[NPFX Ep. 46] How to Prevent Nonprofit Staff Burnout and Create a Culture of Wellness (with Dr. Evisha Ford)

nonprofit strategy podcast staff retention tips and resources

Welcome to The Nonprofit Fundraising Exchange, a podcast from IPM Advancement. Our mission is to empower nonprofits to succeed so they can make the world a better place.

Today’s topic: How to Prevent Nonprofit Staff Burnout and Create a Culture of Wellness

Staff turnover has become a challenge for many nonprofits. Increasing numbers of nonprofit employees report feeling stressed and burned out. In today’s podcast episode, we sit down with Dr. Evisha Ford to discuss what causes nonprofit burnout and how both the individual and the organization can co-create a culture of wellness and support.

Time-Stamped Episode Shortcuts:

  • Introductions and background info [1:45]
  • How the pandemic forced nonprofits to confront burnout [4:31]
  • Individuals and organizations share responsibility for wellness [7:36]
  • Leaders need nurture connections with their team [11:10] 
  • Forecasting staff needs and creating a plan to meet them [14:35]
  • Why culture should be a factor in choosing to leave or stay in a job [18:15]
  • Redefining the narrative of burnout [21:31]
  • Self-awareness is the first step to self-care [26:21]
  • Leaders need to be approachable and open to feedback [29:25]
  • Changes organizations can make to create a culture of wellness [32:58] 

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Dr. Evisha Ford is the Founding Executive Director of iCan Dream Center, a therapeutic school in Illinois, that serves the needs of neurodiverse learners and their families. She began her career serving inner-city homeless youth in Chicago and worked with various community agencies to build their capacity to support the needs of vulnerable youth. She specializes in trauma-compassionate leadership, program design, cultural and racial equity, developing continuums of service for diverse learners. She is author of Benches in the Bathroom: Leading a Physically, Emotionally, and Socially Safe School Culture. Additionally, Dr. Ford serve as President of the Board for the United Way Blue Island Robbins Neighborhood Network. She has received numerous awards, including “Woman of the Year” by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, the Paige Award for her impact within the special needs community, and the “Dream Maker Award” from the Bronzeville Children’s Museum of Chicago. In July 2018, she was honored as one of the influential “100 Black Women in Chicago” for her educational contributions. In July 2022, Dr. Ford received her most generous recognition as “best mom ever” granted by her two sons. To lean more about Dr. Ford’s work, visit her website www.drevisha.com.


Russ Phaneuf, a co-founder of IPM Advancement, has a background in higher education development, with positions at the University of Hartford, Northern Arizona University, and Thunderbird School of Global Management. As IPM's managing director & chief strategist, Russ serves as lead fundraising strategist, award-winning content creator, and program analyst specializing in applied system dynamics.

Rich Frazier has worked in the nonprofit sector for over 30 years. In his role as senior consultant with IPM Advancement, Rich offers extensive understanding and knowledge in major gifts program management, fund development, strategic planning, and board of directors development.


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