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.
Jessica manages communications and provides program support for the Children’s Cause for Cancer Advocacy, which advocates for better policies, research and resources for children with cancer and childhood cancer survivors. Jess joined the DC-based advocacy organization in 2007 after graduating from American University and now works part-time from her home office in Iowa.
Here is her typical day:
Before 8:00 am: Around 7:30 am, I start the coffee pot and power on the desktop in my home office. While the early-morning necessities are booting up, I take a 3-minute drive down the road to drop my one-year-old daughter [pictured] off at daycare. As a part-time employee, I worked well with her by my side when she was infant in a cradle, but now that she’s a busy toddler, she gets some much-needed play time in at daycare — while I get some much-needed time to focus completely on work.
8:00 am – 10:00 am: First up when I’m back at my desk is to check my inbox and my colleagues’ shared calendars. As the only one on staff who works from home – and since my home is 900 miles from our DC office! – the shared calendar is my lifeline to my coworkers. After responding to anything urgent and creating a task list for the day, I check for the news that might be relevant to our community through the day’s Google Alerts and our social networks.
What’s the talk of the town, and does it change our planned communication for today? On this day, that answer was ‘yes.’ I’d drafted a blog post that was scheduled for distribution on this day with a ‘call to action’ on one of two pieces of legislation we’re currently focusing our advocacy efforts around. As luck would have it, there was activity in the last 24 hours on the other piece of legislation, making it a much more interesting topic for today’s post. Time to re-schedule the already-written piece and start from scratch!
10:00 am – 12:00 pm: The new blog post takes a bit of time to draft, especially since it will greatly benefit from an original graphic. I tap into my creative side and come up with a map that will visually show the information we’re sharing. I know the graphic will make the post much more interesting when we share it over our social networks, so it’s worth the extra time.
At the same time, the boss is emailing me about a just-published research study that we should share with our online community. I’m mentally planning which to share first – the study or the blog post.
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm: At noon, I go retrieve my daughter from daycare. She’s always exhausted from a big morning of fun, so she goes down immediately for (hopefully!) a 3-hour nap when I get her home.
While waiting for staff feedback on my blog post, I work on the next big communications item for the week: an email newsletter we just added to the editorial calendar on Monday. Typically our e-newsletters come just once a month, but this is the childhood cancer community’s national awareness month and there’s been a lot of activity that we want to be sure our email network – who might not be following us on Facebook, Twitter or our blog – hasn’t missed.
2:00 pm – 4:00 pm: Blog edits are back and it’s time to post and share. While I’m on Facebook and Twitter anyway, I take some time to look through the recent posts and see if there’s other good information to comment on or share, on behalf of the organization.
Our events manager needs a quick edit made to the website for a reception we’re hosting next week, so I log in to our Content Management System to make the update for her. How come ‘quick edits’ are never quick, when it comes to a website?
Like clockwork, my toddler is up from her nap at 3 pm sharp. Stop the work-timer: it’s snack time!
After 4:00 pm: I try hard to fit in most of my part-time work hours during the early part of the day, when my time isn’t divided between a toddler and my work. But it’s a never-ending challenge, especially as a work-from-home staff member in the age of the internet. When my Outlook chimes a new email or my Facebook shows a new update on the organization account, sometimes I just can’t resist turning the work-timer back on and jumping back into the fray.
Want to be featured in this series? Tell us what you do in a typical day as a nonprofit communications pro.