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Pages tagged "Kate Borman"


How to crush deadlines: Free tools and tips from a project manager

main.jpgAs young professionals, we manage projects every single day. Whether it is planning for a staff meeting or the next big fundraising gala, we are constantly trying to spin more plates on fewer sticks. As I’ve advanced in my career, I have picked up tricks to help make managing both big and small projects easier. Here is my top three tips to help any project run a little bit smoother.

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Time to leave your comfort zone: Change requires uncomfortable conversations

hands.jpgWhat was the last obstacle you faced, and how did you conquer it?

We overcome challenges every day and sometimes we don’t even realize it. Any time we are faced with a situation in which we don’t know the answer, it is often helpful to seek knowledge and resources from others.

I consider myself a resourceful person who does exactly that. When I don’t know a fact, my first response is “Oh, I’ll Google it.” If I don’t know how to complete a technical task, I watch tutorials on YouTube. If I can’t pinpoint the right word, I research synonyms at thesaurus.com.

And admittedly, when someone asks a seemingly easy question, my first thought is: “Have you looked it up?” In other words, I wonder if this person has tried to figure out the answer on their own prior to asking me. In fact, I even grow a bit impatient and annoyed if they haven’t.

But what happens when a solution cannot be readily met? What happens when the problem is bigger and more complex than a Google search or YouTube tutorial video? What happens when the problem is deeply rooted in a culture of privilege, hurt, or hate?

What then?

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Hurry up and wait

Ticking clockDeadlines. Timestamps. Alarms. We have the world at our fingertips and have learned to tune our lives to the tick of the clock. Yet, no matter how many seconds we plan, there is always an element of surprise; one thing that is out of our control. Something that always messes up our perfectly-planned days. We hurry through life, just to end up waiting.

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“Your Position Is Being Eliminated”

main.jpgI wish I could say I have never heard those words before, but since I started my career in the midst of a recession, I have had the unfortunate circumstance of being laid off twice. The reasons were very different each time, but the loss was the same. I felt like I was the missing puzzle piece in an otherwise complete picture.

Losing your job is much like losing anything of value. You have to go through the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It is natural to feel these emotions, and I have found that, with job loss, stages two through four feel most relevant. 

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Communication Gaps: Road-Tripping Without a Map

Have you ever been ¾ of the way into a project, only for it to unexpectedly halt because others have different ideas or are not on the same page? We have all been there, and while this scenario can be very frustrating, must times, it simply suggests a one-time misunderstanding.

But what if this happens regularly? Then that one-time misunderstanding turns into a communication gap, and that gap requires more than just a simple “do better next time” approach. Instead, it requires everyone involved to assess the problem, identify solutions, and take deliberate efforts to change the way you communicate.

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Logic Models, KPIs, Goals, Oh My!

Time to Set Some GoalsWe’re approaching the third month of the year, about the time when most New Year’s resolutions start to look a lot less shiny and promising. We’ve all been there, where we set these amazing, lofty goals to accomplish in the next year. 

Starting in the early 2000s, I started setting my number of goals or resolutions based off the year. For example, I would set 14 goals for 2014. But last year, I stopped using this method, because it simply wasn’t working. I would set these lofty goals without any true ways of measuring progress.

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Nonprofit Growing Pains

A graduate during the recession, I held 6 nonprofit positions over 5.5 years. Do the math, and you realize very quickly that I changed jobs frequently. Over this time span, I learned to embrace change and to never get too comfortable, mastering the ability to shift gears on a moment’s notice.

Earlier this year, I hit my two-year anniversary at my current job. I just finished a huge project at this job and, after some time off, I reflected on my current situation: I felt restless.

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The Retirement Game: Breaking Down Barriers for Our Future

Kids playing gameAmanda and I made the salary pact. After several vague conversations that implied our situations may be similar, we decided tiptoeing around the compensation taboo was not helping either of us.

So we promised to have these conversations, together, in an honest and open environment. To talk numbers, to ask questions, to figure out what we didn’t know and how to fix it. 

We married tough conversations and fun in the comfort of Amanda’s home. This alleviated the discomfort of sharing private information in a public place. We discussed salaries and benefits, but we quickly found our roadblock: Retirement. 

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Out of Your Field: How to Be Successful Without Expertise

main.jpgI openly acknowledge that I am the outlier at my organization.

As Communications Coordinator at Nonprofits Assistance Fund, I do not dream budgets nor get excited over financial statements. In school, I never took a single stats or finance class. While I have learned to read a balance sheet or a loan document over the past year, I am by no means the “go-to” person on those topics. In fact, I can tell you with utmost certainty that I will never be a finance guru. My roots are planted deep in the arts and humanities, where my passion grows from words and design standards.

Despite my lack of affinity for all things finance, it’s my job to tell the story of this organization focused on just that: the nuts and bolts of nonprofit finance. How do I do it?

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Nonprofits Are Ready to Take the Plunge

main.jpg“Action and reaction, ebb and flow, trial and error, change—this is the rhythm of living. Out of our over-confidence, fear; out of our fear, clearer vision and fresh hope. And out of hope, progress.” —Bruce Barton

In the spirit of the New Year, change is on our minds, in the form of resolutions and goals. Nonprofit organizations and staff are thinking about it, as we map out the next fiscal or programming year.

We want 2012 to be better, to be more successful, and to operate more efficiently, through our use of better practices. In order to make the year better, we need to be better. We need to excel and improve, and to improve, we need to adapt, to evolve. Luckily, humans are equipped to do just that.

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