A Confidential Letter to the Overworked, Underpaid Fundraising Professional

Throughout our professional lives, many of us might have felt the pressure of the workload and not being paid enough as other professionals might be within the same area.

At the same time, according to this article from Ottawa Business Journal, fundraising professionals are burnt out by their work even before the pandemic started. And the current world situation is simply adding more stress and overburden to these nonprofit professionals, according to this article from Giving Compass.

By being overworked and underpaid, we happen to affect our physical and mental health. It can bring many negative aspects such as:

    • Stress
    • Fatigue
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • And many more!

Let’s Define Burnout. Burnout is physical or mental collapse by overwork or stress. Collapsing fundraisers mean collapsing non-profits.

It is up to us to set our own boundaries and confront the situation by speaking with our bosses. The right way to do so might be by writing a letter to them.

As fundraising professionals, we use communication in our day to day basis in order to communicate with donors, partners or institutions. So what better way than talking to our bosses?

Let me help you set boundaries and stop being overworked by sharing with you the following Sample Letter that you can utilize in order to tell your boss how you feel about being overworked:

Dear Boss,

With the ongoing trauma of the global pandemic, my abilities to do my best work have become limited.

I propose that we move to a results only work environment (ROWE). What does that mean? It means you don’t have to gatekeep my hours or micromanage my tasks. It means we focus on results, not time in the office or in front of my computer.

I would like to get you the same results, and go to 3 days a week (4 hours a day, whatever you want to say). This will allow me to rest more and do my best work for you while I am fresh.

Other workplaces have already moved to this model (google ROWE or 4 day work week and insert here)

And I think it could work for us too.


(Your Name)

If this sample letter to your boss about being overworked doesn’t get the results that you were looking for, then I have other ideas for you!

I invite you to watch my Nonprofit Career Conference recorded sessions, where you can learn about ways to build trust at work to get your boss to stop overworking you. AND you can also learn about alternative power structures such as unions, coops, and more, so that you can organize with your colleagues to get collective bargaining and stop being overworked.

Want to take the next step? I’ve got a whole book that helps you make better boundaries around work. It’s called:

Get the Job!”

Your Fundraising Career Empowerment Guide

get the Job your fundraising career empowerment guide, a blue book with blue and red writing, with a white image of a woman putting her hand in the air. Book by Mazarine Treyz

You should definitely read this book if you are looking for answers to one or many of the following questions:

  • Have you ever been frustrated by the lack of opportunity for advancement at your nonprofit?
  • Are you the lone development staff person, but unable to get a change in title?
  • Would you like to have more recognition for your accomplishments?
  • Would you like to learn how to write a LinkedIn profile that has the recruiters beating a path to YOUR door for a change?

You’re here because you are aware that there is a problem in your work environment. Perhaps your immediate boss doesn’t know how to fundraise and has no interest in learning. Perhaps your board won’t fundraise no matter how much you beg. Perhaps you’re surrounded by a barrage of unrealistic expectations and demands with no way to say STOP!

Does this sound like you?

You are busy, preoccupied with your appeal letter, your event, your grant proposal, managing your interns, and maybe even looking for another job. (Did you know that 18-24 months is the longest that most nonprofit fundraisers stay with an organization?)

Don’t let being overworked and an underpaid fundraising professional. You can change the situation before it turns into a toxic work environment.

I’ve been where you are. And I know what you’re going through.

How can you gently educate your boss and board about what reasonable expectations are? How can you help them get out of the way so you can do your job? How can you create fundraising allies instead of fundraising roadblocks?

For you, dear superhero, I have got a SOLUTION!

Imagine your board members cheering as you enter the room! Imagine celebrating small wins with your boss. Imagine a fat bonus check for you because you made a better-than-ever-before return on your event! But how do you get there?

In this book, you’ll find tips, tricks, and techniques guaranteed to work at your next supervision meeting or next board meeting. Everything from:

  • How to show your measure of success cannot just be dollars raised, and how else to measure what you’re doing, ESPECIALLY if you’re new in your position
  • Ways to communicate with your Executive Director that establish your boundaries and set expectations
  • How to find a better fundraising job
  • How to create a compelling cover letter that gets results
  • The Full Checklist Cheat sheet for your Fundraising Interview!
  • Case studies of how people stepped into leadership roles at nonprofits.
  • How to negotiate for a higher nonprofit salary
  • The Three Conversations you MUST have with your boss to be successful
  • And more!

For those who demand more, who want the BEST workplace experience possible, you deserve Get the Job! Your Fundraising Career Empowerment Guide book.

get the Job your fundraising career empowerment guide, a blue book with blue and red writing, with a white image of a woman putting her hand in the air. Book by Mazarine Treyz

Now also available as an ebook. Click here to get the ebook.

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