A Day in the Life of a Nonprofit Communicator – Glenna Wortman-Obie
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.
Glenna Wortman-Obie works at Intermountain, a 105 year-old agency serving emotionally disturbed children and their families. She started there about six years ago as the Manager of the President’s Council. About a year ago, the position of Director of Communication and Marketing opened up and she was appointed last November. The agency is in a period of dramatic change and growth and the pressure and pace are overwhelming. She has a BA in English from the University of Great Falls and an MA in Communication and Advertising from Michigan State University. She has worked in the nonprofit field in communications and development for most of her career.
Here is her typical day:
Before 8:00 am: I’m lucky not to have to get to work until 9:00 am and that’s fortunate since I’m not a morning person. Still, by 8:00 I’m usually drinking my second cup of coffee, checking my schedule and my email and looking through the newspaper for anything relevant.
8:00 – 10:00 am: I have several burning issues with a printer (the bid and the bill for the stationary order don’t match and another project is late) that I need to resolve first thing. Then I return some phone calls and try to get some time to organize the information for a website that hosts our information. Our agency has been working on strategic planning this summer so I’m happy to send my offering for the new vision statement to the Director of Strategic Planning. (Every director and manager had to submit their idea.)
10:00 am – 12:00 pm: I try to work on copy for a flier but the phone interrupts. Good news! It is the Director of Marketing at the local Chamber of Commerce calling to say we will be featured in the September issue of Business to Business. I need to put some information and photos together for their writer by next Monday. I take a few minutes to check Facebook and Facebook Analytics and then review and approve our donor newsletter, Partners, which the Development Department writes and produces.
12:00 – 2:00 pm: Lunch is a quick stop between running errands. Then, back at my desk, I review and approve some phone directory advertising and then meet with some of the development staff. They want a short video to play at a special event scheduled for mid December, so at 1:00 pm I present my idea for music and a theme to tie the whole thing together but everyone is lukewarm on it. Back to the drawing board! The event coordinator and I then do a walk-through of the Education Center in our new building because we are hosting the Chamber of Commerce in two weeks for an after-hours reception. Someone gave us a huge ficus tree and that thing has to go! It takes up too much space.
2:00 – 4:00 pm: I need to get a project proposal finished today to send to the senior leadership since I meet with them tomorrow afternoon. The proposal is to create an intra-agency database for our referral network. (With so many different services and professionals, this is an absolute necessity but harder to accomplish than you might think.) I have met with IT and the database manager on several occasions to hone the proposal but judging how much time data-entry will take is almost impossible.
After 4:00 pm: Things quiet down with email and the phone so this is when I get the most time to work on the things I started earlier in the day. I am usually still here at 6:00 pm and often take time to visit with the Director of Finance or the Director of Special Projects and Government Affairs or Human Resources in the late afternoon. Around 6:30 I head home, feeling like I haven’t gotten much done.
Want to be featured in this series? Tell us what you do in a typical day as a nonprofit communications pro.