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.
Share your day with us! Don’t be shy – tell us what you do in a typical day as a nonprofit communications pro.
Sarah Tarnopolsky is a Donor Relations Communications Officer at the University of Victoria, in British Columbia, Canada. She has worked for non-profit organizations throughout her career and has been at UVic since 2012, first in Alumni Relations, and now in Donor Relations. In her spare time she enjoys running, biking, swimming and other outdoor adventures on beautiful Vancouver Island.
And this is her typical day:
6:15 am – Wake up, short workout, shower, dress, then make a smoothie and head out the door
7:55 am – Cycle to work. I bike every day, rain or shine. It takes me 30 minutes and is a great way to start the day.
8:30 am – Arrive at my desk, check and respond to emails (both work and personal), grab some tea or coffee (this morning it’s coffee because we have a new office supply I want to try).
9:00 – 10:00 am – I set aside time each Wednesday morning for a social media check-in. This morning I check Twitter and take a look at what’s been going on in the university social media feeds the last few days on Facebook and Instagram. I follow a lot of non-profits and other universities on social media so I can see what they are doing and get some ideas. I also read two articles the Social Media Coordinator has emailed to me from an online course she is currently doing.
10:00 am – I spend some time preparing for a meeting later that day.
10:30 am – I print out some recent donor stories from the web to create a keepsake version for the subject. I write cover notes for each and put them in the mail. I record the actions in Raisers Edge and let the donors’ relationship managers know about the touch.
11:30 am – I email the producer of a new donor thank you video we are working on. We met on Monday, so I send notes from the meeting so he can draw up the contract. I then start looking through student letters I’ve recently received to select possible participants for the video.
12:00 – 12:55 pm – Lunch on campus with coworkers from our Alumni & Development unit. We have a book club and get together approximately once a month.
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm – Strategy meeting with the university Social Media Coordinator. We talk about what’s worked well over the last few months and share ideas about content and tactics for the next year.
2:00 – 3:00 pm – When I get back to the office, I handle a few emails that have come in over the last few hours and then get to work on my 2017 Social Media strategy while it’s fresh in my mind.
3:00 – 3:45 pm – My manager has requested we start to increase our use of video, and I need to bring forward a plan for how to do this and what investment is needed. I research video cameras and talk to a colleague to arrange to share the camera with alumni relations. I chat to our IT guy about a purchasing Final Cut Pro X, and then I research local training providers for videography and Final Cut Pro so I can improve my skills in this area. I go back to my manager with a plan and budget.
3:45 – 4:00 pm – An afternoon cup of tea and an energy ball, as I know I won’t eat dinner until late tonight. The university just unveiled a new look to the website, so I check how the changes have affected my area of the site, review the content I supplied, and send a note to my manager to update him.
4:00 pm – I conduct a phone interview with a student who’s currently on a co-op placement in another province. He’s originally from Somalia but grew up in a refugee camp in Kenya. He came to the university on a scholarship program and is nearing the end of his degree. His story leaves me inspired and uplifted.
5:00 pm – Cycle home.
5:30 pm – Team sports practice.
8:15 pm – When I get back from my practice, a friend pops over for a mini clothing swap. Then I eat dinner (leftovers from the night before), do the dishes (also left over from the night before), watch a little TV and head to bed to read.
I’m asleep by 10:30 pm.
Thanks for sharing your day, Sarah!
Want to be featured in this series? Tell us what you do in a typical day as a nonprofit communications pro.