We have all been launched into a new way of living, but it means something different for each one of us. In a way, it has exacerbated each of our individual situations. Some are bored and restless; others are busier than ever.
And for many of us, this means working from home in the same space as their family. I have spent the better part of the last 6 years trying to figure this out and have learned a lot along the way. Here are my lessons:Read More
How we keep up with all of the information that gets sent our way?
Keeping up with everything you want to read is an insurmountable task. And so it should be, the more you read, the more you’re interested in.
How can you manage it all? When it comes to information being sent to you there are a few ways you can take control.
For most organizations, strategic planning is an annual event. It is an excellent way to review and reflect on the past year, to be reminded of your mission and vision, and to plan for the year ahead.
We spend at least one full day at the end of each year conducting a strategic planning exercise, I always find them so valuable. This year, however, when I opened up 2019’s plan, I realized it was the first time the document had been opened all year. 2019 was a great year, but I didn’t attend to all of the priorities that had been set out.
The holiday season inspires so many reasons to give and get involved in the work of charities. This Giving-Tuesday-LogoWhite-2018is part of the motivation behind GivingTuesday. “Just as Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping season, GivingTuesday is the opening day of the giving season” the organizers of this Christmas campaign explain. Most people want to give, but don’t do so until they are asked. So, the goal of GivingTuesday is to help charities garner support and help individuals connect with a cause and get involved.Read More
A few weeks back we wrote about de-cluttering your email’s inbox. Today we’ll tackle your desktop.
Your digital desktop is like your physical desktop. A screen filled with file icons is like a desk with massive piles of paper. The main issue with disorganization like this, is not being able to use the information that you’ve already created. If you are funded by grants, for example, there are times when you are called upon to provide data and collecting it takes time. Or, if you want to apply for a grant or an award, you will need to support your application. Curating your own information should not be a timely or overwhelming task.
Clutter, both digitally and physically, can cause an ambiguity effect. That is, when something seems ambiguous, we avoid it.
How do you know your information is cluttered? Because you:
- Can’t find stuff
- Can’t understand it even when you do find it
- Stuff is stored in scattered locations
- Poor memory of what you have and where it is
- Low level of compliance with policies or laws (highly relevant if you are incorporated or a registered charity)
- Can’t bring together the complete story of an issues, project, or event.
Here are seven steps to clear desktop clutter:
- Start by identifying the different themes or functions of your work.
- Each function needs its own folder.
- Within each folder are sub-folders and files.
- Everything that has to do with that function must be housed within the corresponding folder.
- Title all folders and files a name that describes what it contains.
- Each folder must be mutually exclusive –that means only contain information about one thing, it must be exclusive from the other folders. And each folder must be collectively exhausted –that means everything must have a place. (It is so much easier to put things away when you know where they go).
- Start dragging and dropping.
The digital filing system needs to mirror the paper filing system and email.
Content audits are a way of excel-ifying your website. With the help of a worksheet, all webpages, titles, descriptions, links to other pages, tags, and images are catalogued and recorded.
The purpose of a content audit is to track of the metadata of your website. So if you, for example, take down a page, you can easily find what other pages link to that one. Content audits allow you to ensure the information on the website is relevant and up-to-date, and any stale content is easily identified and and removed.
Marketing managers, communicators, and SEO experts all have their own reasons for conducting a content audit. For the nonprofit information manager, a content audit allows for analysis and management of the content of your website, which is the digital version of your organization.
Here are six reasons why content audits are an excellent idea:
- You won’t lose track of what is published online. As your organization develops over time, priorities and focus shift. Content audits ensure your website stays accurate and reflective of the organization.It ensures a solid mental model.
- A mental model is a spatial map, it’s your vision of the flow of the website or the path a visitor will take to go through the website. Auditing the content of your website ensures the user’s experience is what you want it to be.
- Know what is there. Organizations get called upon to show what they know and do regularly –for grants, awards, audits, stakeholders, etc. Rather than rewriting and recreating each time, a content audit allows you to quickly and easily find what has already been done.
- At a glance you will be able to conduct an evaluation of your website. That means that regularly, say monthly, you will be able to see what is on your website and evaluate its purpose and relevance.
- People normally visit websites to find information. Negative feedback of your website will most likely be about this. A content audit allows for an analysis and constant improvement of the information flow.
- Improved Search Engine Optimization. All SEO efforts require an analysis of the content of your website.
