulness has various definitions, but it generally refers to the human ability to be fully present, and aware of where you are and what you’re doing. This includes not being overly reactive or overwhelmed by what is going on around you. When you practice mindfulness, you’re actively pulling your attention back to the present moment by acknowledging and accepting your current feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.


Practicing mindfulness provides a variety of benefits. It reduces stress, anxiety, pain, and job burnout and improves attention and sleep. This makes it a valuable practice for nonprofit professionals, as nonprofits often lack the mental health support system that businesses have, usually due to budgetary reasons. If you’ve been struggling lately, consider turning to mindfulness to keep yourself engaged in your work and keep your stress levels low.

Mindfulness Practices for Nonprofit Professionals

To help you incorporate mindfulness into your life, we’ll cover different practices you can use before, during, and after your workday.

1. Before Work

Some individuals roll out of bed, get ready for work, and then begin their commute. However, you know the value of proper preparation through your work responsibilities, such as creating a fundraising plan or marketing strategy so your campaigns can succeed. Instead of jumping straight into the workday, consider waking up slightly earlier to get ready properly. This allows you to get in touch with your feelings, thoughts, and body before the rush of work.


Here are a few mindfulness practices you can try out before work:

  • Body scan. Stay in tune with your body’s physical status and needs with a body scan. For this exercise, simply lie down, relax your body, and tune in to what you’re feeling. Assess yourself for any new aches and pains that you need to address that day.
  • Shaking. A fun way to blend movement and mindfulness, this exercise is also a great way to help yourself wake up in the morning. It’s fairly self-explanatory—just roll out of bed and shake out your entire body to help you loosen up and reduce any muscle tension.
  • Mindful eating. They say that breakfast is the important meal of the day, so give it the attention it deserves. To practice mindful eating, put away distractions like cell phones or television and concentrate solely on what you’re ingesting. Focus on the flavors, aromas, and textures of your food to stay grounded.
  • Journal. While some individuals prefer journaling as a way to end their day, it’s also feasible as a way to start your day on the right foot. Center yourself by writing down your goals for the day, noting any dreams you had the night before, or jotting down the tasks you need to complete.


For night owls who struggle to wake up early, consider incorporating one or two of these mindfulness exercises into your routine instead of all of them. For example, you could do a quick shaking exercise just after waking up and then move into mindful eating before you leave for work. The best thing to do is to pick the exercises that align with your lifestyle.

2. During Work

You’re most likely to experience stress during your workday, which makes it a great time for you to incorporate mindfulness exercises. As a nonprofit professional, you likely wear multiple hats and have to juggle many different tasks at once. This makes it difficult for you to stay present in your work, and you may even end up trapped in your head with anxious thoughts.


To avoid feeling stressed and overwhelmed, here are a few ways you can be more mindful during your workday:

  • Choose a daily priority. With a fast-paced role, you’ll have many tasks vying for your attention. However, they’re not all equally important. Every day, choose a single daily priority. This should be the most important or time-sensitive task you commit to finishing that day. After you complete it, you can move to the next task.
  • Break big tasks into smaller ones. At times, you’ll receive a large task that seems insurmountable, such as improving your nonprofit’s marketing campaigns. To make these tasks less stressful, break them down into a list of smaller tasks. For marketing campaigns, your first step might be to identify key metrics to track to help you evaluate the effectiveness of your messages.
  • Reduce distractions. Stay focused on your work responsibilities by reducing and eliminating distractions. For instance, if your desk is in a particularly noisy part of the office, invest in noise-canceling headphones. Or, if your email notifications constantly take your focus away from your other work, close your email tabs and open them when you intentionally want to check for messages.


Aside from these mindfulness practices, remember that at the end of the day, you’re only one person. Your manager might not be aware that your work is creating stress for you. In that case, consider taking a leaf out of the business industry’s book and advocate for nonprofit-specific tools that make your life easier. Similar to how a massage business might implement a massage therapy software solution, your organization can invest in a nonprofit constituent relationship management tool (CRM).


According to CharityEngine, the right nonprofit CRM should offer fundraising, payment processing, communication, and major gift management features. With an all-in-one solution, your nonprofit can save time on tasks and become more efficient, improving its capacity to help its beneficiaries. Having access to helpful tools is a win-win—you feel less stressed, and your nonprofit makes a bigger impact.

3. After Work

After a stressful day at work, it’s time to wind down and tend to your everyday responsibilities. However, it’s also important to check in with yourself and wrap up the day with self-awareness. Here are a few ways you can de-stress mindfully after work:

  • Meditation. When most people think of mindfulness, they think of meditation. Luckily, there are many different types of meditation, so you’ll likely find a style you enjoy. Some individuals like to meditate while sitting still, while others meditate while walking or doing another form of exercise. Regardless of which meditation style you choose, you can benefit from having some quiet and alone time to reflect on the day.
  • Gratitude list. Turn your thoughts toward more positive things by writing down a list of gratitudes for the day. Not only does this help you become more mindful, but it also helps you appreciate what you have and experience.
  • Hobby mindfulness. Hobbies are a great way to de-stress after a long day at work. They’re also a great way to practice mindfulness. Dancing, gardening, and doing puzzles are just a few examples of fun and rewarding hobbies that you can do to stay in the moment.


If you’re experiencing any physical symptoms of stress, this is a great time to get in tune with your body and address it. For example, if your neck has been sore recently, you might perform some stretches that target the tense muscles. Or, you could even get a medical massage to relieve pain. If you’re worried about the costs, MassageBook advises that you might be able to get massage payments partially covered by your insurance.


Regardless of your responsibilities, whether that’s highlighting your nonprofit’s mission through social media or planning your next big fundraising event, you won’t be able to perform at your best if you’re not feeling well. Taking care of yourself is crucial to being a healthy and effective working professional. With these mindfulness tips, you’ll be well on your way to a less stressful nonprofit experience.