A day in the life of a nonprofit worker

1. What is your name, organization and job title (you don’t have to give your name/organization if you don’t want to- it can be anonymous)?
My name is D’ana Downing, and I work at Marian House, a transitional and permanent housing program in Baltimore City, MD. I currently work in a two-woman development team as the Advancement Assistant.

2. What is the first thing you do when you get in the office?
Turn on my computer to Pandora; check my email and eat breakfast.

3. How do you spend your lunch break?
It really depends on the day, but 9 times out of 10, I’m having lunch with my co-workers. We all eat lunch together which is great for building staff morale and camaraderie. The majority of our staff are made up of sisters in religious communities; “nuns” (which is not politically correct). The sisters are amazing people and we have a really great time together at lunch – our conversations are hilarious!

4. Which part of your work do you enjoy most?
Hmmm, I really love that I work for an organization where I can SEE the direct impact of my job. I have the opportunity to interact with the residents, and our women are phenomenal with amazing personal testimonies and always have great attitudes on their progress in the program. I love to hear how thankful they are when they enter the program, their successes, and their appreciation to the dedicated and committed staff.
I also REALLY enjoy prospect research, or research of any kind – concepts for special events, trends in fundraising and annual campaigns, governance, advocacy. I’m an admitted research junkie – they call me “Fast Fingers”; I can find anything, anyone, anywhere.

5. If someone wanted my job, they would have to…be ready for anything!
Anyone who is a development professional knows that a “regular” work day is never fluid. There are a number of (insert here) interruptions, and needs that need to be addressed daily and you have to have the time management skills, technological savvy, and patience to deal with those things as they come.

6. What advice or tips do you have for other nonprofit professionals in your position?
Simply stated, “Keep it moving, and don’t sweat the small stuff!” Everyday is a platform for learning. It is up to you to take each daily work experience, and learn from it; growing as a professional and as a person. Never get too wrapped up in the day-to-day tasks that you forget the mission, forget the purpose of your work, and the transformative change that you are able to be a part of as a staff member of your organization. Always remember that you are a part of something bigger and better, and your work helps contribute to greater meaning.

If you are willing to be featured, please email me – kristen@advancementcompany.com

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