The secret about stress: It may not be so bad, after all!

Dr. Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University, delivered a great TED talk on "How to Make Stress Your Friend." 

Her message is perfect for those of us working in the nonprofit trenches and feeling stress due to our coworkers, our funders, our culture and politics, and all combinations thereof.

Here's the heart of it: life can be stressful, and stress can be bad for your health, but if you believe that stress brings positive benefits, then that stress won't hurt you.

Watch Dr. McGonigal present her evidence, and see if changing your mind about stress can change your life!   

OK, now that you have a radical new paradigm for understanding the stress that is inevitable for most of us, here's a quick technique to help manage stress: BOX BREATHING! 

The Navy SEALs do it, so you'd better believe it works! 

So, the next time your nonprofit throws a big stressball your way, just remember that your body, mind and spirit are responding to the stress in ways that can help you. And then breathe like a SEAL


Grantseeking best practices, explained in a not-boring way

Recently, Vu Le of Nonprofits with Balls wrote a crowd-sourced series about how to be a less annoying foundation/funder, and in turn, how to be a less annoying grantseeker.  

The "Grant Response Amateurism, Vexation, and Exasperation (GRAVE) Gage" that Mr. Le gives us is so, so great. Definitely give this a careful read if you are new to fundraising or grantseeking. It will explain some grantmaker practices that may seem mysterious to you (such as why a funder might have a persnickety requirement that you submit one copy of your proposal unstapled). 

Reading the grant guidelines and following them to the T: this is essential. It's also pretty easy. 

Writing a grant proposal is like following a recipe. As long as you have adequate kitchen skills and the right tools and ingredients, you will be able to create a passable concoction. 

The hard part is communicating with funders outside of the prescribed format of the proposal.

Long-term, sustainable success in grantseeking depends on professional, thoughtful communication with your nonprofit's universe of funders -- whether your grant is awarded or not, and whether the project is going smoothly or not. It's especially important to go the extra mile to demonstrate the impact of a grant.

The GRAVE Gage gives us some sage advice about the nuances of communicating with funders -- giving them credit in the press, sending appropriate emails to program officers, and letting them know when things are going a little off the rails.  

If you don't already read Nonprofit With Ballscheck it out! Vu Le also has a Facebook group for nonprofit peeps... see you there!