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. Want to be featured in this series? Tell us what you do in a typical day as a nonprofit communications pro.
Genna Kasun is a marketing and advancement writer whose work varies from writing and supervising social media and enrollment content to grant writing, case statement work and institutional proposal writing. Most recently, she’s been delving into digital curation through platforms like Storify. She is also active in the Huntingdon, Pa., community, where she co-chaired a successful United Way Fundraising Campaign for 2013-14.
Here is her typical day:
Before 8:00 am: Although I wake up in bed, often giving my dog a quick scratch on the back before jumping in to the shower, my first official “act” of the day is to grab coffee.
Once a week, usually on a Wednesday (my busiest day), I hit up the local coffeeshop—Standing Stone Coffee Company—for my weekly indulgence: a small mocha latte with whipped cream and chocolate drizzle.
Once properly caffeinated, I head to work where I do a quick sweep of email for any urgent messages. I usually arrive at work at 7:45, to start at 8 a.m.
8:00 am – 10:00 am: For the first quarter of my day, I usually dig into a writing assignment—perhaps an alumni magazine story about social media use on campus or an informational brochure detailing the highlights of one of Juniata’s many academic departments.
If I’m lucky, I’ll be challenged to write a case statement, a written proposal inspiring a donor to support Juniata financially for one of our many development initiatives.
I like these projects the best because readers have to feel the need of the ask as well as see the wise reasons to invest in our College.
10:00 am – 12:00 pm: By 10 a.m., I am usually interrupted by a student. At first, it feels like an intrusion because I’ve been focused on writing—and nothing else—for the last two hours. Then, I remember the advantage of working at an institution of higher education: we get to interact with young adults who have the freshest ideas to be found on social media, technology, the many courses they are taking, their social lives, etc. Occasionally, the stress of an exam or a relationship swiftly ended will make them shed tears. I have lots of tissues stocked in my office for a reason. I often remember how I was that crying student one day, nearly 10 years ago.
After assigning her a work assignment, checking that she’s not near a breakdown, and brainstorming whatever we can, my student leaves to work at her laptop, scheduling social media posts for me or writing stories. Occasionally, I have an intuitive student editor, as I do now, who can edit other students’ work. It’s amazing to work with students whose talents and life experiences are so diverse. It’s energizing.
Just before lunch, I take a few moments, to search #juniata and #juniatacollege on various social media channels, sharing any user-generated content that is intriguing to the Juniata social accounts.
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm: At lunch time, I go home, checking on my dog, Eli. Once he has explored the far reaches of our back yard (it’s about 20 feet by 30 feet but he explores as if it were the Amazon), he waits for a treat and I leave him alone. I usually run an errand or two, sometimes stopping to shop in one of Huntingdon’s stores for a few minutes, before returning to my desk. I do eat lunch at my work space, but always try to take a break to relax.
Early afternoon is usually spent in meetings with clients. I enjoy this part about my job very much. Hearing what’s new at my alma mater is not only interesting, it’s empowering: I get to share the best things about my College through many media and to widely-varying audiences. To me, this means our message is still relevant and we’re engaged in the battle to be ever more so. Can you tell I love my job?
2:00 pm – 4:00 pm: Back to the grind…Following early afternoon meetings, I do choppy work assignments, where I have to edit only a few sections of something, quickly transitioning to one unrelated project after another. Or, I face the challenge of taking one story and dividing it into messages specifically for print, then Facebook, Twitter, and, my personal favorite, Instagram.
Starting at 3:30, I try to squeeze in reading one to two professional development articles. I read CASE Currents magazine, Smithsonian magazine, and the NYTimes. I scan Mashable for good content, listen to trainings on Lynda.com, and shop for new sites for great content regularly.
After 4:00 pm: After indulging my curiosity, I jot down any ideas that pop into my head from said stimulation and, as I lose steam for the day, I start on my email, cleaning out unnecessary requests, addressing emails that are worthy of action, and reading some of the content that seems to completely inundate me. I know it’s senseless to continue to collect so much content, but I thrive on it, so I let stream in unapologetically.
At 5 p.m., I go home, and, aside from a night or two per month, I am home completely in the evenings, bingeing on Netflix series with my husband, knitting (my passion), playing with Eli, and, some times, attending a meeting for the Huntingdon County Humane Society Marketing Committee or the Steering Committee of Leadership Huntingdon County. I think that taking time to oneself and one’s family is immensely important. But, conversely, that time spent having fun—whether I’m finding a pattern on a knitting app or reading a book for pleasure—often informs the ideas I present about how to market to people during my weekday work.
At the end of most days, I feel greatly satisfied not only at the work I’ve done but the many opportunities that have been given to me. How sweet it is to be so lucky.
Want to be featured in this series? Tell us what you do in a typical day as a nonprofit communications pro.