Thursday, July 9, 2015

work accomplishments, finally

I've been at my job about five and a half months.  It has been a long, fast, and overwhelming 5 months.  The office was so outdated, with way too much paper, antiquated systems, and just overall needed a huge makeover.  I still remember my first day when I wanted to cry looking around at how much work this was going to be.   How long would it take?  Would I quit before I finish some of the projects?

Finally, this past two weeks, I had my first accomplishment, our organization was approved to be included in this other organization for fundraising purposes.  They attempted to get approval a few years ago, but it was a lot of work.  It took 2 months before I was able to submit our application, and then another 3 weeks to revise it before final approval.  One huge thing off my to-do list.  Now I need to focus on getting it out there and hope that people will donate.

My second accomplishment was three months in the making, a new website.  I didn't want to tell people where I worked because they would google it and it could come up and I'd be embarrassed.  It was that bad.  The website was atrocious.  It was probably the original website.  The lady before me hated to throw anything away, and the website was no different, our events page was filled with events that took place like 8 years ago.  At one point she highlighted, in many different colors, the days and times of events.  It was such an eyesore. Instead of just fixing the pages, we decided it would be better to start fresh.  And, with everything going digital the website needed to be mobile friendly too.  Sadly, we don't have a lot of money, they didn't want to pay anyone and they just assumed I would do it even though I told them over and over again I am not a web developer.  You know how long it would take me to learn how to do that? And that would suck up so much of my time.  I was expressing my concern and a friend suggested some of those cheap drag & drop websites.  OK, sure, it isn't ideal for our organization, but I was going to make it work.  I told the relevant work people to send me their updates...but no one ever did.  There was no committee.  There was no help.  It was frustrating, but I did it.  And while it isn't the nicest most professional website, at least it is an improvement over the old website.  And it is much easier for me to update, which is important.

After creating a color scheme (that was based on my shower curtain colors), I created a new newsletter design.  The previous newsletters were standard Publisher templates and they just switched up the color themes for each edition.  I went through them and they didn't change the format for 10 years, I figured it was time.   I took the initiative and started to redo it and figured I'd send it for approval after they saw what an improvement it was instead of being wishy washy having too many opinions.  I still using publisher, but I've reorganized the layout and I told our newsletter editor that we don't need articles that take up a whole sheet of paper.  Sometimes shorter is better, or a mix. We are way late in getting the newsletter out, but once it does, it will have the same colors as the website, hopefully this will help.  Maybe no one will ever notice.

On the almost finished list is cleaning/rearranging the offices.  Our space is not ideal for us, but I have to make do with what we have right now.  This will take a while longer, but I actually feel like progress was made.  For it to get where it is at today, I had to go through about 30 boxes of papers, keep or get rid of, and then figure out how to refile.  I still have more boxes to go through, it seems never ending.  We have so much paper.  We have all these things we needed....but in paper form so I decided we are going to start scanning everything, that would free up three huge filing cabinets.   The scanning process is extremely slow, it  might take us a year...but then we'll just have to reorganize the room again.  Here are some before and afters....
File Room Before
File Room After
Bathroom Before & After
Storage Closet Before & After
My office and the other office still need that those pictures will come at a later date.

So, what's still on the list?
  • we have two storage cages in the basement that needs to be gone through.  There are papers that need to be filed or tossed.  Many need to be kept, but they need to be organized.   
  • we have about 80 boxes of books that we are not using in our those will either be tossed, donated or sold.  If they are to be sold, I will create a 'bookstore' on the new website and hopefully reach other people outside our area.  This will take longer than I'd like it to because I am relying on other people to go through all these books - and they claim they don't have a lot of free time.
  • creation of policies and a policy manual...I started drafts of a few, but really the Board needs to review/approve them, that can take a long time.  More challenging...I need to do this for two organizations, not just one.
  • Fundraising.  This is an area I don't have any experience in....but it is something we really need.  One step was accomplished by setting up the account that I spoke about above, but that isn't enough, we really need to get the name out there a little more.
  • Quickbooks needs a bit of fixing. I started to fix line items and reclassify the chart of accounts, but it still needs a bit of work.   Our fiscal year just started, so, I'd like to get this done soon, or work on it throughout the year so it makes more sense.   Again, I have to do this for two or three organizations.
  • And of course there are the smaller projects.

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