Recently I began a project to help a charity improve their digital foundations. To begin I looked at the analytics they had access to and what they were doing with them.
I found that as they’d had a number of people in the Digital Communications Manager role, they had many different Excel Spreadsheets that every new person in the role would create, ignoring the old and losing all of the insight that could have been gathered there.
Through conversation with the team I began to see the route cause of this… each spreadsheet had been created in a very individual way meaning that they were difficult to read and maintain by the new team member. Additionally, when there had been gaps between one team member leaving and another joining, the maintenance of the sheet had been so arduous that the interim manager (generally some one taking the duties on top of their normal role) struggled to keep on top of the data.
With this in mind, I was inspired by an ex-colleague and good friend, who during the time we worked together opened my eyes to the possibilities of spreadsheets to run complex tasks at the click of a button. I would usually fall to an online tool such as zapier to run such tasks but in this instance that just wasn’t possible. So, I spent some time to add another string to my bow and a new language.
By learning VBA, I have not only been able to solve the problem of the team; creating an easy to use data sheet that only highlighted the insights they needed to track their digital activity, but, I have discovered yet another skill to develop.
As a freelancer, I feel that it is so important to build new and practical skills that will support your client’s needs. Yes, it has taken a little extra time to create this sheet than anticipated (and no I won’t be charging the charity for the extra days), but just think without their need I would not have pushed myself to look for this kind of solution and learn how to put the solution into practice.
I say it’s win, win for us both!