Day in the Life – Tracy Wells

Welcome to a new series I’m starting on the “Day in the Life” of a fundraising professional! It features the workday routine of awesome fundraisers and is inspired by the series for nonprofit communicators over on Kivi’s Nonprofit Marketing Guide

It is a honor for me to kick-off this new series with the workday routine of my mentor and friend Tracy Wells.

Tracy has been a true rock in my personal professionalization journey. We had a blast working together on National Philanthropy Day for two years in a row and together with Aaron Bley, we call ourselves the 3 Musketeers.

Tracy is an inspiration – she has vast experience, she’s been in development director roles for more than 20 years, her board members and donors adore her, she is the mom to two beautiful sons, works out every morning, eats healthy, is a leader in the community, and an active member in the Cincinnati AFP Chapter.

Tracy Wells, Vice President, Development at YWCA Greater Cincinnati

With 20+ years of strategic fundraising experience, Tracy focuses on building community relationships & securing funding to sustain & grow programs & services that empower women & eliminate racism at YWCA Greater Cincinnati. She has a MBA from NKU, is past Chair of National Philanthropy Day, and is a Forty Under 40 winner.
before 8 am: Most days I’m up at 5am to workout.  As a working mom of 2 very active boys, that’s often the only time I have for self-care. A master multi-tasker, I check emails, social media, and news headlines while I dry my hair.  Then it’s packing lunches and getting Will and Gabe to school on time, practicing spelling words or preparing for a quiz during the drive to school.    
8 – 10 am: I prefer to begin my day with external meetings to minimize my drive time.  I also prefer coffee meetings to lunch meetings.  It can be difficult to have a meeting with food/wait staff interruptions.  Plus, working for a nonprofit I try to minimize such expenses if I’m picking up the bill.  When I come straight to my office downtown, I begin “rounding” when I arrive, touching base with each person on my team about any pressing issues.     
10 -12  pm: My most productive time of day is mid-morning.  That’s saved for proposal writing, phone calls, lengthy email responses, report production – tasks that require the most undivided attention. However, I am always available to my team even when focused on a task.  My #1 priority is supporting each of them in their success. I also keep an ongoing “to do” list so I don’t drop any balls (hopefully).  And I have a giant whiteboard in my office charting out the fundraising plan.
12 – 2 pm: Most of our committee and team meetings are at lunchtime (12:00).  I try to pack my lunch so I’m making healthy food decisions.  If I have time and no meeting, I try to read professional articles or local business paper while I eat at my desk. 
2 – 4 pm: I have a standup desk, which is a lifesaver!  Standing up helps me stay focused when my energy starts to drain from getting up so early.  The hardest part of my job is logistics.  Trying to meet with busy people, individually or as a group, can be challenging and time-consuming without administrative support.  I also like to use this time for research since I find that to be energizing.  I also try to end my day with external meetings, again to minimize my drive time. 

After 4 pm: I try to end my day at the office by looking again at the rest of the week, not just the next day, so I can begin thinking about how I manage my time the following day to prepare for the remainder of the week or the next week.  Being a mom, I’m racing to get boys to tennis, soccer, baseball, or any other seasonal activity, then home for homework, dinner, and bedtime.  I try not to check email during that time and be present with my family for nerf gun wars and jigsaw puzzles.  I also try to minimize evening work activities to one a week to have the best work-life balance possible.  I unwind from 9:30-10:30 by watching a TV show, reading, doing a crossword puzzle, or meditating. 

No two days are ever alike, which is one thing I enjoy most.  I feel very lucky to get to do this work, and at the same time wish this work wasn’t needed. 

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