For most who get involved in nonprofit organizations, their reasons are entirely selfless. In many cases, however, they quickly find out just how much time philanthropic endeavors require. This can be disheartening — especially for smaller nonprofits that have to stretch a small staff as far as possible. Fortunately, there are a variety of time-management tips for nonprofit organizations to increase their effectiveness.
1. Don’t Be Afraid to Delegate
Small nonprofits are often run by those who take a hands-on approach to everything. This can quickly drain your reserves, so it’s imperative that you delegate certain responsibilities. If you have a trustworthy staff and volunteers, the work will get done exactly as it’s supposed to.
2. Take Advantage of Technological Shortcuts
Many aspects of running a nonprofit organization are manual in nature, but whenever technology can make your life easier, you should allow it. Instead of taking all donations over the phone or in person, for instance, utilize fundraising software that performs a variety of essential functions.
3. Plan the Following Week in Advance
It’s not enough for nonprofit professionals to have a “to-do” list of things they need to get done. A focused schedule that lists all essential activities and when they need to be performed can remove the burden of having things pile up all at once. This prevents any level of procrastination, and in the end, you may end up with a few free hours at the end of your week. Maybe.
4. Avoid Multitasking Too Much
When you’re working in a nonprofit organization, you’re going to have a variety of things on your plate at any given time. While this may make it seem as if multitasking is necessary, you should attempt to avoid juggling too many tasks at once.
Research has shown that multitasking can result in ineffectiveness at every activity you’re involved in. Utilize the aforementioned tips of delegating and planning to avoid dealing with too many things at once. This reduces mistakes that can prove time-consuming in the long run.
5. Put “No” Back Into Your Vocabulary
When you get involved in philanthropic endeavors, you will likely feel as if saying “yes” and helping everyone is essential. While you want to always focus on accomplishing your organization’s main goals, it’s essential that you learn to say “no” in as diplomatic of a way as possible.
This doesn’t mean a homeless-focused organization should turn away a person in need, but you’ll often find that businesses, media and other organizations will want a piece of your time. Granting the time can certainly help your nonprofit in the long run, but sometimes you have to decline requests if you’re going to effectively manage your time.
6. Treat Your Passion as a Job
When you decided to get involved in a nonprofit, it’s likely because you were emotionally attached to its mission. In order to get more time back in your life, though, you should look at your nonprofit solely as a job. “If I take in this much money, I can do this much.” Look at everything from a business perspective, and it will prevent you from stretching yourself or the organization further than they should be.
7. Get More Sleep
Spending more time asleep may seem counter-intuitive to stretching your time, but it’s a practice that’s been proven to work time and time again. A full night’s sleep reduces the likelihood that you’ll make unnecessary mistakes. Additionally, it’ll allow you to tolerate and manage challenges in a more effective and efficient way.
Making a small nonprofit successful is going to be a difficult task regardless of the time-management strategies you utilize. This is a given, but by taking real and proactive steps to efficient time management, you’ll find that your life goes much easier. Nonprofits will never be an easy job, but it doesn’t mean you have to constantly be pressed for time