As a nonprofit with limited time, money, and/or resources, it is vital that you maximize productivity within your organization to get the most out of every minute and dollar available.
One of the best ways to do so is through the implementation of a strategic plan that encompasses fundraising, donor management, event planning, and other day-to-day tasks. A solid plan will have everyone on the same page, ready to make the most for your nonprofit and steward your resources as efficiently as possible.
How do you keep everyone on track with your plan? Consider using time tracking as a new strategy for your organization. Having your team of staff and volunteers track their time back to funding sources and/or programs will make reporting back to your funders a breeze— and ensure help defending future funding requests.
An easy to use time tracking tool can bring your nonprofit’s operations to the next level. Specifically, time tracking can help you by:
- Improving your leadership.
- Prioritizing daily tasks.
- Establishing a bigger picture.
- Budgeting your time.
- Assigning roles.
- Avoiding the rabbit hole.
Ready to learn more? Let’s jump in.
1. Improving your leadership.
Having a productive management team is key to ensuring a productive organization. The rest of your team takes cues from your leadership style in deciding how they will address things on a smaller scale.
To encourage time tracking for your employees and volunteers, lead by example by tracking your own time. Not only will you reap the benefits of visualizing where all your time is going, but you also set the precedent for the rest of your organization— which goes a long way to create an engaged, proactive culture that prioritizes efficiency and stewardship. This strengthens your nonprofit’s operations as a whole and can help boost buy-in for time tracking as you implement it, which goes to further reinforce the benefits!
Additionally, having access to your staff’s timesheets allows you to recognize the pros and cons of your organization’s current strategy and gives you the opportunity to make any necessary changes to improve workflow.
2. Prioritizing daily tasks.
When there are too many things on your plate, it can be incredibly difficult to prioritize efficiently. You may waste time trying to decide what to work on next, miss important deadlines, or even let some tasks fall through the cracks.
ClickTime recommends the Rule of Three to improve time management within your organization. This is the idea that each morning prior to jumping into your work, you write down three things to get done that day. Having a physical reminder can help you and your team to prioritize the important tasks of the day, give your agenda some structure, and increase your focus.
Time tracking is an excellent resource that can provide the same benefits: ranking your priorities and reminding you which task to tackle next. You’ll have the hard data to show which tasks take the longest, so you can more effectively rank your to-do’s for the day. Time tracking and project management programs ensure that your team’s day-to-day tasks are being finished— and in a methodical manner.
3. Establishing a bigger picture.
Now on a larger scale, time tracking can assist you in boosting overall productivity with the production of year-long performance reports. These reports can provide insights like these into the general allocation of time per team member and the state of your organization’s workflows.
For example: noting which project a particular member spent the most time with, or the average time used to complete a certain task gives you key insights into how your organization’s valuable time is being spent.
Or, if you’ve completed a large-scale initiative, big-picture time tracking reports allow you to more easily determine its effectiveness. For example, if you dedicate a large portion of time to developing new marketing strategies, you’ll want to make sure that those efforts generated enough donations to cover the cost and grow your revenue. If not, the marketing strategy could use tweaking or scaling back.
This information is useful both to you as a manager and to individual team members to get a better understanding of the efficiency with which everyone’s time was spent. Your employees and volunteers want to see that their hard work and time dedicated is being used well, too! Additionally, you can use this data to compare year over year to note any trends in your organization and time management.
4. Budgeting your time.
Just like with a monetary budget, budgeting your time as a nonprofit is vital to understanding how your resources are being allocated. Studying this data will allow you to note any concerns and adjust as necessary.
A carefully crafted budget is able to provide larger portions of yours’ and your team members’ time to higher priority tasks. Time tracking can inform your budget creation by providing the information needed to make divisions.
Studying the allocation of time throughout your organization’s workflow can also inform you of elements that can be cut to improve efficiency. For example, making the switch from manual data entry to the usage of nonprofit-specific software can save you valuable time.
5. Assigning roles.
Part of running a nonprofit is managing effective relationships with your staff, volunteers, and other constituents. With so many individuals to help out in a variety of different roles, it is vital that every person knows their role. This is especially crucial when it comes to managing your donor data!
When you implement time tracking as a practice for your organization, you make it easier to assign tasks to each person and make sure that the workload is spread evenly. This ensures a well-organized team, where no tasks are duplicated or forgotten.
6. Avoiding the rabbit hole.
By establishing time tracking practices within your nonprofit, you can help your team to avoid going too far down the rabbit hole by setting estimated guidelines for how long each task should take. Obviously a little leeway is okay, but if a team member finds themselves on their fifth hour of a thirty-minute task, that might be a sign that there was a problem.
Time boundaries are vital to productivity because they keep you and your team on track and avoiding getting caught up in distractions. Analyzing past timesheets and other time tracking tools informs you on what to expect when it comes to various projects, and you will then be able to create a more realistic timetable.
Consider getting your organization started with this guide from Double the Donation on the top online timesheet options for nonprofit organizations.
Once you have introduced your team to time tracking and all that it can offer, you will begin to see increases in productivity and workplace efficiency overall! Best of luck to you and your team!
This was a guest post contributed from ClickTime.
Author: Ernest Cheng
Ernest Cheng is a San Francisco-based marketing professional who focuses on technologies that drive performance. He is currently the Head of Marketing at ClickTime, an award-winning time tracking platform for nonprofits, billable professionals, and growing businesses in over 65 countries.