There's a System for That!
One of the most common complaints I hear from small nonprofit staffs is that there is too much to do and not enough time. Yet every great, big nonprofit started out as a small one. What makes the difference? How do some nonprofits grow and flourish while others stay small? When it comes to getting things done, here's the secret: leverage.
Leverage: the mechanical advantage or power gained from using a lever. The use of a small investment to gain a very high return.
Leverage is about thinking smarter and figuring out how to make the most of the small amount of time you have. You don't have to work harder — you just need to do more with what you have, to leverage yourself.
One of the easiest ways to leverage your time is to create systems. A system is a method of doing something so you get the same result every time. Think about Starbucks. When you order your favorite drink, it's prepared the same way every time, right? That's no accident. And it doesn't matter which Starbucks you go to across the country, you get a consistent drink.
Let's apply that concept to your office. How do you handle a phone request for more information about your organization? Do you scramble around and try to make up something new to send? Do you direct the person to your website? Do you procrastinate because you just don't know what to send?
What if you take a few minutes to think through this task and come up with a standard response? What information would you like the caller to receive? What action would you like him to take after reviewing the information? Think it through. Make a decision. Then write it down so you can refer to it next time someone calls. It may take some extra time right now to create the system, but it will save you lots of time in the long run.