5 time management tips to make the most of your work week

Donor Experience Officers partner with EverTrue to manage prospects of 1,000 high-potential, previously-overlooked donors. They make over 30 donor touchpoints each day. They increase outreach by 2000%. They 4x donor engagement activity and increase revenue by 3.4x within their assigned portfolios. 

DXO productivity is off the charts. 

But, conducting this high-velocity outreach and having thoughtful, impactful conversations with donors requires focus and organization. 

Effective time management is key.

We brought together some of our Donor Experience partners at Memphis, Purdue, Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of Idaho, and Vassar College to share top tips and tricks about how to make the work week as effective, efficient, and sustainable as possible.

1. Don't wait or procrastinate.

Diving into complicated projects that require deep work can be daunting. But, the dread will drain you more than the doing. 

Some advice from Donor Experience Officers is to start your day with a “big rock.” Grab a cup of coffee, log in to your computer, and kick things off with a task or project that you like the least, a task that is time consuming, or a task that requires a lot of forethought.

There are a few wins that can come from starting your day with the tough stuff. First, most of us are most alert and productive within our first three hours of dedicated work time (source: Business Insider). Second, tackling a big task right off the bat gives you power over your to-do list, rather than allowing it to haunt your thoughts. And third, the rest of your day will be easy by comparison.

2. Use data to your advantage.

You know we’re big proponents of data-driven decision making at EverTrue. So, check out these data points to inform your call and email strategies.

  • According to RingDNA, the best time to call prospects is in the late morning just before lunch, with the highest likelihood of answered calls between 10am and 11am
  • A 2020 study by Gong suggests that the best days to call prospects are Wednesdays and Thursdays. According to our star DXOs, Friday afternoons can also be a fruitful time to call donors. 
  • According to research by LeadConnect, 78% of buyers purchase from the first company to respond to their inquiry, which implies that response time matters. When an alum reaches out or engages with your institution on social media, follow up quickly.

Bonus data: our EverTrue Donor Experience partners are armed with tech that allows DXOs to look at the “best time to call” metric based on activity within their portfolios. DXOs can also monitor open and click rates of different email templates, so they can hone in on the email subject lines, templates, and calls-to-action that get the best responses from prospects.

3. Group your tasks.

According to positive psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, A “flow state” describes a feeling of a state of heightened focus and full immersion in whatever you are doing. 

A day in the life of a Donor Experience Officer is highly varied – so there is big potential to be constantly pulled in a bunch of different directions, which can make it really difficult to find the “flow state.” As DXOs can confirm, structuring your day based on task type (phone calls, emails, recording ThankView videos, Zooms) can help big time with getting in the flow.  

Grouping like-tasks together can help achieve micro goals to throughout the day (“I emailed 10 new prospects –boom!”) and helps you find a state of flow as you settle into the distinct rhythms of omni-channel outreach.

4. Take time to plan ahead.

Time is our most precious commodity, and unless we’re intentional about how we spend it, it can fly out the door (and get eaten up by meetings that should have been emails).

Every week, you have a new chance to protect and make the most of your time. On Mondays, look ahead in your calendar and find those glorious spaces in the schedule where you don’t have any meetings. Block off dedicated non-meeting focus time and make note of what deep work you’re going to bang out during those chunks: 10 phone calls, ThankView videos to this month’s new donors, research on new prospects in EverTrue, etc. 

Take ownership of your week by blocking off time to get done the things that need to be done. You know best!

5. Manage your own expectations.

There are days that are packed with meetings. There are days that are heavier on noodling and planning. And there are days that are for doing and executing.

Planning ahead for the week can help minimize guilt or discomfort, because you’ll know you have time set aside to hit all the modes in good measure. 

Don’t forget to make time for inspiration. It will boost your productivity AND make you a happier member of your team. Whether you have 10 minutes or a full hour, we have tons of inspiring podcast and video content on EverTrue Studios.


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