ONEplace Blog

News, comments, resources, and more for nonprofits.

Stress-Buster Tips and Tools

Yesterday, December 7, at the New ED Network meeting attendees discussed tools and practices they use to de-stress, organize, prioritize, and juggle demands as they go through their busy days. Especially at this time of year, activities and year-end demands within organizations actively compete with community and family activities and responsibilities. Days can seem overwhelming at times.

Everyone left with several more tools in their tool bags -- suggestions that can help any time of year!

  • See the world around you a different way, every day: take a new route to and from work; turn right instead of left; note an interesting house or new business, watch kids playing in a school yard.
  • Use different modes of transportation: bus, bike, walk, drive, car pool. The variation in time and routes is another way to learn about the community and see the world anew.
  • Play calming background music, softly, in your office.
  • Shut the door for five minutes once or twice a day for a ‘peace of mind’ time-out.
  • Take a 15-minute walking break midway through the day; look for new things in the environment, changes in the weather, etc.
  • Start the day with exercise and mental focus activities: prayer, meditation, etc.
  • Hang a picture in your office that ‘takes you away’ to a favorite spot in the world. Gaze at it as a relaxation focus.
  • When needing to write or be creative, turn off overhead and other bright lights; focus on the computer or specific work area.
  • Post inspirational quotes and sayings around your office/desk; read them often.
  • Practice ‘brain dumping’ regularly to empty your brain of everything on your mental to-do list; reduce activities to exact steps.
  • Prioritize activities that can realistically be done in a period of time and stick to it. Don’t respond to requests not associated with those priorities. If ‘emergencies’ come into the day, re-prioritize within the current time period so expectations are achievable.
  • Set a specific time when you will read/review/respond to emails and phone calls. Don’t respond in ‘real time’ when it interrupts your priorities.
  • Determine the best time of day for you to do certain tasks: writing, planning, responding to emails/calls; holding meetings.
  • Proactively set meetings for your most productive times.
  • Don’t take work home; don’t bring home to work.
  • Lots of sticky notes and lists; reward completed activities by ‘checking them off the list.’
  • Review all email content before sending to be sure it ‘reads right’ for the receiver.
  • Clarify ‘how you work’ with those you work with: board, staff, volunteers, etc. so expectations and accountabilities are clear.
  • Define a ‘work plan’ for a specific period (ex. 3 months, 6 months) and ‘work the plan.’
  • Choose foods and beverages that keep your blood sugar and hunger levels consistent through the day. 

Hope you find a few ideas that will help you ease stress, stay focused, and do your best work. Let us know your tools and tips and we’ll add them to the list.

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ONEplace Nonprofit Roundtables
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Fundraising on the Internet

Do you solicit donations using an e-letter, email, or have a “Donate Now” button on your website or social media page? According to the IRS website, your organization is required to register with most state agencies before soliciting the state’s residents for contributions. Not all states require a solicitation license. However, those that do can often request additional information such as financial reports and other documents pertaining to fundraising activities.

Because online fundraising is rather new, individual state regulations concerning online fundraising are in a perpetual state of flux. The most up-to-date state regulations are available at the National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO) website. The NASCO has attempted to make the filing process easier by creating the Unified Registration Statement. The Unified Registration Statement (URS) is an alternative to filing all of the respective registration forms produced by each of the cooperating states. You can obtain a list of cooperating states and their requirements for filing by visiting The Unified Registration Statement website. The website walks you through the process of filling out the URS, lists each individual state’s requirements including where to send the registration packet for each state.

The article, New 990 Makes Nonprofit Fundraising Registration Unavoidable by Joanne Fritz has some good advice and helpful tips on how to start the process of registering.

The process of registering with different states can be time consuming, even with the URS. Some organizations choose to contract with third parties to take care of the filing. As always, if you have access to a nonprofit attorney, consult them before undertaking any on-line fundraising campaign. To find out more about on-line fundraising, visit the GuideStar article On-Line Fundraising: Some Do’s and Don’ts.

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On-Line Fundraising: Some Do’s and Don’ts
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http://www2.guidestar.org/rxa/news/articles/2003/on-line-fundraising-some-dos-and-donts.aspx?articleId=881
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