How do you organize your work requests? Have you got your system down?
I’ll be honest: when it comes to task management, I’ve started, abandoned and restarted systems. It’s easy to let ourselves get disorganized when things get chaotic!
But for requests that involve staff (or other constituents), it’s never a good idea to let this slide. You need to proactively capture those needs, stakeholders, and project updates. Otherwise, details slip through the cracks and communication breaks down across teams.
A good process keeps us covered here. We know how to build a framework that guides us in executing requests. We’ve also figured out how our colleagues should reach out to us. Now it’s accountability time: how do we document and manage that process from start to finish?
Have you ever spent unnecessary time on a request, all because you & your colleagues weren’t on the same page? *raises hand*
It’s not a great feeling! But that’s what happens when you don’t organize those requests early on. If you write content for your org, create reports, build lists, or do anything that requires even the slightest bit of niche expertise….let’s chat.
A while ago, I shared tips on how to build a staff process that people can actually follow. Because when you start getting overwhelmed with requests, a process is key to staying cool and organized.
We did the first step of clarifying how these requests play out in our orgs today. We’ve got notes on everything that matters: the types of requests we get, the needs of our requestors and our own team’s capacity. (If you haven’t read that first post, you’ll want to start here.)
Now that that’s done, we need to translate those points into a living, breathing process. That’s a big leap, especially when you’re not used to doing it!
Whether your nonprofit is using it or not, let’s talk Google Forms for a second.
In case you’re not familiar, Google Forms is a survey app that comes with the Google Suite of products. Much like Google Docs and Google Sheets, it has its own place in the G-Drive and lets you easily build form surveys.
Google is not sponsoring this post. I’m not even claiming it’s the best survey tool out there. BUT, it’s worth highlighting for three very nonprofitty reasons:
It’s accessible. Even if your org doesn’t use Google products, you could sign up right now to build your first form with no fuss.
This means that Google Forms has many applications for our work, regardless of how large or technologically sophisticated the org. A simple tool that can do all the things? Prettyyyy cool.
It’s time for me to come clean, gang. For the longest time, I was not good about paid-time off (PTO).
It’s not like I don’t take my time. In fact, I’ve never let a single day expire. I’ve just been so disorganized about this in the past, that it was stressful even figuring out what to do with the time when I finally did take it.
If I haven’t said this yet, I believe all of us should use every last hour of our vacation time. For one, us workaholics need that time away to relax and reset. But more importantly, that’s time we’ve earned. This is part of our compensation, ‘money’ we’d be throwing down the toilet if we didn’t use that time!
What’s one thing that development staff, volunteer coordinators, operations managers, HR and Program people all have in common?
At any time, we can become our org’s database admin, too.
“Accidental admin” is the term we’ve lovingly coined to all the database managers who never signed up for this. Typically the consequence of multiple-hat syndrome, these are the nonprofit professionals who were standing closest to the system at the time when their org desperately needed an admin.
Gang, let’s talk about unconferences. Because I’ve got a lot of mixed feelings.
First, if you’ve never heard of an unconference, let’s start there. An unconference is a “participant-led” learning experience. It rebels against the typical conference structure, in that there’s no preset agenda.
Yep, you read me correctly.
There is no agenda for this conference, until you show up to make it. The idea is that the audience –the people who this whole thing is designed to benefit– put forth the topics they want to discuss. Hence, the ‘un’.