Guest Blogger, Dee Russell shares why she volunteered at The Society of St James and why she is so keen to become a more permanent member of the team:
The opportunity arose for me to look at a change of direction and I knew I wanted to explore fundraising. With a background in graphic design, marketing and also sales, it seemed the only logical progression for me to maintain some social accountability. I’m no social worker, but perhaps I could use my skills to help others.
Homelessness is a big issue in any city, but it’s the causes of homelessness that interest me. The fact that the Society of St James aren’t all about putting a roof over people’s heads and leaving them to fall back into the trap is the real pull for me.
If you need to gain experience in something you haven’t done before, and can financially afford to do so, throwing yourself into volunteering is mutually beneficial. The charity or organisation get a free member of staff for an agreed period, and you gain invaluable experience. I would recommend volunteering to anybody taking a sabatical, returing to work or seeking a change of direction.
I finished my agreed voluntary period a few weeks ago but had embarked on some pretty hefty projects so have maintained them voluntarily. Currently, I am working as a relief worker, covering annual leave, but I am actively seeking work as a fundraiser in the charity sector. Ideally I’d stay here at SSJ, small charities offer great diversity in fundraising and they need the enthusiasm and commitment of their staff, arguably more so than larger charities.
Tell us about these ‘hefty projects’.
I’ll give you a sneaky peek into my work. Currently I have a design project on the go, working on the charity’s Annual Review in readiness for the AGM.
In terms of fundraising, I am pulling together the elements of the StreetSmart Campaign which lauches in Hampshire in October. It’s been running in London for the last 12 years and now, we are bringing it to our county.
And then, in terms of awareness raising, we have the Skinny Steve logo design competition drawing to a close, entires so far show promise.
I’ll keep the rest closer to my chest for now … or we’ll have nothing to blog about. Suffice to say, I love working at SSJ, and I love being a fundraiser, hard work? Yes definitely, but fun? Certainly.