Welcome to the 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.
Celeste Kaufman is the Manager of Marketing and Communications for Greenwich House, a nonprofit organization that provides social services and arts programming in Greenwich Village in NYC. She is also a freelance writer, primarily writing about the arts and culture. Focusing on communications in the arts, her experience prior to Greenwich House included working for a fine arts gallery, a community arts space, and a college art museum. She dabbles in pretty much every arts and craft practice you can think of, and also is one half of an independent team of curators.
And this is her typical day:
Before 8:00 a.m. – I’m sleeping! I’m a night owl and I’m also a freelance writer, so I stay up late unwinding from my day or working on freelance projects. Thankfully, I’m able to do the more art-world schedule of 10-6 rather than the nonprofit-world schedule of 9-5, which allows me to sleep in a little.
8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m – I like to listen to podcasts on my way to work to ease my brain into thinking mode. The length of my commute is almost perfectly suited for one episode, then I’ll listen to a couple high-energy songs on my walk to my building to pump myself up.
When I get to my desk, I start by making myself some coffee. I brought in my French Press, which always feels a little pretentious, but I love having my favorite coffee to sip all day and brewing it is a nice zen morning ritual that officially gets me in gear to take on the day.
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. – I start by checking my email and answering anything urgent or adding items to that day’s to-do list. I’m a big list and calendar person. I have a Google Calendar that keeps track of all my long-term deadlines and goals as well as far-off events to think about the bigger picture, then I have a paper planner where I’ll break down my day-to-day to-do as it unfolds and plot out my week’s smaller reminders.
I’ll usually start with what I can accomplish the fastest like a social media post, a quick update on the website, or some easy edits for copy or a design I’ve been working on that doesn’t require too much deep thinking. I like being able to cross off a couple items from my list right away.
2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. – Once I feel like I’m really rolling after all those easy tasks, I’ll dig into my bigger projects. I’m typically juggling a couple long-term projects at a time, so I’ll plan out the smaller steps in advance, keeping each deadline in mind, and I’ll work on one step throughout the week, pushing forward with my own ideas and then adjusting to feedback from my team. This might be putting together some reports as the project manager for our website redesign, designing a brochure for one of our programs that needs updating, or working on a marketing strategy for an upcoming event.
I’ll eat lunch around 2 since that’s a nice breakup of my day. I bring lunch 4 days a week and then on Fridays I’ll order delivery for a little treat for myself.
After 4:00 p.m. – In the late afternoon, I like to knock out a short-term project or two. Maybe I’ll design a draft of an ad, or do a more complex change to the website.
It’s nice to end the day with a sense of accomplishment rather than leave while you’re swept up in the middle of something. I also leave my more abstract tasks that involve more creative or analytical thinking for later in the day when I’m the most up for brainstorming. I do my best creative work between 8pm and 4am, so, this is the best option for adjusting that to my workday.
Then, I’ll take a look at my calendars and my lists, feel great about all the stuff I crossed off, and make a plan for the next day.
A combination of being environmentally-conscious, wanting to make my cubicle feel the homiest it can, and caring about surrounding myself with aesthetically-pleasing things resulted in me bringing a collection of fun dishes into work, so the real demarcation between my work day and my after-work-day is when I wash my French Press and whatever dishes I used that day. I hate washing dishes, but this routine does help to wind myself down and signal to my brain that its workday is over.
My job is respectful of a work-life balance, so once I leave the office I can truly leave everything behind. I can head off to relax at home, go to an event, hit the gym, or see friends worry-free.
Thanks for sharing your day, Celeste!
Want to be featured in this series? Tell us what you do in a typical day as a nonprofit communications pro.