Spring cleaning is happening a little early at my house. After eight years in our first home together, we’re moving about eight miles down the road to a house that will be wonderful for us for many, many years to come. We’re excited. We’re overwhelmed. We’re packing. Or, rather, my husband is doing most of the packing. My job right now is to purge everything that doesn’t need to make the move with us.
It’s cathartic. It feels so freeing to turn on the shredder and fill up the bin. It feels good to put clothes I haven’t worn in a long time in a pile destined for Goodwill so someone else can wear each piece while life is still left in it. It’s been time-consuming but so worth it to scan all the papers in my office that I need to hang on to, but are better organized neatly in folders on my hard drive than in folders in a cabinet.
A couple of weeks ago I was at a women’s networking lunch in Atlanta. Before the speaker came up to the podium, each table was charged with getting to know each other by going around the table and answering a simple question: what is your word of the year? There were some great words mentioned: confidence, learning, caring, grow, process, and my word, simplify.
A move has been great motivation for me to simplify things in my personal and professional lives, doing those things that I should be doing even without a move looming in the near future. I’m automating some social media posts, scanning insurance documents instead of filing them, keeping one omelet pan and giving the other away, moving working documents to Dropbox and Google docs, and shredding old bank statements.
As I’ve been making my office and the processes that happen there more streamlined, I’ve been mulling over the kinds of things a nonprofit staff might to do simplify their organization whether they’re moving to a new building or continuing to operate in the same space they’ve had for decades.
We’ve coached our clients through transitions and better ways to do things. Sometimes it’s easier to see when you’re standing back from something. It can be hard to hear that something about your organization needs to be purged or changed to run more effectively. But much like the two garbage bags that came out of my office last weekend destined for the recycle bin, moving that stuff left me freed up to think about what I can do to keep my space from incurring too much clutter again.
Could your organization consider:
- Using Hootsuite to schedule social media posts on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms?
- Subscribing to a donor database software to keep all your donor information in one, easily-accessible place?
- Sharing working documents, strategic plans, contracts, event photos, special event invitations, etc. in Dropbox so all of your staff and board can access them?
- Organizing folders in Dropbox or on your server in a way that makes sense (i.e., a grant folder including subfolders for grant documentation, past proposals, grant calendars and contact sheets, etc.)?
- Having your five key communications pieces ready to roll?
- Spot-checking your website for optimal user-friendliness?
- Surveying your clients/donors/friends of the organization about their favorite programs and events? See what’s working for them and what isn’t.
Let us know what works for you. Here’s wishing you a streamlined, simplified 2015.