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.
Beth Ritter Ruback serves as Communications & Development Director for The Crisis Center of Johnson County, Iowa, whose programs range from immediate emotional support (specializing in suicide prevention and intervention) to emergency food to crisis financial assistance. The agency has a $1.1 million budget and 65% of those dollars are raised through marketing and public relations efforts, fundraising, special events and grants. Prior to joining The Crisis Center, Beth held positions in corporate public relations, service marketing, and tobacco control advocacy. Beth also shared an example of using humor in nonprofit communications that appeared in Kivi’s book, Content Marketing for Nonprofits.
Here is her typical day:
Before 8:00 am: From 6:00 – 7:30 am: Review daily calendar and task list. Read headlines and top stories of two local newspapers, sometimes the third regional newspaper. Check social media for trending topics. Review email and respond to any that require detailed and/or technical answers. This can also be a very productive time of brainstorming and/or writing for me. Occasionally, send out a press release so it’s at the top of email inboxes before media morning staff meetings. Between 8:30 – 9:00 am, drive to work while listening to local radio talk show for more news.
8:00 am – 10:00 am: Check in with department staff on day’s priorities and adjust editorial schedules as needed by developing news. Start any To Do’s that are time sensitive – begin email dialogues, leave voice mail messages, edit writing produced by staff, etc. Check in with executive director. Respond to quick and easy and/or urgent email. Respond to media and/or donor contacts.
10:00 am – 12:00 pm: Both internal and external meetings are typically scheduled during this timeframe, usually two or three days of the week. Before, after, and in between return any phone messages. After meetings, make progress and/or (hopefully) finish top 2 or 3 items on To Do list. Respond to media and/or donor contacts.
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm: Realize around 1:30 pm that I haven’t eaten lunch yet. Eat at desk. Monitor social media. Glance at noon headlines. Respond to email that require detailed and/or technical answers. Respond to media and/or donor contacts.
2:00 pm – 4:00 pm: When no meetings are scheduled, this time is used for donor calls, project work, reports, and/or focused grant and other writing time. Attempt to screen so only responding to media and/or donor contacts or issues from staff or executive director (key word: attempt).
After 4:00 pm: Respond to last minute needs of staff. Monitor social media. Prepare for evening or next morning meetings (typically have one or two evening meetings or events a week). If no evening work activity, head home between 5:30 – 6:00 pm. Wherever I’m headed, listen to national news during drive. During evening hours, I will respond to email/text/calls from executive director and/or media only but I do usually check social media.
Want to be featured in this series? Tell us what you do in a typical day as a nonprofit communications pro.