6 Now-or-Never Summer Reboots

Reboot Nonprofit MarketingOur daughter Charlotte is finishing up a blissful summer at a few different day and overnight camps. At the end of each and every day, her mind and creativity are stimulated, she’s made new friends, and she sleeps solidly with a smile on her face. She finishes the summer inspired, energized and smarter than ever.

I envy her greatly. But you and I are too old for summer camp (find me an adult camp, please!). Instead, I set out an a discovery mission—asking fellow nonprofit staffers and consultants how they reboot to tee up for a great fall and forward.

There’s still time for you to reboot. Dig into these inventive approaches a.s.a.p.:

1) Seek a different point of view: Gillian Ream Gainsley, who works in Communications and Development at the Ypsilanti District Library (MI), takes a unique approach:

“My Summer Camp plan is to go to overnight camp. Literally. I’m on the board of a summer camp and spend a week volunteering there every year. It’s the most rejuvenating part of my year.

“Mostly, it’s a fantastic break. But, I do communications for a youth organization, so it’s a great way to take a deep dive into how kids talk and think and feel. You have a much better sense of what their (and their parents’) needs are after a week of 24-hour interaction at camp,” she says.

2) Get together and get outside: Caroline Avakian—founder of Source Rise, which connects journalists with experts in international development— spends more time outdoors and with her family. “Not only is it necessary, but I find that it fuels my work and creativity; making me much more productive during my work time,” she says.

3) Make a commitment to doing summer differently: It can be super hard to pry yourself away from the day-to-day routine, no matter how much you want. That’s where I often fall.

You’re much more likely to succeed in getting to your version of summer camp if you formalize your commitment. I did so by telling a few close friends and colleagues about my plan for a two-month summer sabbatical last year, and asking them to keep me honest. My husband was a good policer as well!

I’m not alone here. “I have to cut down on work hours to build my breaks, but it’s worth it since my productivity shoots up when I do get down to business. I tend to goal set instead of clocking in my hours, so as long as I feel I’ve met my goals, I’m happy. That said, my ‘summer camp’ goals tend to be more focused on strategic priorities and organization. That focus gears me up and preps me for the busy fall season,” reports Caroline Avakian.

4) Take a new approach to the same old: Danielle Brigida, National Social Media Manager at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is one of the most creative people I know. She brings that creativity to the way she tackles her work, including her personal version of summer camp.

For Danielle, as for most of us, a lot of her day is spent dealing with ongoing challenges. Although the challenges is stable, Danielle does spice up the way she approaches them, “I break out the sidewalk chalk and the Idea Frisbee in the summer. I grab whomever I’m working with, and we toss the Frisbee around to think up clever names or ideas around campaigns. We find that moving while we brainstorm helps hugely,” she says.

5) Work your body, nourish your soul: Many of the folks I spoke with increase their physical activity in the summer, or add seasonal treats like biking and water skiing.

Danielle, for example, goes way beyond the Idea Frisbee. “I went out on a limb and signed up for a marathon in Iceland last year. So I spent last summer mostly training for that and spending as much time outside as I can. I also balanced the running with yoga, “ she says.

6) Connect with peers in the field to build satisfaction and smarts: Graphic designer Julia Reich uses summertime’s slight dip in her firm’s client work to build relationships (and strategic alliances) with other nonprofit marketers.

What’s your summer reboot method? Please share your approach here.

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Nancy Schwartz in Professional Development | 6 comments
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