We've shared this before, but we'll repeat it again: it is so important to document your processes. If you haven't taken the time to do so, take the time to do it soon, if not right away.
Document the steps you take, the reports you run, the critical columns in said reports, and the additional lookups you may need to conduct in your database. For example, the gift report you run to prepare acknowledgments might contain everything you need and then some. Still, you may have to look up preferred salutations or take the time to elongate postal abbreviations to vanity mailing addresses. Think of all those things “you just know” to do and get them captured in a document.
For your gift agreements or LOIs, record what can or cannot be changed in your templates (which we hope are locked fields) or standard language if you don’t have templates, what internal sign-offs are needed and in what order, and what the expected turnaround time is for your process.
Having all this essential information captured in a document does not pose a threat to your job security. It will not make you suddenly disposable to your organization if you compile a document of what you do and how you do it. We all know that having documented processes is helpful for onboarding new employees, but let's face it, it can really help you in your day-to-day work.
Many of us are facing staff shortages and are juggling our own responsibilities while helping share the workload of vacant positions. Documenting your processes will help others help you if you need to hand off specific tasks to achieve department goals. And not to point out the super-obvious, but let’s be sure that our process documents are saved in a location that can be accessed by our teammates and department leaders and not in a personal file or on our desktops.
If recent times have taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected and to have a contingency plan. Documenting what we do and how we do it is a great way to be prepared for whatever the future may bring our way.
We'd love to hear from you regarding what you've done to capture processes and tasks in your shops. Do you have a shared drive or folder that all teammates can access? Do you have a department manual or handbook for essential functions and processes? Let us know!
P.S. 3-ring binders are perfectly acceptable as long as the content is stored digitally in a central location!