S1 E00: About the Yoga of Nonprofit Communications

The Yoga of Nonprofit Communications is a podcast mostly about doing communications work at a nonprofit organization. And it’s a little bit about yoga, too.

Yoga literally means “yoking”, “union”. Coming together.

In the practice of yoga, we bring together strength, flexibility, balance, and breath to move our body through different physical poses.

You might be wondering “what does yoga have to do with nonprofit communications?”

Well — more than you might think:

  • Strength. With the weight of all the responsibilities you’ve been given, do you realize how much stronger you’ve gotten?
  • Flexibility. Today’s priority might not be the same as yesterday’s was. Do you ever feel like you’re stretching the limits of your flexibility and patience with all the times your boss changes her mind?
  • Balance. Is your to-do list piled so high that it will topple over if anyone adds just one more thing? Do you feel like you’re already juggling as much as you can handle, and then on top of that, now you’re being asked to hold one hand behind your back?
  • Breath. How many times has a colleague rubbed you the wrong way, and then you caught yourself taking a breath to stop yourself from exploding and reacting in a super-unprofessional way? Or maybe you said something you shouldn’t have, and then WISHED you’d stopped to take that breath.

Could you identify with any of this? If so, then you’ve practiced yoga at work, too.

In the nonprofit world people are often coming together around shared concerns, shared passions and goals. It’s more collaborative than competitive. People’s enthusiasm can come alive, and it’s contagious! This is one of the reasons I love working in the nonprofit world — when people come together it can truly feel like anything is possible, like we can create real change in the world.

I’ve been working with nonprofits to plan and build websites for about 15 years. During most of that time, I’ve also practiced yoga. This has transformed the way I see and think about the world. At times yoga has literally turned my body and my assumptions upside-down. At other times it has given me stillness, in which I remember that I am a unique living thing, as is every other person on the planet. It’s our shared humanity that brings us all together. We’re stronger when we remember that. I know nonprofit folks “get” that, but it’s easily lost under hundreds of emails and the pressure of deadlines.

For starters, one very important lesson of yoga is awareness. Applied practically in the context of nonprofit work, awareness is being able to look at our work and evaluate it. What went well? What could be better next time? We can ground ourselves by seeing where we are, remembering where we’re headed — the mission! remember that? — and calculating (or re-calculating) the route we will take to get there.

With mission at the center of our minds, it’s much easier to consider questions like: How should we be using social media? How do we raise money to pay for the website redesign we so desperately need? How do we rally our supporters and expand our reach? How do we keep our balance when we’re under so much pressure?

In The Yoga of Nonprofit Communications, my aim is to bring you practical information and tips for nonprofit communications professionals, peppered with reminders of why we’re doing this in the first place. We’ll talk about how to handle challenging situations. How to take care of yourself. How to find grace and peace under pressure.

AND, if you work at a small or medium nonprofit — or perhaps are single-handedly managing all the communications for your nonprofit — then this show is especially for you. You are NOT alone, there are tons of us out there, and we’re stronger together. Stronger when we remember we are part of something bigger.

So, join us each week for stories, advice, and maybe even amusement! Learn what’s challenging other nonprofit communication professionals, and how they’re thriving in spite of it.

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