Welcome to 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 feature YOU in this series! Don’t be shy – tell us what you do in a typical day as a nonprofit communications pro.
Melanie Swiftney has been a communicator for most of her life. She earned her Communications degree from James Madison University twenty years ago and spent most of her career as a graphic designer in both ad agencies and internal communications teams. She joined the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation in August 2015 as their sole marketing and communications staff member, handling all writing, graphic design, and social media needs. She’s made it her mission to raise awareness of the good the foundation does for their community. When not at work, Melanie takes advantage of Michigan’s four seasons with her husband, does her best to keep her dog entertained, and writes young adult novels.
And this is her typical day:
Before 8:00 a.m. – I’m fortunate that I work two miles from work and our office opens at 8:30 am. My husband leaves for work before I get up so mornings are “me time”.
My alarm goes off at 6am so I make a cup of green tea and use that extra time to write (I’m a novelist in my free time) and catch up on social media.
At 8:10 I scoot my Miniature Schnauzer Owen outside for a few minutes, then head to work.
8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m – I’m the only communications person on our team so I wear a lot of hats, but I always start my day responding to time-sensitive emails and checking the headlines in our local paper.
We’re a very small community and quite often the stories tie into my work at the community foundation, so it’s important that I’m aware of what’s happening.
I have a couple standing morning meetings with teammates during the week, which often result in new tasks that need to be addressed.
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. – By mid-morning I tackle the project of the day, whether it’s writing articles for our upcoming newsletter, scheduling social media posts, or designing our annual report.
We’re currently developing a new website so right now a lot of my energy is focused on that. Our current site doesn’t have a blog and I’m very excited to be able to share what we’re doing in a more timely manner.
12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. – At noon I head home to let Owen out. Depending on the day, I either play Words with Friends or work on my latest book while eating lunch. Being able to go home reenergizes me for the afternoon and during my drive back to the office I remind myself how lucky I am to have such a short commute.
The afternoons are often quiet in the office so I use that time to work on projects that require a lot of brain power, like writing press releases and fine-tuning our editorial calendar.
2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. – By 3pm I’m ready for another break. I try to avoid sweets (it doesn’t always work) so I bring a couple clementines for an afternoon snack before wrapping up projects for the day.
We have a policy to reply to emails within 24 hours so I use this time to make sure I’ve replied to everyone.
I keep a paper to-do list so my final hour of the day is spent knocking off smaller projects—like quick changes to our website—before rewriting my list for the following day.
After 4:00 p.m. – We have a lot of community events over lunch and dinner that often make the day longer, but I typically leave the office at 5pm. On nice days I drive by Lake Michigan to catch the sunset or watch the waves crashing over the pier.
I exercise before my husband gets home, then we eat dinner while watching a show on Netflix.
I check the foundation’s social media accounts a couple times in the evening since that’s when a lot of our followers are active, then get ready to do it all again the next day!
Thanks for sharing your day, Melanie!
Want to be featured in this series? Tell us what you do in a typical day as a nonprofit communications pro.