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.
Would YOU like to be featured in this series? Tell us what you do in a typical day as a nonprofit communications pro.
Rachel Lichtman is the Communications Manager at The Trevor Project. As the organization’s primary copywriter and copy editor, Rachel oversees Trevor’s unique, youth-focused, and affirming voice while coordinating external communications, publications, blog opportunities, and more. You can contact her at Rachel.Lichtman@TheTrevorProject.org.
Here is a typical day:
Before 8:00 am: Wake Up! – Check to see what emails have been missed overnight, and reply to anything urgent.
Then, there’s the breakfast dilemma. Today is quickly getting away from me already, so I microwave some bacon and grab a pluot from our Sunday farmer’s market trip.
Email Check #2 – Make sure that my 30 minute drive won’t leave anything unanswered. Don’t worry, I never text and drive!
8:00 am – 10:00 am: I try to keep my morning free, and usually start my meetings after 9:30 a.m. That gives me time to prioritize my to-do list for the day, eek out any urgent needs, and answer outstanding emails.
The first thing I do every morning is grab water, tea, and any extra breakfast snacks. Today, someone’s baked fresh cookies and I couldn’t resist grabbing one to augment my earlier bacon-only meal.
Until 10:00 a.m. I have time to finalize the copy for a new toolkit that supports our regional outreach volunteer groups and synthesize and spruce-up our live auction lot descriptions for our upcoming gala. Sometimes, if the office is buzzing, I’ll put on some rain or ocean sounds to neutralize my space. It can really help, especially if I’m facing some writer’s block!
10:00 am – 12:00 pm: Once a month, all of the staff get together for a 90 minute meeting. It’s a great opportunity for the whole team to check-in with each other, learn more about the young people we serve and the unique issues they face, and focus on a specific topic-of-interest that relates to our mission.
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm: Lunch time! – Usually, this is at my desk; especially during the busy days. It just so happens that immediately after our all-staff meeting, the Marketing/Communications Team Check-In begins. That means muting the phone periodically to sneak bites of my grilled chicken salad. Mmm…
Since our team is bi-coastal, we use this time to touch-base on the various projects we are all working on. For some items, we’ll brainstorm collectively to strengthen a campaign or strategy.
1:00 pm – 1:45 pm: No time for a break, yet! Hop onto a meeting with an external group to share our goals for the upcoming year, and explore possible collaborations.
1:45 pm – 2:00 pm: I seize the opportunity to grab some more tea and allow myself to scroll through some favorite websites and social media platforms. It’s a much needed break that allows my mind to wander, if only for 10 minutes.
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm: Before my next meeting at 2:30 p.m., I follow up on any emails I’ve missed. One of my tricks for efficient email replies: I use a purple “Action Needed” category tag for emails that require a direct response, or a red “Important” category tag for items that I might want to reference later. When an email comes in, I tag it immediately. Later, it’s much easier to find.
From 2:30 to 3:00, I have a quick meeting with our marketing and design specialist, as well as our senior community engagement manager, to touch-base on a project for volunteers. Since I’m the only communications team member on the West Cost, my day involves a lot of phone time!
3:00 pm – 4:00 pm: I love when my meetings end relatively early. It gives me hours of unbroken time to write, edit, and power through my To-Do list. Right now I have a few projects that require a nice chunk of time, so I’ll use the rest of the day to sort through them.
After 4:00 pm: After 4:00 p.m. the office gets a little quieter. Our east coast office is usually empty by this time, so I start asking myself a few questions that will help me organize my personal agenda: What needs to be addressed before tomorrow? Are there any email conversations that haven’t been resolved? Is there a task that I’ll need to tackle first thing in the morning?
With the questions answered in a To-Do list marked “December 3,” I continue my projects. Right now, I’m building a new guest blog for Huffington Post for an upcoming awareness week.
Around 5:30 p.m. I wrap it up, put away my tea mug, shut down my computer and turn off my desk lamp. Even though I’m on my way out of the office, I’ll answer any time-sensitive emails that come through my inbox before the next day. I make it a point to be accessible, and to make sure my team knows that I have their back if they need me.
At 6:15 p.m. I walk through the door of my home. Now, it’s time to relax, unwind with my partner, and catch-up on our favorite shows. Phew! Until tomorrow!
Want to be featured in this series? Tell us what you do in a typical day as a nonprofit communications pro.