04 November 2015

Volunteer Burnout

Match on Fire by Rexem
Right now I'm a work-from-home mom. I have a few freelance paying jobs that ebb and flow, but mostly my time while Jane is in school is open -- about 20 hours per week. One way I've filled it is through freelance work, emphasis on the free. Volunteer work  I can do from home is my favorite kind of volunteer work (see: social malcontent). But I'm getting dangerously close to burning out, in part because I operate at my highest professional level and take everything so seriously.

For my church I just completed a major website renovation and relaunch. I worked for hours and hours on the site, learning how to use the new system (Business Catalyst), transferring all site content and managing the contractor we hired to do some of the technical set-up. The site launched this week, but I still have more to do, specifically figuring out how to use the email marketing part of the system and then teaching it to all other staff who need to send out emails. Nothing is ever easy.

We also had a capital campaign in October, so I was doing a lot of extra work on that (and everything I posted during October I had to post to both the old and new sites!). There were a few in-person meetings and two events where I ran AV. I am not an AV person, so that was quite stressful. I also was on-site  photographer, which entails shooting, editing, posting and promoting.

These huge projects were on top of my regular, weekly volunteer work for the church -- creating and sending the weekly email blast, which has morphed into 2-3 additional emails per week about one thing or another; managing the social media, which includes tweeting sermon quotes through the week via Hootsuite; regular website posting/maintenance; and filming, posting and promoting the sermon each week. I also run a communications task force that meets monthly -- creating the agenda, running the meetings and distributing the minutes after-the-fact.

I am exhausted.

I also volunteer, although in much more limited capacities, for the LSU Campus Club, The Shepherd's Market (which is a project of a nonprofit linked to my church) and Jane's preschool. Everything I do is web related, so I'm volunteering with my particular skill set, which is good. I hope doing these things will be good for long-term career prospects since I still have current work to show and plenty of people who appreciate my efforts and theoretically could recommend me or serve as references.

Oh, and also to add to my manic stress levels -- during all of this I have had major computer problems. I've been through Dell Hell, which I'll write more about this month, but I've done a lot of the work on my 5+ year old clunky computer without all of my programs because the computer we bought in October 2014 became useless

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