Out of the Trenches
Organizations in which leadership makes time for the long view are better equipped to plan and budget for change. It's hard to take a few hours out of each week to explore online, read trade publications or participate in a webinar when you're struggling to make a deadline, update the website copy or put together materials for a donor. But taking the long view helps you avoid working reactively. It becomes easier to set objectives, plan, delegate and prioritize when you're more clear about where you're heading.
After all, it's a particularly crazy time we communicators are living in: We have all these cool, free/cheap technologies that let us do things that would have been impossible or unaffordable years ago, and yet we have even less time to allocate to them, as staff gets stretched thin due to budget cuts and recession-era staffing.
Some nonprofit communicators spend all of their time mired in the day-to-day details and lose sight of the bigger picture, missing huge opportunities along the way. Others spend so much time planning and moving projects forward they never really get their hands dirty with details that might really benefit their organizations, like testing or segmentation.
A better way to work
Perhaps the way to tackle this dilemma is to create structures that force you to move through all layers of your work at appropriate intervals. For instance, what if you tried to spend:
● three hours a week devoted to taking the long view (watching and learning from other nonprofits, monitoring best practices, reading up);
● 10 hours a week devoted to the treetops (budgeting, planning, conducting research, organizing and managing based on where you want to head); and
● 27 hours a week in the trenches (writing, designing, dealing with vendors, testing, coding, social media production, etc.)?