Day in the Life of a Nonprofit Communicator – Katie Houston

Katie Houston

Katie Houston

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.

We’d love to hear from you too! Tell us what you do in a typical day as a nonprofit communications pro. ~Kristina

Katie Houston is Marketing & PR Coordinator at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, which includes the Kirk Newman Art School. She relishes the challenge of reframing the public perception about the 90-year old museum, and the chance to market a wealth of experiences — from exhibition openings to awards ceremonies, from children’s art camps to adult classes in a dozen mediums. She’s only a little concerned about her growing accessories habit fueled by the museum’s Gallery Shop. 

Here is her typical day:

Before 8:00 a.m. – I’m ten minutes from work by car, so I wake up around 7, grab clothes and thermos my coffee — each arranged the night before.

8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m – Put lunch in the fridge and grab a coffee cup, check email and to-do list.

Skim arts emails Hyperallergic and ArtDaily.

Format in Photoshop an image for the homepage to replace a promotion for art classes that began last night, now we’ll feature activities for Friday’s downtown “Art Hop.”

Circulate for review & update press release on upcoming talk by an area sculptor/professor about his year in Nigeria. Email preview copy to local arts editor with images.

10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. – Secure colleagues’ changes for quarterly museum/school magazine.

Check discrepancies between web calendar and magazine with Museum Education director.

Discuss with membership coordinator next month’s exhibition opening event — whether musician’s one contracted hour should come before or after the speaker, or move the speaker. How loud will the music be?

12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. – Meet with site visitor for museum assessment program – precursor to accreditation process. Nice to hear how good our numbers really are, and that all cultural institutions face the same challenges and frustrations.

Reheat leftovers and head to courtyard, but too chilly/breezy this July day (welcome to Michigan). Eat in the “school commons” reading “Writing & Selling your Memoir.”

Chat with board member in transit to her ceramics class.

2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. – Format and send e-blast of news release to media list.

Draft and send to school for review email regarding remaining summer art camps for children, and another re: art classes at outlying community center.

Work with intern on social media for next 2 weeks of events.

Check in with executive director for final input, then hand off magazine hard copy to designer.

After 4:00 p.m. – Visit to do list for any remaining tasks and add to for the rest of the week.

Don’t expect to work from home, it’s a fairly quiet time at the museum, lots of thinking and planning going on — which is refreshing.

In the 11 months since I started, it’s been a whirlwind with little time to catch my breath, but rewarding work among (overworked and overextended) arts professionals.

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



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Author: Kristina Leroux, Community Engagement Manager

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

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