Confessions of a Clutterbug

Going paperless is at the top of my 2015 New Year’s resolution list. And not just because I worry about deforestation. Paper kills time – as tempting as the print button can be, I know that every time I print a document, I add more work for myself. There’s no “Search All” button for a cluttered office, and even neatly filed papers need constant maintenance to remain orderly.

But going paperless isn’t a magical fix-all. Too often I find myself filing a PDF away on my computer, to be read when I have some spare reading time. When I finally find that spare time for reading catch up, I go for whatever is at my fingertips. But, even with a somewhat organized electronic filing system, searching through my files to find my unread content is never convenient.

Regardless of age or tech savvy, it takes time and discipline to adjust to keeping organized in the digital world. That’s why my second New Year’s resolution is to continue building this ongoing organizing and keeping a pulse on the field into my routine. One way I currently do this is by consuming content on GrantCraft. Setting aside time to take advantage of the resources available on GrantCraft helps me appreciate the work I do in the larger context of grantmaking entities all over the globe. As a newcomer to the nonprofit sector, I like to browse through Tools on GrantCraft. I can even filter these by experience – “newbie” for me. There are also some excellent reading materials available. If you haven’t read it yet, check out Lucy Bernholz’s annual industry forecast, Philanthropy and the Social Economy: Blueprint 2015. In addition to providing some great bonus words, like ideate (“Designers don’t think or brainstorm, they ideate”), she also provides an interesting overview of current digital data governance in the nonprofit world.

Resolutions are always easier said than done. It’s easy to get bogged down in day-to-day tasks and forget to take time out to read about broader developments in philanthropy and the work of funders. Enter GrantCraft’s free Dashboard feature. If I can’t finish reading something, I pin it to my Dashboard instead of printing it out. I stay in tune with the foundation world without cluttering my physical or electronic desktop.

When I return, the articles are still there, easily accessible, like a library bookshelf. And here’s where being paperless really pays off. Unlike an actual bookshelf, my Dashboard is always up to date. I – and I know I’m not alone here – hold on to a book or newsletter for years after it becomes irrelevant.  Just in case… With my Dashboard I can always re-pin something if necessary, so there’s no need to hoard. My Dashboard is a snapshot of what I’m thinking about at the moment:

Tell me what’s on your Dashboard!

About the author(s)

Grants Associate
The Commonwealth Fund