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Administrative assistants are tasked with handling the daily affairs of those in management or directorial positions. These duties can include everything from scheduling meetings and responding to letters and emails to drafting and distributing memos. In the nonprofit sector, duties can also involve helping to organize presentations for fundraising events and even assisting with payroll.
Understanding the Mission
Because nonprofits with 501(c)(3) status are funded through grants, donations and membership fees, it is imperative that the administrative assistant knows and understands the organization’s mission and goals. He must be able to express this information to anyone who may ask -- a donation may be on the line. That income, in turn, funds services and programs that further the organization's purpose and extends its impact.
Modern day administrative assistant positions often call for some technological efficiency. Nonprofit assistants are sometimes charged with researching issues related to their particular organization. They also help to maintain the organization’s membership base by sending financial reports to donors, along with thank you notes, mementos, progress reports and invitations to upcoming events. This role is vital to a nonprofit organization. Assistants must be comfortable using several computer programs for presentations, bookkeeping, donor profiles and volunteer rosters.
In large nonprofit organizations, the administrative assistant may not have a hand in payroll or donor membership duties. However, the responsibilities are still plentiful. The assistant is expected to field phone calls and maintain office order to ensure that each inquiry receives a response and that there are no scheduling conflicts. In small nonprofits, the administrative assistant may also coordinate and educate volunteers. A dependable volunteer base is crucial to the impact of a nonprofit organization. Many times, an administrative assistant not only aids in the recruitment of volunteers but also prepares educational materials for the volunteers, gives tours and explains the mission to them. In addition, the assistant reaches out to volunteers with opportunities to serve in various capacities at upcoming events.
Administrative assistants in small to mid-sized organizations without a dedicated accountant often maintain some aspects of the budget by working with the director to calculate donations, track expenses and ensure that every dollar is accounted for. The assistant also manages the maintenance budget, paying for basic expenses like light bulbs, toilet paper, desk chairs, pens and other stationary items.
Olivia Johnson covers issues relating to the U.S. workforce and human resources. A professional journalist since 2001, she has worked in print and broadcast media for news outlets including ABC affiliates in Tennessee and Alabama, CBS Radio News, Westwood One and public radio. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications and is currently based in Tennessee.