Jan 13th, 2021
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Great at Work
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Workflows are everywhere. You probably use them more frequently than you realize. Think about your morning routine. While you’re thinking through your personal morning workflow, here’s a glimpse into mine.
I love waking up early, although I do have to set my alarm to make it happen. I get up first so that I have a completely quiet house. There is something so calming to be still before the hustle and bustle begins. My workflow is typically to make a cup of coffee, check social media while my pour over is brewing, then find my spot on the couch to wake up a little more.
While I sit with my computer or phone I’m reading. Sometimes I have a book that is usually personal or professional development, but more often I’m reading my Bible, looking and listening for inspiration to get my day started.
Somewhat reluctantly I wrap up my couch time and move into the exercise phase. I like to mix things up, so I rotate between jogging, my indoor bike, yoga, and some days just walking. Whatever I choose I know that movement is crucial to success throughout the rest of my day. Maximizing efficiency is a core value, so I typically have an audio book or a business-related podcast playing in my ears while I exercise.
Once that’s over it’s straight up utilitarian for the next hour - I’m rushing through a shower, breakfast and trying to read or listen to a little news somewhere in there before I open my computer or jump on that first call.
Whew! It sounds a little exhausting but because it’s sort of on autopilot and an unwritten workflow, it just flows.
That is the benefit of creating business workflows.
Nonprofit leadership is very people-centric in most cases, but there are many repetitive tasks and components of your organizational strategy that CAN be clarified, documented, and improved. The key is identifying what already exists and which workflows need to be created.
Benefits of Workflows
Why do you need to define workflows within your nonprofit organization? So glad you asked! Here are a few things workflows will do for you and your team:
- Everyone gets to be on the same page. A documented workflow creates clarity and transparency. You know what other people on your team are doing and they know what to expect from you.
- Taking time to define a workflow will show you redundancies, wasted time, and allow you to automate pieces of a project or task that can be done much more efficiently by technology. (Canned email is a good example, Zapier is an even better example.)
- Bottlenecks. You know what it’s like to work really hard, then come to a screeching halt because you’re waiting on information or a decision from someone else. If you don’t think that happens very often it’s probably because you ARE the bottleneck. A workflow clarifies exactly who needs to be involved and often simplifies the required decisions.
- Workflows build a foundation for efficiency. Objective accountability is integrated into your organizational culture very simply when you create processes that everyone is aware of.
Simple is Better
Workflows do not need to be complicated and will be easier for everyone if you keep them as simple as possible. Let’s look at two common workflows that are part of nonprofit marketing.
- Podcast publishing workflows. The basics are to record, edit, create show notes, publish, and distribute. You don’t need to have an intricate diagram designed on a giant poster or anything close to that. But it can definitely be helpful to have a folder in a shared drive that houses different workflows. Inevitably you have staff turnover and it’s a good practice to go ahead and have documents that make these transitions easier. You may also have volunteers helping and this type of information will make integrating volunteers much easier for you and them.
- Social media management. The basics are to have a planning meeting, create a posting calendar, design graphics or choose photos, write the copy, tag people and partners, then post to the platform. If something is missing or not getting done, it’s easy to assess and analyze a workflow before casting blame on anyone or anything.
These might sound simple, but that’s the point. Getting organized doesn’t have to involve hours of meetings, powerpoint presentations, or the worry that you are getting too corporate.
Well-designed processes and systems that align with your goals and core values will only support a foundation that will lead to sustainability for your church or nonprofit.
When I consult with an organization we look through multiple points within your operations, dig beneath the surface, and find opportunities to build a stronger business plan. You are given written recommendations for the areas we cover and you can choose to implement strategies on your own or collaborate with me for complete optimization.
I would love to work with you this season. Visit copperhiveconsulting.com to explore packages and get in touch with me.