A volunteer member once enthusiastically told me “I love a good binder!”. I’ve taken that to heart over the years and have created many, many good binders. Why? To preserve the online education programs and processes I worked so hard to put in place! At some point, circumstances that may or may not be in your control will dictate that someone else is going to need to review past decisions in order to make future ones. So, for the sake of your educational programs and all your hard work, start building your binder*! Here are some tips to get you started:
Before diving into specifics, it’s good to provide an overview of the department to any new staff. Here are some things to cover:
While some of this information may be included in the main education department overview, it’s important to also keep these items separate and readily available. This could include:
This is a pretty simple one and could be filed under your Education Department Overview, but it is important to we felt it was worth calling out on its own!
It’s not easy creating a budget from scratch — especially when you shouldn’t have to! Having the previous year’s program budgets with a short narrative of each noting why key financial decisions were made can be helpful with budget decisions for the future.
Whether you’re providing direct links to reports, instructions on how to pull different reports, actual reports in Excel or PDF, or all of the above — make sure your education department knows where they should be going to find this important data! Some important reports that come to the top of my head include:
You may have a full marketing department handling everything, you may not. Either way, it’s important for your education department to understand what marketing is doing! Some important items are:
There will probably come a time (or many) when you’re tasked with drafting up one document or another. It’s always easier to do with previous examples to work from! Examples could include:
Okay, we’ve covered a lot of ground above, but there are still probably some frequently asked questions that just don’t fit into the categories above (or, maybe they do but what’s the harm in having the information in more than one place??). Think back to when you were new, what did you wish you would’ve known? What questions do you get from members or staff most frequently?
Can you make it a goal to complete your binder by the end of the quarter? The year? Six months from the time you are reading this? Whatever your timeline, set one and make this a priority! Also, make sure to ask your Blue Sky Client Success Manager about our Staff Transition Package that can help you get a huge jump start on your program’s documentation.
*Note: Having a printed binder may seem a little archaic, but having a physical guide can be surprisingly useful. For preservation, safety, and ease-of-updating, all documentation should also exist electronically, of course!