How to Take Time Off from Your Nonprofit or Grant Writing Business

It’s officially knee deep into summer. Are you enjoying the popsicles, sparklers, and giggles with the family or are you stuck in the grind? In this article (or feel free to listen to the podcast), I go behind-the-scenes to explain why and how you should take time off your grant writing business or nonprofit.

Maybe July is a super busy month because you have grants due, a nonprofit fundraiser, or more.

Yet. A summer sabbatical, two-week break, or maybe even a year abroad sojourn could be exactly what makes sense for you in your nonprofit or grant writing business right now. ​Even if you are busy beyond busy because let’s face it, every month becomes the busiest month ever. No light at the end of that tunnel.

I’ve been hearing the term ‘sabbatical’ thrown around in entrepreneur groups. No longer is this term only whispered in the halls of academia.

This actual term of sabbatical is defined according to Merriam-Webster dictionary as:

  1. a period of paid leave granted to a university teacher or other worker for study or travel, traditionally one year for every seven years worked.
    “she’s away on sabbatical
  1. 1.
    relating to a sabbatical.
    “sabbatical leave”
  2. 2.
    of or appropriate to the sabbath.

So, yes, this is way more of an academia term yet also includes a nod to some thing sacred. Pretty cool, huh?

What is also interesting as most entrepreneurs and grant writers use this term as paid time away. This might mean having saved up funds for this particular time off or maybe they are generating passive income. For nonprofit leaders, the time I am talking about taking off is also paid time away.

Because, let’s face it. Taking time to recharge isn’t so relaxing when you’re not getting paid.

When to Take Time Off Your Grant Writing Business

Well, there are several different ideas of this.

1) Forced to take off time from your grant writing business or nonprofit

The most common is to take off time from your grant writing business or nonprofit when you are so burned out that you literally can’t function. Usually this type of  ‘time off’ includes sleeping for days of end (forget the Konmari you planned on doing with your break this year or trips to the beach) all the way to a possible hospital rest (yes, my first grant writing boss actually had a heart attack in his 30s).

This is a dangerous place to be, however the good ole American work ethic and literally work people to death. Not that good after all, huh?

2) Take Time Off Your Grant Writing Business After a Heavy Workload

The next most common practice is to schedule time off after an intense workload period. So possibly after a huge fundraiser or long grant season. You know you will need a break so you schedule time off in advance for after that intense period of working. Let’s be real, sometimes the intense periods need to be had. But by this time you are so burned out that the two days off (or week off) isn’t nearly enough.

Literally, your schedule time off from your grant writing business or nonprofit could also be like #1 (sleeping for days on end or ending up in the hospital).

3) Take Time Off Your Grant Writing Business Before You Get Burned Out

The least common but most effective. Schedule time off from your grant writing business or nonprofit before you get burned out. Seems pretty simple, but so many people feel guilty for doing this!

Imagine this: You take off time before the crazy intense period so you can feel fresh and 100% during those times and don’t require a 7-day Netflix binge with pizza every night just to feel semi-normal. How much more productive and less intense would those periods feel?

While looking at this in my own life and grant writing business, I realized that I need to be operating on #3  A LOT more. I need to schedule time off in advance from my grant writing business. I am a very classic A type personality and going, going, going is my game. But I often find myself operating in the #2 (or sometimes #1) phase and it is not a pretty place to be!

What I believe I will start incorporating into my life – at the very least – is taking off three months a year minimum. Let’s face it, around the Christmas holidays and during summer I want to spend time with my daughter as she is out of school. Then I want a month to recalibrate and focus on things that light me up! I know that by doing this I will be so, so much more present and energetic for my freelance grant writing mentees and course customers.

In this podcast, I go behind the scenes of how I was able to take off my ‘summer sabbatical’ and set up systems where my brand still continues but I get to take off time with my family!

This system can be replicated :)

Think about what phase (1, 2, or 3) you resonate with and how you can start to operate more in #3 to take time off your grant writing business.

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