by Kivi Leroux Miller

When I asked nonprofit communicators how they felt about 2011 for the Nonprofit Communications Trends Report, many of you said you were simply overwhelmed . . . with too much work, too many decisions, too many channels to manage, too many people to reach.

Making Your Job Less Overwhelming

It's one of my goals to make your job feel less overwhelming. That was my primary motivation for writing the book, The Nonprofit Marketing Guide: High-Impact, Low-Cost Ways to Build Support for Your Good Cause (Amazon link). It's meant to be a guide for getting a handle on your job, and many people have told me that it's really helped them find some focus and manage their workloads better.

Here are five more tools that will help you get organized, manage your workload, and communicate more clearly with others, all of which will go a long way toward helping you feel less overwhelmed.

1. The Marketing Bank

Your Marketing Bank is the single place where you keep all of your marketing stuff -- especially the stuff that you are frequently asked to give to others, like your logos, or your boilerplate text, or the latest stats on this or that. Lots of different kinds of files belong in your marketing bank.

I've created a special page about Marketing Banks at https://nonprofitmarketingguide.com/bank

2. The Editorial Calendar

Editorial calendars help you see the content you need to create over the next several days, week, and months, depending on how you use them. You can create them by channel (e.g., a calendar for your newsletter and another for Facebook), by audience (e.g., how we'll communicate with parents this month, versus communicating with teachers), or by program (e.g., so you see how different programs are included throughout your communications channels).

I've created a few sample editorial calendars in .doc format for you just so you can see how they work, but I personally recommend using something like Google calendars or a spreadsheet.

3. Editorial and Design Style Guides

Do you reinvent the wheel each time you create a new publication? Are you constantly making the same kinds of edits to drafts by others? Is your "look" an inconsistent mess? It's time for some style guides.

Here's what goes in your editorial style guide.

Here what goes in your graphic design style guide.

4. A Personal System for Keeping Track of Everything

I have yet to find the single perfect tool for keeping track of everything, but I do feel like I have a pretty good handle on my schedule, my to-dos, my delegation of work to my assistant, my content creation schedule, which blogs I want to track, etc. Here's how I do it.

5. Affordable, Convenient Skill Building

I've taken several informal polls of nonprofit marketers, asking them how much time they give themselves each week to read up on what other nonprofits are doing via the nonprofit marketing and fundraising blogosphere, or other favorite sources. Most people say less than an hour a week. That's not only a shame from a personal development point of view, but it's also a shame for your organization.

It probably means you aren't working nearly as smart as you could be. We are very lucky in the nonprofit marketing and fundraising world to have a very robust, open community of nonprofits, consultants and vendors who share lots of great stories, case studies, and best practices with each other. You need to make time to learn from them, and to use that to build your own skills.

You've found us here at Nonprofit Marketing Guide, which is a fabulous first step! 🙂

But . . .  there's more. Much more. Do what you can to stay up with what's happening. You'll do a much better job and make much smarter decisions.

For example, start with some of  these blogs I follow regularly and see if you should be following them too.

Of course, the All-Access Pass to our webinar series is another great way to keep up and to develop your skills. See why your fellow nonprofit marketers love their All-Access Passes.

You care about your organization. Don't burn out. Take the time to make your workload less overwhelming by using these tools.

This article first appeared in the April 12, 2011 edition of Nonprofit Marketing Tips, our weekly e-newsletter.