Day in the Life of a Nonprofit Communicator – Cindy Olnick

Cindy Olnick

Welcome to our latest installment in our series on the “Day in the Life” of nonprofit communicators! This series lets you describe your workday 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.

Cindy Olnick is Director of Communications for the Los Angeles Conservancy, a historic preservation organization celebrating its fortieth anniversary in 2018. She joined the staff in 2004 as the Conservancy’s first communications professional and now oversees a department of four. A native of Columbus, Georgia, Cindy worked in corporate communications in Cambridge, MA and managed internal communications for the Harvard Business School MBA Program before moving to L.A. in 2000.

And this is her typical day:

Before 8:00 a.m. –  If something urgent’s going on, I’ll check email before heading to work. Otherwise, I enjoy the family time.

I actually read a physical newspaper during breakfast.

8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m – I scan my inbox for any emails that need my immediate attention, read any breaking news, and prep for any meetings that day if I haven’t already.

10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. – Weekly standing meetings usually happen here–with my department (one-on-one or as a team) or with the other directors.

If I’m lucky, I’ll have a webinar with Kivi and Kristina! Or someone else–don’t get jealous [We aren’t! – Kristina]

If not, I might edit–newsletter copy, tour booklet, advocacy content for the web, membership materials, etc.

Or I’ll do some other creative work like managing new graphic elements for our 40th anniversary.

I try to make myself get up and walk around every once in a while.

12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. – I eat at my desk (I know…) while reading job-related news, like architecture, planning, and communications blogs.

I might do some technical work, like managing our new system for online membership payments, and/or pay some bills.

2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. – I go downstairs for a cappuccino (my daily treat since giving up Diet Coke).

I might have an internal meeting with my team and/or other departments to scope out projects, brainstorm membership strategy, or get input on a communications plan for a campaign.

After 4:00 p.m. – I try to finish up what I really have to get done that day, then plan for the next.

If a team member will be out the next day, I check in about project coverage.

I have a very sophisticated project management system that entails making lists on the back of old event tickets. But it works for me.

Thanks for sharing your day, Cindy!

Want to be featured in this series? Tell us what you do in a typical day as a nonprofit communications pro.



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Author: Kristina Leroux, Community Engagement Manager

I am the Community Engagement Manager at Nonprofit Marketing Guide.com.

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