Tony Clyburn Says, “Nonprofit Execs Need a Nap!”

Tony Clyburn has spent his career helping nonprofit executives publicize events from suicide prevention walks to fairs to road races etc. etc. Here’s what he has to share with nonprofits about workload and time-management.

“Most execs that I meet are extremely generous with their time, so at the risk of sounding like a refrigerator magnet I’ll say it: You work too hard. You work too long. Build a team that shares your vision and step aside, only slightly, and learn how to manage them.

I got a chance to visit with an executive at NANOE’s Board of Governors’ Convention & Expo. We were new friends and I admire her passion, but I didn’t let the opportunity pass without telling her to slow it down. She related a host of physical and emotional ailments brought on by stress. She couldn’t get to the office early enough or leave late enough to assuage her guilt about possibly missing something.

Already thin, she said that she was losing weight… and hair! If you want to be better at your gig you’re going to have to sacrifice some ‘we’ time for ‘me’ time. It’s good practice toward shattering some other cultural norms that are holding you back.

I can’t tell you how many times that I hosted an event and found the executive director blowing up balloons or stuffing envelopes at seven in the morning. A friend of mine – a mom of two robust lads, ages seven and nine – let me in on her secret. “Nobody knows it,” she confided, “but I take a nap every afternoon.” She won’t pick up or return an e-mail between one and one forty-five, who knew?

Can’t slow down because there’s too much to be done, consider this: Depending where you’re flying, your pilot may be taking a nap. The FAA allows 40 minutes on long haul flights in consultation with the second pilot and flight crew. The aviation folks call it “controlled rest.” The science is pretty solid that productive folks are rested people. I didn’t know about the data when I was working a swing years ago – TV in the morning, radio in afternoon – but, if I went down, well.

Chipper, indeed. I awoke refreshed and more creative. Anticipating that outcome was like having a super power. Can you get a nap in today?

I won’t tell anyone.”


Tony Clyburn Says, “Nonprofit Execs Need a Nap!” was written by Development Systems International’s Tony Clyburn. Tony has helped nonprofits get their message out for most of his career. The tradition was inspired by his grandparents on both sides of the family: Tony’s father was a USN veteran and YMCA director and his aunt-godmother, Elaine, is a 50 year employee-volunteer with the American Red Cross. Those images were foundational to Tony’s service. He is the best known and most popular disc jockeys in Columbia, SC history: STAR Award and SCBA Personality of the Year Award winner, and recipient of the Key to the City of Columbia, South Carolina. He is a long-time community volunteer who presently serves on the board s of Cancer of Many Colors and Leeza’s Care Connection, and SCETV pledge host. A interest in child welfare led him to serve as Guardian ad Litem, SC Center for Family Policy and South Carolina Celebrate Freedom Foundation. Tony holds the CNE, CDE & CNC nonprofit credentials issued by the National Association of Nonprofit Organizations & Executives. He also serves on the faculty of National Development Institute. Tony Clyburn is a graduate of Southern Wesleyan University. He is married to the former Lisa Malejko, of Piscataway, New Jersey. The Clyburn’s have seven children and ten grandchildren.


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