Day in the Life of a Nonprofit Communicator – Betsy Lewis
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. Want to be featured in this series? Tell us what you do in a typical day as a nonprofit communications pro.
Betsy Lewis is the owner and chief strategist at Betsy Lewis Consulting: Social Media Marketing for Nonprofits. She works freelance for the Children’s Advocacy Center of Jackson County. Her home is an old remodeled schoolhouse on the Oregon Coast, and she uses her spare time (if there is any) to beach comb.
Here is her typical day:
Before 8:00 am: I am a morning person and work almost completely from home! I am self-employed as a freelance social media consultant — with my biggest client being a medium-sized nonprofit advocating for children. I have worked for this nonprofit for 4 years and I haven’t been in their office for at least two years. Everything we do is carried out by email and texts — with an occasional phone call. They hire me on a contract for a year, and each year, as the role of social media in their work has grown, they have needed more hours from me.
About 6:30 am I am upright and going through my emails. I use this time to educate myself by reading the emails of popular authorities in the field, and for checking for activity on our social accounts. I also look at the nonprofit’s Facebook pages feed and share local events and appeals from other organizations in the community to their Facebook Page. I may also schedule some posts for later in the day. I am doing this work with an iPad. 7:00 am – 8:00 am I make my cup of coffee and am writing, usually just for my own blogs or personal practice.
8:00 am – 10:00 am: At this point, I move to my laptop with another 1/2 cup of coffee! I make and schedule 5 posts or so for the nonprofit. I start by looking at the Facebook stats – to see when the best posting times are for the day. After all the posts are scheduled on Facebook, I go to Hootsuite and schedule posts to Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ and follow up on activity there. I work Twitter a bit – following new people and organizations and responding to mentions, conversations and retweets. I usually find good content to tweet from the feed or share on the nonprofit’s other social sites.
I keep a Google calendar for content planning. The first of each week, I send a request for content or images to the nonprofit. I manage their four blogs. My best ideas come in the morning too, so I send any brainstorming ideas/strategies to them and anything interesting social media-wise for them to think about for the future – particularly for fundraising.
10:00 am – 12:00 pm: At this point I eat a quick breakfast. I might then sit down and edit and format text, research images or make a blog post. I am not a graphic designer, but I have had some success making graphical images with a template program – so I do that. I might also work on the nonprofit’s newsletter and eblasts. My nonprofit has a very extensive enewsletter and it takes quite a bit of time to get it ready to go out. If there is a fundraising event coming up, and it has a internet/social component, I spend a lot of time strategically planning for this and creating and finding content.
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm: I have lunch around 1:00 pm and not at my computer! By this time I mostly done with posting and followup, so I can relax bit. If I have something planned, I might schedule posts out for 2 days – to make room for that. I might work on projects for my other clients too. I usually have 2 or 3 websites/social sites in progress.
If it is October through January, these are big online fundraising months, so I can be very very busy with GivingTuesday, End-Of-Year appeals and our You Matter! campaigns. I try to make a lot of room for this during these months. Most of my other clients are winding down for the holidays, so this time opens up nicely!
2:00 pm – 4:00 pm: If there is no additional pending work on a campaign, blog or newsletter, I use the afternoon to exercise, get out, do errands, and go to the farmer’s market etc. I am also an artist, so I might work on a piece of art. I like to get out of my head and away from my computer during this time. My brain is pretty fried after a busy morning! Since I can live anywhere I want and do this work, I have moved to a beach area on the Oregon Coast. I get a walk on the beach in about 4 times a week! I did not plan it this way, but it has been great that it worked out so nicely.
After 4:00 pm: In the evening, I check on the nonprofit’s social media accounts to see if there is any followup needed. Other than that, I am usually doing art, reading, or watching a movie after 4:00 pm. I am early to bed too!
Want to be featured in this series? Tell us what you do in a typical day as a nonprofit communications pro.