Shelley Feist

How the Great Resignation Led Me to You!

Photo of Shelley Feist sitting in a chair with laptopIt really came down in August 2021 with 4.3 million Americans leaving their jobs voluntarily. 

The Great Resignation affected the nonprofit sector too. A quick online search reveals postings about waves of senior executives leaving their positions.  

I didn’t realize I would be part of this wave, but I was. In late August 2021, I resigned from a nonprofit executive director position I had held for 18 years.

I’m Shelley and I am a Nonprofitaholic 

I was raised among people with strong work ethics. Scandinavian farmer stock who would not give up on a good (or even a not-so-good) thing no matter what. These people were not quitters.

That’s how they could survive the winters in North Dakota, right?

I grew up a creative kid on a large farm where I had the freedom to roam over acres and acres. I loved being in the outdoors, taking care of my pets, and forming “clubs” and “camps” that my best friend, cousin, and brother were required to participate in.  

Perhaps I was demonstrating early signs of leadership potential?  Or I was just an annoying kid? 

But even then I didn’t care about money. More about taking care of the little guys (kittens mostly) and learning everything possible about the environment.

My entire career has been in the nonprofit and government sectors. At one point those two combined when I served as senior congressional liaison at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts where I worked on legislation that would set the Kennedy Center up to improve and operate the multi-theater facility for years to come. I’ve been a foundation program associate, making grants to visible and highly credible nonprofit organizations in media, the humanities, and the arts, and, later, receiving grants for the nonprofit I ran.  

Leaving my executive director job became the obvious thing for me to do mid-year last year. For one thing, I knew the organization needed new blood and new energy. I had done my best, things were in good shape financially, and I had ideas and interests that were pulling at me – requiring my time and attention.   

So I’m in the wild now with the vision to work with nonprofits, helping them realize growth in their connections and change their trajectory toward greater mission fulfillment. 

I support nonprofits through my content clarity process and convening facilitation.

What can I say, my heart is with the nonprofit sector! We know there is a lot of work to be done.  

That’s how I come to be here with you. Thanks for reading all of that!

Have you been affected by the Great Resignation?

Have you and your staff had to take on more work individually because a colleague left during the Great Resignation? How has that been working out for you?  

Having a colleague walk away from their role in your four or five-person staff is a big deal. I’d love to hear from you if you’ve had a recent experience with this.

Everyone knows nonprofit staff are overworked and underpaid. What many people don’t know, is that the work of nonprofit organizations has become instrumental to the US economy and Americans’ quality of life.  

Is it time for a reset in your nonprofit organization?

Capacity building is a constant struggle for small and medium nonprofit organizations. How do you get traction on long-term goals when maxed out daily providing important information and life-saving services?

Being clear on the mission and direction of your organization is fundamental. So is ensuring that everything you do in your outreach and communications links back to your core purpose and your primary audience.

It could very well be that the craziness of the past two years leaves you in a position to reconnect or even reconsider the strategic direction of your organization. One thing is for sure – many things have shifted in the operation of your organization. 

Don’t give up the struggle. 

People need you.

Are you in need of clarity?

Our work together on Content Clarity can set you and your team up to put a powerful strategy behind your authentic story. The result is a more powerful connection to your audience and greater ease and success for your communications team.

Take the Content Clarity Quiz for Nonprofits – do you have content clutter? Or are you on track? 

Let me know if I can help you consider a humane content “re-tune” that makes your team feel like rock stars and your clients feel a part of your caring community. 

P.S. – It’s art to lift the nonprofit executive spirit!

In every blog post, I’ll include an art moment. I do this for two reasons:

1) Because art is my second-greatest passion (after supporting non-profits) and 

2) Because art generates ideas, and we all need fresh ideas So … enjoy! (These are not paid placements I’m just sharing things I enjoy that I think others might too!)

Amuze Museum Audio Tours

If I were good at gushing (which I’m not) I would gush all over this amazing museum tour app that is free! Tour highlights of the collections at the world’s major art museums and find two-minute lectures that open your eyes to the details and history of exquisite works of art.  

The app is available in the App Store (IOS) and on Google Play.  

Take a few minutes to go to Paris, Madrid, or the Vatican today!

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