Archive for the ‘A day in the life…’ Category

A day in the life of a nonprofit worker

February 26, 2010

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)
Martin Wera – Nonprofit Services Manager, Charities Review Council

2. What is the first thing you do when you get in the office?
Put my lunch in the fridge, check email, check my calendar, and check to see if any nonprofits have finished the Accountability Wizard (the online educational tool the Charities Review Council has for nonprofits). After that, it varies from day to day.

3. How do you spend your lunch break?
During baseball season – check the updates about the Twins. Usually though I check the MinnPost Daily Glean, Politico, and any other news updates. Often I’ll check some nonprofit blogs as well.

4. Which part of your work do you enjoy most?
One of the best things about my job is the opportunity to connect and work with a variety of nonprofits. Depending on which organizations are going through a review, every day is different. Not only is the organization different (e.g. size, issue area, etc.), but also questions that they have about the review and the Accountability Standards. I also enjoy the fact that I feel like in working with nonprofits meet our standards, I’m part of the process of helping them be more effective, healthy organizations.

5. Please finish this sentence: If someone wanted my job, they would have to…..
…be a nonprofit geek.

6. What advice or tips do you have for other nonprofit professionals in your position?
This is trite, but true – do what gives you energy. Having worked at a variety of nonprofits, this has been the clearest lesson I’ve learned. From this point, everything else falls into place.

I am looking for people to participate in this series, if you are interested, please email me – kristen@advancementcompany.com

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A day in the life of a nonprofit worker

February 26, 2010

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)
Trista Harris, Executive Director at Headwaters Foundation for Justice and chief blogger at New Voices of Philanthropy.

2. What is the first thing you do when you get in the office?
I check the list of most important things that I need to accomplish for the day, that I left for myself the night before and work on the task that will move our organization the furthest. It is usually something that needs some sort of strategic thinking, like our strategy to approach an institutional funder or developing key messages for a media interview.

3. How do you spend your lunch break?
My favorite way to spend lunch is to meet with our individual donors. It is amazing to see what draws people to become a donor to a social justice foundation. Many of our donors are part-time or full-time activists for the causes that they care about and I always learn something new when I meet with them. I also really enjoy having lunch with other professional grantmakers in the Twin Cities. You can compare notes and strategize about how to effect the issues that your foundations are working on.

4. Which part of your work do you enjoy most?
Headwaters support grassroots community organizing, so I really enjoy seeing how neighborhood residents will band together around a common cause, like getting rid of an environmental hazard in their neighborhood, and make real change through that collective action. Individuals working together can make the impossible, possible.

5. Please finish this sentence: If someone wanted my job, they would have to…..
Believe in the power of each person and each dollar. When you meet with a group of volunteers that is starting to organize low-income residents to try to fix a systemic problem, like racial discrimination in housing, it can be really easy to underestimate the type of difference that they can make. I’ve learned through this work that those individuals can create permanent policy change that can impact thousands and thousands of people because they are drawing attention to something that is unjust.

There are grassroots activists that make $20-50 gifts to Headwaters and a lot of people might feel that a small gift doesn’t really make a big difference but what we have found is that our $20 donors can be our biggest advocates. They tell their friends why supporting community organizing is important and they start organizing donors. When you start adding all of those gifts together and you invest in cutting edge groups, amazing things happen.

6. What advice or tips do you have for other nonprofit professionals in your position?
Don’t forget to make sure that the pipeline of leaders continues behind you. None of us got where we are without mentors and people pulling for us, so make sure that you are that person for someone else.

A day in the life of a nonprofit worker

February 26, 2010

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)
I’m Christopher Whitlatch, Manager of Marketing and Communications at The Pittsburgh Foundation

2.What is the first thing you do when you get in the office?
I check our Twitter, Facebook and blog accounts. I answer any replies and feedbacks that I did not get to in the previous day. I check my email and flag items that need responses.

3.How do you spend your lunch break?
I take a break from my day to read the newspaper or book and grab a bite to eat most days. I try and lunch with colleagues or friends at least once a week to socialize.

4.Which part of your work do you enjoy most?
I enjoy working with the people of the community. My position allows me to interact with donors, grantees, other nonprofits, and community members at large. I enjoy using tools such as social media to tell their stories.

