Time management tips for your nonprofit

It's no secret that there are more people and causes that need help than you have resources for, and time is especially limited. Philanthropic organizations are master multitaskers, but you need to remember you're only human. Trying to balance your schedule between planning the next fundraiser, volunteering for your cause and marketing your nonprofit is hard enough. On top of that, your organizational structure needs attention, and you don't want you or your team members to burn out from busying themselves every second of the day. Here are a few time management tips to implement in your charity:

Give and take flexibility
Are you most productive at night, or are you an early bird who tackles the day from the start? Everyone experiences different peak performances times, and you and your team may vary drastically on when you work best. By switching the office schedule around by even just an hour, you may experience major productivity advantages in the workplace. Give your staff a little flexibility during the day. They will appreciate your thoughtfulness, and it will show in their output.

Prioritize
Multitasking isn't always possible in a nonprofit. In light of this, npEngage contributor Pamela Barden quotes a Chinese proverb that demonstrates just how impractical balancing multiple responsibilities can sometimes be.

"One cannot manage too many affairs: like pumpkins in the water, one pops up while you try to hold down the other," the proverb says.

Dividing your focus between too many projects can hinder the end result. Some things require more attention than others, so you need to limit the ideas you grow or responsibilities you take on. This way, each aspect of the job gets the necessary scrutiny for success.

Not only is it important to cut things out, but it's also vital you learn to say, "no." Overloading your plate with too many responsibilities is only fueling the problem. If you already are struggling with time management, you'll have to put new projects and ideas on the back burner until you've finished the ones you've already started.

Cut back on time-wasters
KnowHow Nonprofit suggests limiting the number of times you check your email to three or four per day. Unless you're waiting on an urgent message, there's no need to waste time refreshing your inbox several times an hour. On top of managing the emails you're receiving, you should also be conscious of the messages you're sending. Everyone's time is valuable, so make sure you only send out an email if it's necessary. Daily chats or check-ins can be done in person. Avoid doing these electronically, as you never know what time management struggles someone else is facing. At least in person, you can sense if your conversation is distracting them from something more important. Additionally, utilizing online fundraising tools will keep donation processes more efficient.

Set a schedule
Following a daily calendar can guide you through your day in a timely manner. Some organization leaders only use calendars to schedule meetings with colleagues. However, this practice doesn't work for today's demands. You may want to set aside blocks of time just for your own reference: to answer emails, surf the Web for trends, update social media or even to go out to lunch. By listing these in a calendar that your whole team can see, not only do you stay on task yourself, but you'll avoid being double booked.

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