Erika Olson

Erika Olson

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.

Please share too! Don’t be shy – tell us what you do in a typical day as a nonprofit communications pro

As a freelancer, Erika loves to help mission-focused organizations get out from under the crush of heavy development and marketing workloads and back to making an impact and changing the world. 

The challenge of working in different environments, with different teams and different resources, makes each day fresh and keeps her on her toes. After more than 20 years in the field, Erika brings a broad perspective that can help clients drill down to essential questions and organize a practical action plan. While writing is her first love and favorite competency, she has a strong affection for spreadsheets, is known for her event kit and its signature “external brain,” and has mad Xacto knife and Spray Mount skills from her days at a quick print shop after college. 

She’s a proud native of the Pacific Northwest who loves the great outdoors, drinks a lot of coffee, and has a well-worn library card. She spends as much time as she can with her funny, smart, exhausting, precious family.

And this is her typical day:

Before 8:00 AM: Wake up at 5:30 AM and have coffee with my husband. Compare notes, look at schedule reminders, let the caffeine percolate into my gray matter.

Check in with the kids as each gets up and out the door to school. Make sure someone fed the dogs. I’m going out later, so shower and find presentable clothes.

By 7AM, head to my office and start the work day with the “easy” client emails and do a social media quick check.

8:00 AM: Proof a donation envelope and edit an event script. Send changes back to the designer and Exec Director.

8:30 AM: Set up a private Facebook discussion group for a client. Draft community guidelines, “welcome” message and statement of purpose.

9:15 AM: Check in with a client to be sure she’s proofed her updated bio, then send it along with a headshot to the PR person for her next speaking engagement.

9:30 AM: More coffee and a snack. Play fetch with the dogs for a few minutes.

10:00 AM: Finish a proposal and work plan for a contract extension with an existing client.

10:30 AM: Make website content updates on two client sites. Curse the typo I JUST found on a calendar listing that’s been up for at least a week.

11:15 AM: Check social media, re-send a request for photos to a client, then out the door for a lunch.

Noon: Reconnect with a former work colleague, now fellow freelancer. Compare workloads, leads, and catch up on family stuff.

1:00 PM: Hit the party supply store on the way home to pick up more clear “crystal” plastic trays.(You know the ones.)

1:45 PM: Send a press release to a client for final review. Proof and upload a blog post along with photos. Share the link with the client, schedule the social media post, and paste into next month’s e-news draft. Ask the site builder to take care of some website stuff that’s above my pay grade.

3:00 – 5:00 PM is family prime time. Kids are back, hubs rolls in, we figure out a dinner plan. Answer a few emails but stay out of the office.

7:00 PM: Quick return to the office to edit a direct mail appeal for a pro bono client. Reply to a few last emails. Look at tomorrow’s schedule.

7:30-9:00 PM: YOGA. YES.

9:30 PM: G’night!

Thanks for sharing your day, Erika!

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

Published On: September 19, 2016|Categories: Your Nonprofit Marketing Career Path|