How to Spot & Avoid Burnout

Protect and Heal: How to Avoid Burnout

How to Spot and Avoid Burnout

Grant professional burnout is all too common.  As Grant professionals, we face unrealistic expectations that we can ‘get money’ to save an organization, a program and jobs – all while meeting extremely tight deadlines and managing complicated projects that are highly dependent on other people for decisions, data, documents and resources.


We can’t get every grant. We can’t save every program. Grants are highly competitive with an 11% award rate average. So, for every ‘yes’ there are 9-10 ‘no’s.

We care about the organizations, programs, and staff. We are passionate about the missions and services provided by the organizations we serve.

There are many key factors that impact grant application success that are out of the grant professional’s control, e.g.  number of awards, number of competitors, program staff expertise, and matching fund commitment.

More reality from Johna Rodgers, GPC:

It is not a grant professionals responsibility to ensure that programs survive and people keep their jobs. That is the responsibility of the organization’s executive leaders.

A grant professional’s job is to put the organization in the best position to win the grant given the grant seeking organizations grant readiness and the grant maker’s requirements.

The grant professional must have a clear understanding of and be able to communicate the value of the organization and the unique need for the grant in a way that secures buy-in from the reviewer. As we build our grant applications we ‘buy-in’, we care and we want the program to thrive. We know the consequences for the organization and the people that will be served by the grant if the grant is not awarded. We push ourselves to go above and beyond to be in the top 10% of the applicants, knowing that there is a nearly 90% failure rate in grant applications. When a grant isn’t awarded to the organizations we serve, we rarely receive gratitude for a job well-done. In fact, sometimes we don’t receive any gratitude when the grant is awarded.

Consider the amount of pressure put upon grant professionals, the failure that is inherent in the profession, and the lack of appreciation for the quality of the work  — and we see a clear path to burnout.

Job burnout is a special type of job stress — a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion combined with doubts about your competence and the value of your work. – Mayo Clinic

Avoid Burnout: Protect and Heal

We took the questions about grant professional burnout to our Grantchat Community, with our guest Johna Rodgers, GPC to get more insights, tips and resources on how to spot and avoid burnout. The key messages are to:

1) be proactive in preventing burnout,

2) acknowledge when you are experiencing burnout, and

3) take steps to heal from burnout.

We’re including a few of the many valuable insights the Grantchat community shared – there were MANY more valuable nuggets of advice and resources. You can find the chat archive here.

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The Grantchat community also shared a few great links to blog posts. research and more. Here are a couple:

“Do I Smell Burn Out?” by Faun Pattison

The German Workforce Has a Burnout Problem  – by Marco Nink, Gallup Business Journal

How do you fight burnout? Do you have great tips, tools, resources or blogs you would like to share with the Grantchat community? Please share them with us in the comments to add them to the list.


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