5.Please finish this sentence: If someone wanted my job, they would have to…..
Participate and listen. My job is 2/3 listening to the community and 1/3 talking. With a concentration on using digital media, you need to acquire the skills of a storyteller, community builder, and learn when to participate and when to listen.

6.What advice or tips do you have for other nonprofit professionals in your position?
Don’t ignore the new digital tools – they are wonderful tools for nonprofits. In all the floods and fires that you deal with on a daily basis, remember the people you impact and interact with them on a regular basis. That is what makes my days so interesting.

A day in the life of a nonprofit worker

February 26, 2010

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)
Sterling Harris, PAVSA (Program for Aid to Victims of Sexual Assault), Community Education/Case Tracking Coordinator – which only describes maybe 1/10 of what I do!

2. What is the first thing you do when you get in the office?
Check my phone and email messages. Anything to do with clients takes priority. I primarily work with women and girls age 14 and up who have been sexually assaulted. Lately, I seem to be working with more mothers whose children have been assaulted. Most have reported their assaults to law enforcement and I act as a liaison with the criminal justice system. Many need support in other areas of their lives and I do my best to be creative in finding resources and options that may be helpful to them.

3. How do you spend your lunch break?
Usually with my amazing coworkers, sitting around the kitchen table. We often have women from the neighborhood who will drop in around the lunch hour. We will always drum up something so they can join us for lunch, if they choose.

4. Which part of your work do you enjoy most?
Working with women and girls. Many of the people who find themselves in our office have been discounted by so many people in their own lives. When people who have experienced sexual violence come here, they are valued as survivors and human beings who deserve justice and utmost care.

5. Please finish this sentence: If someone wanted my job, they would have to…never refrain from asking why sexual violence exists and why so many victims are treated so poorly in the system. The person would need to have an open mind, healthy coping skills, good boundaries, solid work ethic and a sense of humor

6. What advice or tips do you have for other nonprofit professionals in your position?
Take care of yourself and never give up.

I am looking for new nonprofit workers to be featured. If you want to share a day in your life, please email me – kristen@advancementcompany.com

A day in the life of a nonprofit worker

February 26, 2010

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)
I’m Luise Barnikel, Sales and Marketing Associate at IssueLab.

2.What is the first thing you do when you get in the office?
I get some cold water from the fridge, open our windows and sit down to check email and my calendar for the day. Depending on how many items are still on my list from the day before, I also spend a bit of time looking at our social media groups and accounts. A fairly routine hour of my mornings is spent going through my reader to get newest blog posts and third sector news, including feeds about comments I’ve made or posts I’ve written. It’s important to listen and reply to these.

3.How do you spend your lunch break?
Recently I’ve been trying to spend a bit of time eating or going for a walk outside. I’m happy that’s an option after this seemingly eternal and frigid Chicago winter. Still, I spend many of my lunch breaks eating at my desk. When that’s the case, I try to do some off-screen reading (here at IssueLab there’s always a great nonprofit report floating around!), or check into news and other sites that give me a break.

4.Which part of your work do you enjoy most?
I enjoy it when people find IssueLab’s work and tools helpful. It’s not only my job at IssueLab, but also IssueLab’s mission to nonprofits to help folks communicate. When that gets done effectively and we can see the results through more traffic on our forum, more research contributors or more organizations partnering on our services, it’s very rewarding.

5.Please finish this sentence: If someone wanted my job, they would have to…..
…be persistent! It’s difficult to build a solid brand and get attention on a small budget. On top of taking every good opportunity to get your word out there, it’s important to follow-up and build meaningful connections – and that takes time.

6.What advice or tips do you have for other nonprofit professionals in your position?
You’re important. Don’t get discouraged and be patient. Especially now, many nonprofits are dealing with (even) smaller budgets. Everything is a process, and it might take a while to see results of your marketing efforts. It’s important to measure returns and evaluate your work, but giving it your all is the best you can do.

