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.
Nancy XiáoRong Valentine is a self-taught watercolor artist and the Communications Assistant for Springboard for the Arts. She received her BA in Communication from University of Minnesota Duluth and worked on a marketing campaign that received an Award of Excellence from Explore Minnesota Tourism in 2016.
And this is her typical day:
Before 8:00 a.m. – The first thing I do after snoozing my alarm two or three times is reach over for my glass of water and take my gummy vitamins (I’ve always detested taking pills).
Soon after comes either the news or morning playlist (both from my phone), shower, makeup application, hair fussing and breakfast.
8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m – I head into the office around 9, so I generally spend my morning meal prepping and checking my planner. Once I’ve got the day outlined in a loose checklist, I pack up the car and head to the office.
After setting up my laptop at my work station, I head to the office mini-fridge to play food tetris with my lunch.
Next up is my favorite part of the day: pouring my first cup of coffee. I bring it back to my desk, check my email and start mentally prioritizing tasks for the day and filling out the social media calendar.
When 10am rolls around, I head to the large conference room for our bi-weekly full staff meeting.
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. – Every other Tuesday this time slot is reserved for full staff meetings. (With staff located in St. Paul and Fergus Falls, we have a screen and speaker system set up for teleconferencing.) We start the meetings with lightning round updates and I frantically take notes, make doodles and share program updates when it’s my turn. Sometimes we have snacks during this meeting time, which can be incredibly helpful for my brain if the meeting runs long.
12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. – After the staff meeting, I linger to see if there are any individuals that I need to catch up with about their program.
I then head back to my desk to start scheduling social media posts for the rest of the day/week for multiple channels.
Sometimes I forget to eat, so it’s nice when my coworkers announce it’s lunch time. If I remember to pack a lunch, I generally eat in the conference room with a handful of coworkers, but if I order in, it’s probably a rushed day and I can be found at my desk working between bites.
2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. – I’m a very focused individual, so during this time slot I am generally working away at scheduling social media posts, interacting with followers, answering emails or filling out our electronic newsletter.
But sometimes I treat myself to a walk about the office to get some exercise in and allow for some organic interaction with my wonderful coworkers. If my supervisor is around, this is generally the time we would check in with each other to discuss any pressing topics or joke around about a funny internet meme.
After 4:00 p.m. – Around 3:30 I start to create lists of things I need to accomplish the following day, so I know where to pick up the next morning.
I finish up a few emails or social posts, then pack up and head home.
When I first started at Springboard, one of the program directors challenged me NOT to bring home my work. This can be difficult for me since my mind rarely stops running, but since I’ve taken her advice, I’ve found myself able to be present with my friends and family and focus better during my work hours.
On the drive home I reflect on the day and make a mental list of what I need to write down when I get off the road. Once I’m home, I write that list down, then either start preparing dinner, or fill up a glass of water for my paint brushes.
Thanks for sharing your day, Nancy!
Want to be featured in this series? Tell us what you do in a typical day as a nonprofit communications pro.