If you want to get started, here is a great template published by 4Syllables, <http://4syllables.com.au/resources/content-audit-template/>
Is your inbox a dumping ground for any inbound communication? Here are 4 steps to take control right now.
Your inbox and desktop are the digital versions of your physical desk. An inbox with hundreds (or dare I say, thousands) of emails is like a desk with a massive pile of paper. You may know what is in that pile, you may be able to find something if need be, but it would take a lot of time. You also don’t know exactly what is in there, so if the pile was destroyed, you would not know what you do not know. Managing your email is an essential part of managing your information. Here are four steps to a clutter-free inbox:
- Your inbox should be seen as a to-do list. If a message is in the inbox that means it has yet to be dealt with. Once an email has been dealt with, it needs to be filed, to be saved, or deleted. Email software allows you to manage this easily. Make folders, with sub-folders, and move the messages. (Tip: mirror your email folders to your documents folders.)
- To avoid a plethora of emails you need to be ruthless with what you accept. If you receive a newsletter that you do not want or read, unsubscribe. If a message is junkmail, don’t just delete it; put it in the junkmail box. Your email software will learn what is junk and will do it automatically. Receive messages from your favourite retail store for big discount day announcements? If you feel unsubscribing is too final, mark it as junk. You’ll still receive the messages, but they won’t crowd your inbox.
- If you receive newsletters or links to articles that you actually do want to read, but not right now, create a folder called ‘Stuff I Want To Read’ and move the emails there. Then, when you have time, you can go straight to that folder without getting distracted by other messages in your inbox (a.k.a. to-do list).
- If you have a lot of messages, create one folder called ‘Before Today’ and move all the messages there. Top to bottom. You can deal with them, or not. Either way your inbox is clear to get started.
Start with step four, then steps one and three. Step two will be ongoing.
Throughout December, the giving season, we hear a lot about giving and getting involved in worthy charities, but it is also a time of year when we are busy and distracted with other commitments.
January is the month for renewal; renewed commitments, renewed energy, renewed focus. To follow up from our All We Want For Christmas campaign, when we told you about great ways to give, we are excited to introduce a new campaign: All We Want For The New Year.
Consider this campaign your New Year’s resolution guide.
- Endeavour: When it comes to the charitable sector, volunteer opportunities abound. You can choose to volunteer for one full day, an hour each month, or anywhere in between. If you want to lend your well-honed consulting skills, without joining a board, consider Endeavor. They provide professional consulting services for nonprofits with a top-focused goal; improve organizational capacity. Volunteers with Endeavour can take an organization from getting by to performing exceptionally –using their full capacity, stretching their donor’s dollars, and serving their community with excellence. To learn more about the volunteers they’re currently looking for, visit https://endeavourvolunteer.ca/
- RESULTS Canada: This is one of my favourites! RESULTS fights to end poverty by getting vocal, literally. Each month, volunteers attend a two-hour Educate and Action meeting where they learn all about a current issue related to poverty. The information volunteers receive is succinct, thorough, and well-cited. Volunteers are then given an action, typically writing a letter to an MP or Minister, getting active on social media, or writing a letter to a newspaper editor. At the end of the two hours, volunteers have everything they need, even a draft of their letter and the address where it will be sent. RESULTS is great at aligning their campaigns with what is going on in the world, like a G8 meeting or Federal budget so the actions taken by volunteers get a lot of traction. See for yourself with this month’s action: https://www.results-resultats.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/January-2018-Action-Sheet_EN.pdf
- CanadaHelps: Want to just give money? Check out CanadaHelps. They exist to help (typically small) charities receive donations online. It’s a go-to place if you want to give and don’t really know to which charity. Whenever there is a crisis, CanadaHelp posts a list of active charities. A great feature is the Personalized Discovery. Here you can type in the name of a charity you care about and a list will generate of other similar charities. You just may learn about some great organizations: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/explore/personalized-discovery/
- Do It Yourself: If you are not involved in the nonprofit industry you may not know certain things about how they operate. For example, do you know how much time a nonprofit spends trying to get noticed on social media, without a budget? Getting likes, shares, or better yet, conversations started about an awareness or fundraising campaign takes a lot of time. And then Facebook goes and changes our newsfeeds so we see more family and friends content! Ugh! If there is a cause you are passionate about, find the organizations involved in that cause (possibly use the tool from yesterday’s post), then help them spread their word. Follow, like, share, and engage with what they post. This kind of free advertising can really help a nonprofit out.
I hope this list encourages you, whatever your ability, skill, or level of commitment, to participate in the world that lies beyond your comfort zone.