I am looking for new nonprofit workers to be featured. If you want to share a day in your life, please email me – kristen@advancementcompany.com

A day in the life of a nonprofit worker

February 26, 2010

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)
Krista Francis, Director of Human Resources at Jubilee Association of Maryland (@jubileehr). We provide residential and related services to adults with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. Our office is in Kensington, MD, a suburb of Washington, DC. I love my job and I’ve been there 9 years. When my boss is away, I am Acting Executive Director, so my life is busy.

2. What is the first thing you do when you get in the office?
I wish I could give a more inspiring answer, but I delete all the spam the junk folder missed! While my computer is waking up, I go make coffee if it’s not already perking. I check in with my early arriving co-workers, Shannon and Aarti. J A few minutes of peace and relationship-building before the phone starts ringing! We empty the dishwasher together and catch up on our lives.

3. How do you spend your lunch break?
I often get soup from the Kensington Market down the street. I might eat in the kitchen with co-workers or meet my hubby for a picnic in the beautiful park down the street. Probably two days are working lunches of one kind or another. If I eat at my desk, I check twitter or work on a blog post.

And once a month, I make it a point to get together with my HR friends from other agencies. Feels so good to get out and connect with them!

4. Which part of your work do you enjoy most?
Recruiting and onboarding, absolutely. I love connecting the best candidates to our positions and helping them transition into their new jobs.

I also love the positive influence I have on our culture, our policies, our practices, our staff. I love working at an amazing, reputable firm and hiring amazing talent that will continue the legacy.

Finally, I love the variety and diversity in my duties and knowing that every day I make a positive difference in the lives of people with disabilities.

5. Please finish this sentence: If someone wanted my job, they would have to…..
Learn how to keep secrets. Be discreet. Multi-task. Give people bad news. Think both strategically and long-term. Be detail-oriented and have good follow-through. Broker deals. See both sides. See the forest and the trees. Connect with the mission and vision of the company until it becomes your own.

6. What advice or tips do you have for other nonprofit professionals in your position?
Stay on top of the trends in both human resources and your specific industry. Don’t get complacent.

Strive to be the best. Quality attract quality, which attracts more quality.

Connect with others. Human resources is a hard profession and it is easy to feel isolated and alone. Your co-workers don’t understand what you do and they have no concept of the demands on your time and psyche! Talking to, tweeting, e-mailing and meeting other HR people makes all the difference. Reach out and get to know each other. Share information, generously share your resources and best practices.

Continue to learn and grow. Money is always tight in nonprofits, but be creative so that you can attend conferences and seminars. Get outside your agency. Mentor young folks. Pass on your expertise. Experiment with social media. Do something new.

I am looking for new nonprofit workers to be featured. If you want to share a day in your life, please email me – kristen@advancementcompany.com

A day in the life of a nonprofit worker

February 26, 2010

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 Jennifer Edel and I’m the Coordinator of Training and Community Partnerships for the Community Justice Project. We are a non-profit program that recruits and trains volunteers from the community to mentor offenders at the Hennepin County Adult Correctional Facility.

2. What is the first thing you do when you get in the office?
The first thing I do when I get in the office is read my emails, listen to my voicemails, and respond to them.

3. How do you spend your lunch break?
I usually spend my lunch break in the break room eating food I prepared at home. Occasionally I go out for lunch with a co-worker.

4. Which part of your work do you enjoy most?
What I enjoy most is working with the mentors. I enjoy learning about them, their life experiences, and why they are interested in mentoring offenders. We have mentors from all ages, backgrounds, and experiences.

5. Please finish this sentence: If someone wanted my job, they would have to…
Be organized and willing to work with people. Besides working with the mentors I prepare materials for trainings, contact mentors about different events, put together the mentor newsletter, and attend community meetings.

6. What advice or tips do you have for other nonprofit professionals in your position?
Learn by doing. Also be open to trying new things and taking on new roles. Networking is also important. It is good to attend community and other meetings where you have the chance to meet new people and learn about different resources.

A day in the life of a nonprofit worker

February 26, 2010

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)
Stephen Bauer MS
Executive Director, Nonprofit Workforce Coalition
American Humanics
The Nonprofit Workforce Coalition is comprised of 70 nonprofits, academic centers, associations, foundations and consulting companies focused on recruiting the next generation of nonprofit sector leadership.

