A Day in the Life of a Nonprofit Communicator – Alexandra Sanders
Here’s the latest installment in our series on the “Day in the Life” of nonprofit communicators, where we ask you to describe your day in your own words.
As the Communications Coordinator for Community Solutions, Alexandra Sanders serves as a social media manager, digital media strategist, public relations professional, events coordinator and a web producer. While sculpting a constantly-evolving communications strategy, she works to ensure that Community Solutions has a robust online presence by monitoring metrics that detail online community engagement and reach.
Prior to joining the Community Solutions team, Alexandra was a journalist who covered City Hall, education, crime and the community in New Haven, CT at the New Haven Register. She was a member of the New Haven Register reporting team who won the 2012 Society of Professional Journalists award for coverage of Hurricane Irene and she is a New England First Amendment Coalition Fellow. She is a member of New York Women in Communications, Inc. and sits on NYWICI’s Young Professionals Committee.
Alexandra received a BA in journalism and a BA in psychology from the University of Connecticut.
Here is her typical day:
Before 8:00 am: The first thing I do after turning off my alarm is check my email. After responding to urgent emails and flagging others, I check Twitter and Facebook to check on our organization’s accounts and my personal accounts. I spend about 45 minutes getting ready for work, and during that time I listen to various podcasts, some of which include NPR, Slate, Freakonomics and the Nerdist. I then catch a subway and venture off for my half hour commute to the office, during which I read the Huffington Post, the New York Times, the New Yorker, or whatever book I am trying to finish at the moment.
8:00 am – 10:00 am: I get to work before or by 9 a.m. and immediately answer all of the emails that I flagged earlier that morning and return any voice messages I have. After that, I scan my calendar and to do list and prioritize my tasks for the day based on deadlines (and occasionally based on what I am most excited to work on if it isn’t deadline dependent). I check social media once more and start retweeting any great insights and briefly scan our Twitter lists to see if I missed anything from our funders, partners and supporters while I was sleeping. I also search Google news for anything that mentions the communities we work in and try to scout out any opportunities to make relevant press pitches. After that, I get clarification on any projects that I am working on with my team and start working on the most important (or most exciting) project for the week.
10:00 am – 12:00 pm: Once I delve into projects, I pretty much stay focused on them until noon. I generally listen to Spotify and dance along to the music as I’m working, hoping that my coworkers won’t notice. Around noon, I start scheduling tweets and posting on our social media networks for the day. I allocate an hour for this per day so I can ensure that we aren’t missing any chances to get our message out into the social media sphere.
12:00 – 2:00 pm: By 1 p.m., I am always ready for lunch. On rare occasions, I’ll have a lunch meeting, during which I spend a lot of my energy urging myself to stop checking emails! Generally though, I snack at my desk and try to avoid spilling anything on my keyboard.
2:00 – 4:00 pm: I generally try to schedule meetings and conference calls between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. so I will dive into those after lunch. If I don’t have calls or meetings, I will get back to work on my projects for the week and do anything during this time that I was avoiding or didn’t get done in the morning. Sometimes I grab a coffee from Starbucks (when I have the time and money) to give me an afternoon pick me up, but generally I spend this time sitting at my desk with a laser-like focus on my work.
After 4:00 pm: I check our social media networks one last time before leaving for the day and do my best to wrap up all of my work by 5:30 p.m. Generally, wrapping up on time isn’t a problem and I head out of the office to do errands or go to the gym. I end up at home around 8 p.m., at which time I will cook dinner for my boyfriend and I. After dinner, I check and respond to more work emails, make personal calls and do anything around the house that needs to get done. My work day doesn’t have a definitive stopping point, even when I am in bed, eyes closed, ready to doze off. As soon as my iphone dings, I find myself reaching over to grab it so I don’t miss anything.
Want to be featured in this series? Tell us what you do in a typical day as a nonprofit communications pro.