Posted on June 7, 2019
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“If our hopes of building a better and safer world are to become more than wishful thinking, we will need the engagement of volunteers more than ever.” — Kofi Annan
… National Volunteers’ Week
Hello, I’m Jamie and I am currently a Volunteer Communications and Marketing Intern at the African Child Trust. I decided to write this blog post as it is National Volunteers’ Week (1st June-7th June) and coincidentally my one month anniversary at ACT.
If you don’t know what Volunteers’ Week is, don’t worry I’ve got you covered. Volunteers’ Week was established in the UK in 1984. It is an annual event that takes place in the first week of June to recognise the contributions of millions of volunteers across the UK. Organisations large and small celebrate volunteers’ Week, together running hundreds of events across the UK and carrying out charitable services both nationally and internationally.
So why did I choose to volunteer at ACT?
Well! first, finding the advertisement online I immediately thought, I could do that, take on the role and positively contribute as a Communications and Marketing Intern at ACT. Second the location -plenty of lunch options – Boxpark by East Croydon station is a good option and thirdly, the people. After meeting Nicola Browne, the Office Manager, now someone I would consider a friend and Kunle Onabolu, charity director and seeing first hand their enduring passion for changing the lives of orphans and widows in need in Africa, I knew ACT was the place to volunteer to express my social media skills, which I do three days a week.
Although I am lucky enough to start my day at 10am, usually I am in the office by 9:40am after going to the gym and so feel motivated and ready to take on the world. I turn on the computer, log in and open up the Twitter account to see if we have any notifications or direct messages, I also check our analytics for the tweets made throughout the week and put on Magic 105.4 to listen to music while working, I then make myself and my colleagues a cup of tea. Now, while this is not a requirement, thanks to working at ACT, I make good tea and it helps for a better working environment. I check the communications schedule to see what our theme is for the weeks’ social media posts, for example if there’s an international day that is relevant, and use this to create our blog for the week. Using Buffer, an online scheduling programme for social media posts, I make sure our social media posts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are scheduled for the week ahead, my main focus being on the ACT Twitter page and ensuring our message is being communicated effectively. If you have been on ACT’s twitter page, it’s more than likely you have come across some of my fun tweets. By 12pm I usually take lunch depending on how much work I have managed to do for the week ahead.
While I mostly schedule social media posts, I am a keen writer and I sometimes write the blog posts for our website. We work hard to keep our content consistent, fresh and relevant. I also draft any correspondence both to internal to other members of staff and to external stakeholders. I also sometimes write the prayers for the prayer leaflet that is distributed to our supporters every month.
Our staff and volunteers, including myself come from a wide range of faiths, backgrounds, sexualities and cultures. I often joke to my fellow team members “You don’t need to be a Christian to work here, but it sure does help”.
My advice to anyone who is thinking of applying to ACT is, go for it, you won’t regret it. It is an amazing place to work and learn, and definitely somewhere you want to be volunteering at if you’re passionate about making a difference to the lives of orphans, widows and disadvantaged people in Africa. There is no doubt in my mind that the smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intentions, Oscar Wilde once wrote. So, what are you waiting for ACT amazing and volunteer for the African Child Trust!
For Volunteering and career opportunities click here.