Nonprofits often have lofty goals around making a difference in the world. Unfortunately, those big goals don’t often come with big teams or big budgets to match. Instead, nonprofits have to learn how to get more done with fewer people without wearing down their staff. That’s no small feat—one in four nonprofit employees experience burnout.
When Brison Edwards joined SisterLove as their first Digital Marketing Manager, he quickly realized how wide the gap could be between everything he needed to do and how much time he had in a day. Based out of Atlanta, GA, SisterLove was founded as the first women’s HIV/AIDS and Reproductive Justice organization in the southeastern U.S. While the organization began by centering black women’s unique needs during the HIV epidemic of the ’80s, their focus has since expanded to address the ongoing health needs of all marginalized groups. In fact, they’ve expanded all the way to another continent with a satellite office in South Africa.
Even with this growth, they’re still a small but mighty team of 18 people across two continents. So, when Brison’s forward-thinking Communications Director, Sybil Miller, tasked him with rolling out a major digital transformation project for SisterLove, he realized he had to find a more efficient way to work—and fast.
Brison found himself in a tough position. It was the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and SisterLove had a limited online presence. With strict restrictions on in-person gatherings, he needed to transform the organization virtually overnight with minimal resources, all while onboarding since he had just joined the team.
As the first person in his role, he had no guidelines or examples to follow. Prioritizing all the work needed to be done was nearly impossible since everything was a high priority as the nonprofit tried to pivot online.
One of the most time-consuming tasks for Brison was content creation. He spent six to eight hours per content topic creating high-quality content across channels, which monopolized his limited time and left him unable to complete other crucial tasks. He simply didn’t have that kind of time to dedicate to one task. He had to speed things up.
After a year of struggling with manual content creation, he found Zapier. Between Zapier’s capabilities and the nonprofit discount, Brison instantly fell in love with the tool.
I happened to find Zapier because I was honestly desperate for something to help me get all of my work done and build these new processes.
Brison Edwards, Digital Marketing Manager at SisterLove
Many people assume they’d need a dedicated team of engineers to build an automatic content creation tool. However, Brison did just that using only Zapier, OpenAI, and Google Sheets.
“OpenAI and Zapier have created tremendous value for SisterLove,” said Brison.
What used to take him six to eight hours now only takes minutes. To get started, he enters a keyword or phrase into a cell in a Google Sheet. From there, Zapier and OpenAI create content for multiple channels, including a blog in the brand voice, an email, an outline for a short video, social media captions, and even text messages.
Instead of manually creating individual pieces of content, he can create multiple pieces all at once and reclaim time in his busy workday.
Here’s how it works for the blog draft:
When Brison fills out the first four columns of the Google Sheet, it triggers a Zap to send a prompt to OpenAI to write an 800-1000 word blog based on the provided keywords
Once OpenAI has responded to the prompt, the Zap looks up the corresponding row for that keyword
The drafted blog is then copied into the correct column for that keyword’s row
Brison has reduced his workload even further by getting the rest of the team involved in the process. By connecting a Google Form to his content creation tool, the entire organization can contribute to their content marketing. When people have an idea, they simply fill out the form and Brison uses this workflow to build content automatically.
“I instantly fell in love with Zapier and became obsessed with it because it’d made my life so much easier while also making me look good at work,” said Brison.
Thanks to his automated workflow, Brison has created a high-quality content production process he can scale. The content he’s generating is so effective that SisterLove now ranks number one in organic search for some of their top keywords.
But the best part is just how much time he’s saving. With this workflow, Brison has saved more than 24 business days of work in less than nine months. That’s more than 190 hours of time he can put toward other goals to help SisterLove achieve its mission.
Brison also helped close the gap between automation, AI, and his colleagues. Not only has he built new tools to reduce his workload, but he’s also educated others and gotten buy-in to adopt more automation use cases across the organization.
Reducing tedious manual tasks can go a long way to reduce burnout for nonprofits. With small teams and small budgets, automation is an effective way to do more with less.