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10 Tools To Save Your Nonprofit 10 Hours a Week

Recently I had the pleasure of speaking to the NonboardBoard at one of our monthly meetings and talked about simple ways to be more productive as the leader of a nonprofit. I shared several of my favorite tools and apps and wanted to give everyone who wasn’t able to be there a few of my favorites I shared in a few I didn’t share! 

In this post I’m sharing 10 best online productivity tools that save me at least 10 hours every week and can do the same for you. I’ve put the time each tool saves me per week next to each one. Let me know what your nonprofit’s favorite tools and apps are in the comments!

1. ATEXT –SAVES 30 MINUTES

atext text expander

A text expander, like Atext, allows you to create keyboard shortcuts that automatically expand to common phrases or text. When you type in a shortcut, Atext will replace it with the full text so you don’t have to type it out.

For example, you could create a shortcut that triggers your mailing address any time you type “adr” and hit the spacebar. You can do the same with your email signature, an entire email template, and more. I use shortcuts for names, directions, URLs, email templates, commonly used phrases, and dozens of other things.

Atext is for Mac and it’s only $5 for a lifetime license!

2. CALENDLY – SAVES 1 HOUR

calendly scheduling app

Calendly is my personal appointment scheduler. It saves a huge amount of time by eliminating the back and forth when trying to schedule a meeting. Simply set up the type of meeting, duration, and your availability. Then, give the other person a link and they can choose a time. Calendly even notifies them with the phone number to call or any other instructions you want to give.

Calendly has a free and premium version. The free version gives you one meeting type (e.g., 60-minute call).

3. VOICEBASE – SAVES 1 HOUR

voicebase-transcription-platform

I haven’t seen many people talk about this one, but it’s one of my secret weapons. Voicebase saves a TON of time, especially when I want to recall a certain part of a recorded conversation.

Ordinarily you would queue up the recording and search for one small part, which requires a ton of tedious work and time. Voicebase removes that struggle by allowing you to search the transcript by keyword. It creates a machine transcription (which isn’t perfect but works great for searching) and it will show you every instance in the recording where you said that keyword.

4. ALFRED – SAVES 30 MINUTES

alfred productivity

Alfred is my shortcut to everything. If you use a Mac, the free version is amazing for quickly locating anything on your computer. Alfred also allows you to program almost any action on your computer with hotkeys or commands. And unlike the Spotlight search, Alfred remembers your searches and prioritizes what you search for most often.

Here are just a few of the ways you can use Alfred:

  • Saved searches take you directly to any of your Google drive folders
  • Search all of your Evernote notes
  • Change system settings
  • Turn off or restart your computer by typing ‘restart”
  • Search the web

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s so customizable and saves lots of time searching for items on your computer and online.

5. JOIN.ME – SAVES 1 HOUR

join.me-screen-sharing

I hate writing out technical instructions over and over again. Join.me has saved me, and anyone I’ve tried to explain something to, hours of time. The next time you’re on a call and need to give instructions, just send the other person your join.me link. You can quickly share your screen and show them exactly what to do.

Out of all the screen sharing apps, this one is my favorite because it’s easiest for the other person to set up. All they need to do is click the personal link you send them.

6. DRAGON DICTATE – SAVES 2 HOURS

dragon dictate voice to text

When you just don’t want to type, Dragon Dictate gives your fingers a rest. Dragon is a voice to text software for Mac and PC. It’s far from perfect but one of the best out there. I use Dragon to write blog posts, compose emails and even write out my to-do list for the day.

It’s a little pricey, but don’t pay full price for it — you can often find it up to 50% off.

apple voice to text screenshot

If you don’t want to pay for Dragon, Apple’s built in voice to text lets you record 30 seconds at a time and it’s extremely accurate. If you have the latest OS, hitting fn twice should trigger it. Or, go to settings, dictation and speech, and make sure that dictation is on and you have the right mic selected.

7. OUTREAD/SPREED/SPRITZ -SAVES 30 MINUTES

outread-speed-reader

It’s tough to find time to read when you’re busy, and even tougher to read when you are distracted. These apps take the distraction out of reading and speed up the process using 2 types of speed reading techniques:

RSVP (Rapid serial visual presentation) flashes one to four words at a time at the speed you want. Think of it like words on flashcards at a few hundred words per minute. Spritz and Spreed use RSVP.

Guided Reading highlights the words at the speed you choose while dimming out the rest.

Spritz has a bookmarklet that allows you to select any article online and set the speed at which you want to read it.

The Outread app for iPhone is excellent. It offers both methods of speed reading and you can sync it with save-for-later reading apps like Pocket. Which brings us to…

8. FIVERR – 1-3 SAVES HOURS

fiverr-marketplace

Fiverr is an incredible marketplace that allows you to get almost anything done for just $5.  If you can dream it, there is someone willing to do it for $5 on Fiverr. And if your time is worth more than $5 an hour, this will save you literally hours a week. You can learn more about getting started outsourcing in my course here!

