A Day in the Life of a Nonprofit Communicator – Danielle Gates

Danielle Gates

Danielle Gates

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.

Danielle Gates is the communications assistant for the marketing and communications department at RedRover. She supports the team through social media, copywriting and design, and embodies RedRover’s values of being ever-vigilant and ready to spring into action.

Danielle earned a Bachelor’s degree in English from University of California, Davis, and has previously worked as the foster/rescue liaison for Sacramento-area shelters. She shares her home with a Brazilian mastiff named Huckleberry and a gray cat named Tomas.

Here is her typical day:

Before 8:00 am: Wake up and check out the latest happenings on social media on my phone. Once I’m satisfied that there hasn’t been some huge natural disaster or media disaster overnight, I hop on my bike and ride into work.

8:00 am – 10:00 am: I always open my three email accounts and begin checking emails; I answer my own emails, and then check the info@RedRover email account to respond to questions, comments or concerns from clients, supporters and members of the public.

Then I open up a few of my management tools: Asana, Hootsuite, Google Calendar, to check the daily schedule. After that, I log in to Facebook and start the community management process of thanking supporters, answering questions and listening for other content to comment on that might be floating around the social media/animal world.

After that, in no particular order: check blog comments, update website, check some of our other media listening tools and evaluate the plan for the afternoon.

10:00 am – 12:00 pm: On Mondays, we always have a staff meeting from 10:00 am to 11:00 am. Any other day, I may meet with program managers on some of their needs, and perhaps schedule some video editing time as well.

Since we’re on the west coast, many webinars take place during this time period, so I might have a webinar around 10 this day, too!

Lunchtime is sometimes at the desk, but most often in the lunch room with my other co-workers.

12:00 pm – 2:00 pm: After lunch is when I get some of my best content creation done. This usually involves writing for the monthly e-newsletter, quarterly print publication, social media content and some fundraising materials. I also create shareable graphic images to use on social media and compile photos, infographics and stories to share with our followers.

During this time is when it is busiest for the phone, too! I answer phone calls and talk to people about our programs, grants we offer, what services we can/can’t provide and make sure that I’m connecting the right people with our staff appropriately. I’m still answering emails to the info account here, too!

At this time in the day, I usually break down and start feeding the office dogs treats. They’re just too cute.

2:00 pm – 4:00 pm: This is when I’m usually in meetings for larger project planning; I’ll help to plan campaigns, deployment communications and program plan strategies during these meetings. They usually last 1-2 hours, and I’m usually in about 2 meetings/7 hr workday.

Usually a few times a week I’m creating the e-newsletter that we send to our supporters. I use Adobe Dreamweaver to work within the HTML code, and perfect it until it is ready to be sent out.

I will schedule my edited social media posts for the week with photos and stories, and continue to connect with other program managers about their needs. Since we’re in a small office, we’re usually talking with each other during this time about a great story we might want to share, a great picture from a recent deployment or peer pressure each other into getting coffee across the street for the fourth time that day.

After 4:00 pm: Since I leave usually around 4:30, I start to shut down projects, programs and other tasks around this time. I find that if I start a new project, even just an email, around this time, I’ll never make it out before 5 p.m. I wrap up conversations, make sure my work is saved and start winding down my day. I always do my dishes before going home and try and tidy up my desk before leaving. I find that a clean desk starts me off with a clean slate for the following day, and it is especially refreshing to return to a clean desk (and desktop!) when I come back from the weekend.

I pack up my bike and/or dog, clean up the wreck he’s probably made at the office that day (drool. everywhere), and get my gear packed up to go home. I check emails on my phone once I’m home that night, and respond if they’re urgent. For the next day, I recall the projects I need to work on and make myself a small list of projects for the day, and I try to relax and get a great night’s sleep so I’m refreshed for tomorrow!

Want to be featured in this series? Tell us what you do in a typical day as a nonprofit communications pro.

Author: Kristina Leroux, Community Engagement Manager

I am the Community Engagement Manager at Nonprofit Marketing Guide.com.

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