There are many favorite things I think about when someone mentions summer – grilling out, farmers markets, Ohio sweet corn, vacation, more time outside and a less structured pace.
At work, June and July tend to have fewer meetings, we’re getting some much-needed rejuvenation with our summer work hours (longer days during the week and abbreviated Fridays) and we’re getting more time to focus on internal projects because many of our clients are often taking vacation as well.
But the added summer leisure and time off doesn’t mean we’re not working hard. In fact, the different pace in the summer gives us an opportunity to work on some internal projects that need more planning and thought. These projects benefit from more open blocks of time and a fresh mind that we get from having a more relaxed pace.
(Read our blog "The importance of taking a break.")
As I looked at the work we’re doing this summer at Dot Org Solutions, I noticed much of it was focused on growth. But, not just growth for us as a company. We’re building programs, resources and services designed to help our nonprofit clients and professionals in their growth as well. I’m excited to share some of the details of our work with you.
STARTING WITH OUR OWN GROWTH
We’ve always been fans of plans here at Dot Org and regularly develop them for our clients to help them with their growth. But to serve our clients the best way possible, we must also spend time on our own internal planning to address current and future growth needs. We do this in several ways.
Focused and thoughtful strategy:
Several years ago, we started using EOS as a basis for our planning and ongoing internal operations work. That work started by team adoption of principals outlined in the book “Traction” and other books by Gino Wickman and ongoing deployment of those principals.
This summer, we focused on setting measurable goals and implementing Q3 plans, finalizing plans for Q4 and working on initial plans for 2022. We have ambitious goals as a company and planning six months to a year ahead is helping us stay focused and develop plans that will get us to where we want to be. We review these goals and regularly and have them on our staff meeting agenda as a reminder.
Continued process improvement
Each quarter we talk about what processes are working, aren’t working or need improvement within the company. This summer we are working on cross-training employees on operational functions, making tweaks to our new employee onboarding procedure and creating automated workflows for efficiency and consistency. We are also constantly looking at our written service and project management protocols to ensure we are consistent in our service delivery. We find that by focusing on only a few processes each quarter, we’re able to make substantive improvements that are beneficial to our team as well as our clients.
BUILDING NEW AND ENHANCED SERVICE OFFERINGS
Many of our clients know us for our marketing planning, content development, fundraising consulting and grant writing services. But over the last two years, we have been spending a great deal of time helping clients with strategic thinking and planning, building out digital marketing campaigns and providing graphic design services.
Even though we have been doing many of these services for years, we find that many people don’t know it. Therefore, we’re announcing the formal addition of these Dot Org service lines.
Strategic planning: We believe that now is a great time to engage in strategic planning. (Read our blog “The importance of nonprofit strategic planning during uncertain times.”) The pandemic taught us many things, and in some cases revealed areas within our organizations that needed attention. Our strategic planning services can help organizations at all levels of their planning – plan development, accountability matrices and timelines, and implementation.
Digital marketing and marketing automation services: The pandemic also changed how people search for information and interact with organizations. And, more people are online than ever before. So having an integrated digital marketing presence and automated workflows is critical to communicating with people when and where they want to receive information. Our enhanced digital marketing and automation services combine quality content and design with easy-to-use platforms. As a HubSpot Solutions partner, our team is HubSpot certified in the Marketing Hub, email marketing, social media and other digital services.
Enhanced graphic design services: We believe that great content must be complemented by great design that expresses your organization’s brand. That’s why we’re excited to announce the expansion of our graphic design services. Our in-house design studio is prepared to meet your visual needs, including appeals, brochures, digital graphics, annual reports, signage and more.
CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES AND RESOURCES
We invest heavily in our own professional development at Dot Org. We spent a great deal of time in 2020 using our resources and knowledge to provide learning opportunities and resources to nonprofit professionals. Our Dot Org Café is our overall nonprofit learning brand and consists of our Coffee Shop webinars, our Coffee Break e-blast, our blog and our social media channels - Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. We’re working on more resources for 2022.
Fall 2021 webinar series: We launched our Coffee Shop webinars in response to the pandemic and produced more than 20 webinars. We took the summer off, but we are bringing our webinars back in September 2021. The focus will be on donor/consumer behavior and the psychology of giving. (Get more information and register.)
E-book development: Soon, we will be releasing our first e-book “A Practical Guide to Nonprofit Strategic Planning”. This resource is the first of a planned series of enhanced learning resources for nonprofit professionals that are designed to provide more in-depth guidance around particular topics.
Yes, we have lots going on at Dot Org this summer and we’re glad we’ve invested time in providing the best services and opportunities for the nonprofit community. But we’re also taking time to be with our families, get the kayaks out and enjoy the summer amenities that northeast Ohio has to offer, including that fabulous Ohio sweet corn.
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