Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A day in the life of a nonprofit worker

1. What is your name, organization and job title?
Mich Sineath
Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC)
Public Relations and Marketing
AEJMC is a nonprofit association of journalism and mass communication educators, students and media professionals. The AEJMC mission is to advance education in journalism, cultivate professional practice and promote the free flow of communication.

2. What is the first thing you do when you get in the office?
Well, that depends on what you mean by "office." I don't know many people without some sort of technology gadget strapped to their side or ear, be it an iPhone, BlackBerry, or Pre-Palm; not to mention my home computer, which manages to send and receive work e-mail and messages with surprising ease ;-) That said, all of these devices enable today's workforce to work from anywhere and at anytime, which gives me some trouble answering this question as posed. Instead, I'll walk you through a typical morning routine:
First, after thanking God for enabling coffee makers with automatic timers, I quickly grab a cup of fuel, sit down in front of my computer and begin sifting through my e-mail to see what I may have missed during my slumber. This easily transitions to two different Twitter accounts (personal and business) so that I can check for any "mentions" or "direct messages" that may be business-related. Since I'm typically up at such an early hour, I usually just make note of messages I should reply to when I arrive at the "actual office" so that the time stamp remains at an appropriate hour.
After refueling my cup, I'm off to the feeds, checking first for any news or mentions of my organization on the Internet. I make note of any posts that require later attention, then head over to the news feeds that relate to my organization's mission or goals. I comb through many folders and sub-folders for the latest news and information and pull the most relevant aside.
I head over to and pre-schedule my news tweets to be disseminated throughout the morning. Then I'll narrow those down to the top two or three news stories of the day, and share them in other social networks, like Facebook and our company blog. While I'm there, I'll check for any new discussions that may have popped up, or comments that need moderating.
Then it's off to the gym, breakfast and finally to the "actual office."

3. How do you spend your lunch break?
I typically spend my lunch break eating at my desk. On the rare occasion that I do venture outside of the office, I can usually be found at a Barnes & Noble, having a cup of coffee and reading an actual print product of some kind. A break away from the computer monitor can be good for the soul.

4. Which part of your work do you enjoy most?
For me, I come from an academic background in public relations, convergence and new media, so all of the work I'm engaged in is right up my alley. But the most rewarding aspect of my job would have to be working with our volunteers. AEJMC is lucky to have the most dedicated volunteers to help shepherd the association through new ideas and projects and even tough economic times. From strategic planning to national conventions, our volunteers devote so much of their time and lives to the association because they believe wholeheartedly in the mission and vision of AEJMC. What could possibly be better than that?

5. Please finish this sentence: If someone wanted my job, they would have to…..
If someone wanted my job, they would have to be hardworking, patient, and above all, resourceful. Working for a nonprofit can be tough. There are usually less employees, less money and less time to get it all done. And it's more than likely going to be your job to figure out how. If you can handle the associated stress, still have time to pitch in where needed, and be willing to sacrifice the cushy corner office with a view, then you're golden.

6. What advice or tips do you have for other nonprofit professionals in your position?
Remember you passion and stick with it. Be willing to sift through ideas for gems. And always listen to your customers and your gut.