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Writing Reports

One of my tasks as a Program Specialist with the federal government is to write reports.  Reports are very important to keep track of information and to inform the public of performance of National Service volunteers.   When you are writing a report, it is very important to establish the audience and the person reading is able to scan the report and able to point out the specific information.  The following four items should be used when you write a report:

1.  Write down your ideas to prepare

You will need to gather the information for the report.  Examples are agenda from meetings and numerical stats. It is also important for other coworkers and colleagues to submit information to you on time in order for you to complete the report timely and correctly.

2. The main body of the report

The main point is usually the section that someone will read after the introduction,   so make it simple to read, no more than 200

words.  Make sure it includes the purpose, the main points,  the ending and any recommendations.

3. Keep the report simple as possible

Make sure the report is very clear and do not use drawn out words and sentences.  You should get right to the point of the item in question.

4. Edit and proof-read

One of the tactics I use is not spending a long period of time looking at the report doing edits. I usually take two days going back and forth going over the corrections.  Some people do not have that kind of time but if you can it is a great idea to do the edit accurately.

In 2003, I decided to make a big sacrifice to resign from a great job to become an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer. Why do you ask? I wanted to be an example to my two children to be community activists and help my community fight the war on poverty. In the three years I was involved I recruited hundreds of volunteers, collaborated with many non profits in the Syracuse area and created systems for nonprofits to use to improve their missions.
AmeriCorps was in danger of losing funding due to the cuts in the 2011 budget. Thousands of alums rallied in the US House of Representatives on February 25 to voice their support not to eliminate the Corporation for National and Community Service.
According to the AmeriCorps Alums website, over 200,000 Alums and supporters shared the message to Save Service by signing petitions and spreading the word on social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook. Also alums and other supporters of National Service met with Congressional representatives and voiced their opinions on why National Service is important and must continue.
As of today, the 2011 budget did save operations but many programs were cut, Learn and Serve was zeroed out completely and others suffered 20 percent cuts.    The House want to continue cuts for the 2012 budget, and if need be shut down all operations.   It is important however, to keep the momentum going and keep spreading the word that the Corporation of National and Community Service funding must continue.
Please contact your local Congressmen and let them know of the importance of National Service. Your support in this cause will help us continue to serve and to give back to the community and the nation.

According to the following article, 10 Tips for writing business emails that say the right thing about you by Lyndsay Swinton, 25% of the workforce spend at least one hour a day managing and sending business emails, 34% were  irrelevant and unprofessional. Working for the federal government and working in a field office, I tend to receive about 50 to 100 emails a day.  I wonder if I should recommend this class to many employees in my agency.

I received an email a week ago from an employee who is very high in the ranks of the agency.   The employee was needing important information from the field offices to create a travel budget.  After the rambling of two paragraphs of words I never heard before, the email ended with the following words:     NUFF SAID….

 Some of my coworkers were shocked of the content, I was more shocked the person used ebonics.

I understand when you send business emails requests, you need to get your point across.  But when you use offensive language, it will cause your staff not to have respect for your authority.   Was the email effective enough to make staff send the information promptly?  I doubt it.

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