2. What is the first thing you do when you get in the office?
Write down all of the things floating around in my head from the commute into work…then prioritize the to-do list for the day.

3. How do you spend your lunch break?
I try extremely hard to take a lunch break…It is the only break I take during the day so I would prefer to have lunch with co-workers or friends and socialize a bit before heading back to work.

4. Which part of your work do you enjoy most?
Connecting people in the sector to better improve their reach or accomplish their goals. We can accomplish so much more working together than we can working apart. I am a true believer in collaborative action.

5. Please finish this sentence: If someone wanted my job, they would have to…..
If someone wanted my job they would have to…be flexible, open to multiple view points and be a strategic thinker. It is also vital to listen and truly get to know other organizations to examine ways that they can benefit from partnerships and collaborations.

6. What advice or tips do you have for other nonprofit professionals in your position?
Stay focused on the core mission work of your collaborative. It is easy with multiple voices to get side-tracked and spread to thin. Set reachable goals with intermediate measurable results that show progress towards those goals and stay completely focused on that work.

A day in the life of a nonprofit worker

February 26, 2010

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)
Stephanie Jacobs, Consulting Associate at Fieldstone Alliance

2. What is the first thing you do when you get in the office?
When I walk in the door, I say hello to my co-workers who are already hard at work. Then I turn on my computer and check my email, Twitter, Facebook, and calendar.

3. How do you spend your lunch break?
I like to eat lunch with my co-workers. Sometimes we are all too busy to have lunch together, but we try to eat together as often as we can. There are picnic tables right outside of our office, so in the summer we eat outside almost every day.

4. Which part of your work do you enjoy most?
I enjoy learning about what makes nonprofit organizations tick. In my work, I get the chance to interact with and learn about organizations all across the country. It’s amazing how organizations can appear so different on the outside in terms of industry and culture, but they face many of the same issues and challenges. While the organizations may share struggles, the people who work at these nonprofits also have their passion and dedication for their work in common. It’s their passion that keeps me going and makes me work harder.

5. Please finish this sentence: If someone wanted my job, they would have to…..
Know how to manage time and personalities. I’m often working on many kinds of projects (organization and life stage assessments, strategy development, collaboration) involving many different people (the consultants I’m working with, the clients, and sometimes the organization’s stakeholders). Not only do I need to assist with the tasks of the project, keeping the client’s needs and unique situation in mind, I also need to be a team player, working with the consultants and the client to ensure the project is successful. It takes good time and people management skills to get things done.

6. What advice or tips do you have for other nonprofit professionals in your position?
Network, network, network. There is nothing like having a group of peers to turn to in good and bad times, peers who understand what you are going through. More and more of my closest friends are from the nonprofit sector. Not only are they smart, fun people, but we also share the same values, talk openly about what’s happening in our jobs, and create connections for each other we might not have made ourselves. We are laying the foundation for solid partnerships for the future when we are the leaders in the field.

If you want to share a day in your life, please email me – kristen@advancementcompany.com

A day in the life of a nonprofit worker

February 26, 2010

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)
Jyl Shaffer, Sumner County Director for HomeSafe-Inc.

2. What is the first thing you do when you get in the office?
Well, my day starts before I get out of bed. I say a quick prayer then check my Blackberry for e-mails, twitter updates, and rss feeds. (I’ll admit sometimes that sequence has a different order!)

3. How do you spend your lunch break?
I live a mile from work so I bike back to the house and let my dogs out. I usually actually eat while I’m working.

4. Which part of your work do you enjoy most?
I love outreach. I run a domestic violence shelter and community program so I try to spend as much time as possible doing community education. I also started a teen program in the schools that brings me more joy than I thought a job ever could.

5. Please finish this sentence: If someone wanted my job, they would have to…..have a really solid support network. This is not the place to be if your marriage is struggling or if you have no friends to help you separate from the job.

6. What advice or tips do you have for other nonprofit professionals in your position?
Challenge everything. The domestic violence movement has been going strong for 30+ years. We’re no longer counter-culture; we’re part of the system. Is our message relevant, meaningful, and life changing? What’s the point if it’s not?