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Burnout in the Field (and HQ)

We know aid workers burnout, it's hardly breaking news. Research and conversations in this group have confirmed that people in the sector have a rough time when it comes to dealing with the emotional side of aid work.

This has an impact not just on personal wellbeing, but also on effectiveness and ethical decision making vis-a-vis "people in crisis". Toxic work environments are often part of the problem (see #aidtoo and scandals in the sector). Organizations are not exactly quick to respond and acknowledge that staff mental health and ethical behaviour would be greatly improved by a shift in organizational culture, and not simply by contracting counsellors on an employee support programme, or by adding new policies and rules.

To encourage healthier work environments my publisher and I have decided to offer a book discount to aid/nonprofit organizations that adopt "The Idealist's Survival Kit. 75 Simple Ways to Avoid Burnout", as a staff care kit. Hugo Slim, Head of Policy at the ICRC, wrote in the foreword "this is a wonderful, beautiful, healing book", and a fellow aid worker on Amazon referred to it as "first aid for the soul [...] an excellent guide to retaining one's sense of self, compassion (and sometimes sanity) when faced with the demands of working for an NGO".

Moments of crisis can be used as a wake-up call and a moment of reflection, or just endured hoping that the storm will soon pass and "we can go back to business as usual". Change is neither linear nor top-down and each one of us can help shape healthier organizations that do their best to live by the values they preach. Organizations that don't break people's spirit and that actively take care of the people they serve by also taking care of their own staff.

If interested in knowing more about Parallax Press offer please drop me an email alessandra@mindfulnext.org - Thank you

(Preview and forward of the book are available on Amazon https://tinyurl.com/yam7dgv4)


Alessandra Pigni

Licensed Psychologist amp; Researcher at Mindfulnext.org

Replies to this Topic

Alessandra Pigni,


I have spent many years in the business of human resourcing across professional occupations and volunteer work. Accordingly, I can say with great confidence that your area of focus is widely needed. In fact, I would like to see some NGOs and nonprofits purchase a resource such as you offering of "The Idealist's Survival Kit" for their support staff and supporters. 

Have you considered a brochure with a couple of book excerpts complimented by endorsements and volume pricing packages? I would also consider adding a smart code that links to the Amazon sales funnel. You could add a second smart code that links to a video promotional that has an infotainment type format (like a Doodle Video).


Robert Reid



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