All this week, we are taking a look at what it means to be a CALM Communications Director (Collaborative, Agile, Logical, and Methodical).

Today, let’s talk about being Methodical.

You will always be short on time. You will always be surrounded by distractions. That’s why it is so important to be grounded in proven methods that you can always go back to. It’s sort of like meditating — it’s OK for your mind to wander off, but when it does, you bring the focus back.  The same goes with nonprofit marketing.

Problems That Arise When You Aren’t Methodical

There is no single job description for a nonprofit communications director, and good nonprofit marketing includes many skills and disciplines (not just writing and design, but psychology and neuroscience, to name a few). While that certainly keeps the job interesting, that kind of work-day diversity can also cause some problems.

  • Because your work touches on so many different topics, it’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole and get lost for hours — if not days — at a time.
  • As we discussed earlier this week, good nonprofit marketers are also collaborative and agile, but without good processes and methods in place, collaboration and agility can both become very time-consuming and incredibly inefficient.
  • If you don’t create methods for others to follow in your absence, and instead embed all the marketing and communications knowledge within yourself, you are ultimately failing your cause.

Three Ways to Be More Methodical

1. Use an editorial calendar.

No other single tool can shore up your marketing methodology better than an editorial calendar. A good editorial calendar system helps you be CALM in every way: collaborative (because it helps everyone see your communications plan in action and therefore contribute to it); agile (because you build in repurposing and room for the unexpected in the schedule; logical (because you can see how the communications channels and schedules work together toward a goal; and methodical (because creating the calendar is a process others can replicate and follow).

2. Set up systems and embrace tools that others can use and follow, with or without you.

For many of you, this will be one of those “just do it” and “be the change you seek” bits of advice. I hear from so many nonprofit communications directors who are working in nonprofits with mediocre management cultures. People waste incredible amounts of time because no one has put basic systems in place to get work done efficiently. Quit waiting for someone else to fix it.

Manage all the pieces with tools like Asana or Trello. Start using tools like Doodle and YouCanBook.Me for scheduling. Set up a Marketing Bank in the cloud where everyone can find all the marketing files they need. Create templates, outlines, or checklists that others can use as a starting point, whether it’s creating a flyer, writing a great client story, or responding to trolls in social media. Develop style guides so staff understand how your communications should look, sound, and feel.

3. Find a personal productivity system that works for you.

It’s tough to implement methods that keep your nonprofit marketing organized and on track when you can’t effectively manage your own time, attention and energy. There are many productivity methods out there, and I’ve tried quite a few myself. The one that works best for me is the CORD Productivity Model, described in the book, How to Be a Productivity Ninja:

  • C is for Capture/Collect.
  • O is for Organize.
  • R is for Review.
  • D is for Do.

Here are some additional tips on managing gmail  and tools to improve your writing that I shared recently on the blog.


That’s it: All this week you’ve read about Getting CALM and being Collaborative, Agile, Logical and Methodical. What do you think? What’s easiest and hardest for you? I hope you’ll share in the comments on any of this week’s posts.

Need help with being a CALM Communications Director? 





Published On: August 7, 2015|Categories: Nonprofit Communications, Nonprofit Training, Professional Development|

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