Here are a few things Fiverr can help you with:

There are millions of ways to shave hours off your day for just $5. We use Fiverr several times a week and it saves us hours. If you’re new to outsourcing, the best part about Fiverr is it allows you to dip your toes in risk-free because of the small investment.

I highly encourage you to try Fiverr at least once to see the potential for freeing up hours a week. Start by looking at your tasks you dislike most, and search for someone to do them on Fiverr!

9. LASTPASS – SAVES 1 HOUR

lastpass-password-management

LastPass is my password saving app. It makes it easy to manage all of my passwords, but the thing I love most is the ability to share passwords without the recipient seeing the actual password. Once they have a LastPass account they can easily use the shared password. LastPass also allows you to revoke a password if needed, at the end of a project, etc.

Lastpass can autofill password forms when you want it to. If you have more than one password saved for a site, simply select the password and username you want to use. Lastpass has a great free version and the premium version is only $10/ year.

10. BUFFER – SAVES 1.5 HOURS

buffer social media app

Buffer is one of my favorite social media tools for finding and sharing content. I love the extremely easy to use interface and the ability to set times I want to share content throughout the day.

One perk of Buffer is their mobile app gives suggestions for content to share based on the content you’re already sharing. It’s a great way to find high-quality content to share and discover new content.

If you use chrome for your browser, don’t forget to download the Buffer chrome extension which lets you easily schedule and share any blog post you read.

What about you? What are your favorite productivity tools? Let us know in the comments below.

How to Stay Focused on Your Nonprofit’s Goals

What did you do last week that moved your nonprofit forward?

I mean something big, something you can truly measure.

It’s funny, but those huge accomplishments usually start with something very small. The difficult part is knowing what to concentrate on and having laser-like focus to get it done.

I’ve found the best way to complete these goals is to measure what I do each week that moves me closer to them. How do I do this? I track my time.

In this post I’ll give you three reasons to start tracking your time, even if just for a week. I’ve also included a video at the end of the post that will make it even easier for you to get started. It shows you exactly how to start tracking your time in just five minutes.

Here are 3 BIG benefits of tracking your time:

1. You Can Set Boundaries for Yourself (And Others)

Tracking your time can help you set beneficial boundaries for yourself and others. By tracking in real time you can start identifying patterns in your day and determine what restraints to put on yourself and others.

Pay attention to interruptions that happen throughout the day and the reasons for them. Could you have prevented some of the interruptions with a quick conversation, outlining when you needed uninterrupted time?

Read More

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How Often Should You Update Your Nonprofit’s Blog?

If you ask five people the question, how often should I post my blog, you will undoubtedly get five different answers.

In this post, I don’t want to give you another answer, I want to give you a framework for figuring out how often your nonprofit should blog once and for all.

But first,  let’s look at the question “how often should I blog” a different way. In order to figure this out we need to what know the goal of your blog is.

Is it to attract new donors?

Is it to keep your audience up to date?

Is it to grow your email list?

Or all of the above?

First, you MUST know what you are trying to accomplish through your blog. The next step is asking two simple questions: Who am I trying to reach? And what can I realistically make time for? Read More

Guidelines For Writing NBB Blogs

Screen shot 2014-06-17 at 12.19.03 PMWe’ve assembled some great writers and thinkers, like Joel Widmer, Shannon Litton, and Daniel White as our regular contributors, with some great part-time writers and guest-posters as well. As we officially launch this NBB site, I like to make the guidelines and suggestions known for what we’re looking for and trying to accomplish for each blog.

Dear blogger: Here’s what you need to know when writing for NonBoardBoard (NBB)

1) It’s OK to mention Jesus in your post. Most of the focus of NBB is on the business side of running a non profit. However, that shouldn’t make us forget the ‘why’ of what we’re doing.  Some guy 2,000 years ago worked hard to make sandals that helped the disciples walk farther and longer to reach more people with the gospel.  Even though he didn’t have a glamorous job, he was still very important at helping the disciples do what they do better.  The same goes for us.  We share our ‘non-glamorous’ expertise in skills like social media, accounting, efficiency, strategic planning, networking, etc, so that these leaders and their nonprofits can go out and preach the gospel, serve the widows and the orphans, heal the sick, rescue the slaves, and make an impact on the world.

2) It’s OK to mention mistakes in your post.  One of the driving goals of NBB is to remind leaders it’s OK for them not to know everything, and part of that is admitting mistakes.  In the ‘about’ section, I admit one of my mistakes that almost stopped NonBoardBoard before it really got started.  The important thing is that if you do make a mistake, you fix it, you improve, and you go on to make an even bigger impact. Read More


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