|Biology w. Year in Europe|
|Amnesty International UK|
|Charity and voluntary sector|
|Large business (250+ employees)|
More about Georgia
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A day in the life of a Philanthropy Lead in the United Kingdom
I couldn't have predicted working in this area at all - it's miles away from what I studied but I've found my background in science incredibly useful in ways I couldn't have foreseen.
Briefly describe the organisation you work for
International human rights organisation which operates through grass-roots and democratic power to uphold human rights around the world and bring scrutiny on governments and organisations who break them.
What do you do?
I work as a Fundraiser, specialising in working with individuals who give between 4- and 6-figure donations to support the work of Amnesty International. This involves a lot of strategy, face-to-face cultivation and stewardship, and generally being a 'people-person'!
Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?
It was a very round-a-bout route! I honestly had no idea what to do when I left Uni. I loved my course but knew I wouldn't be happy in the field long-term. I also suffered a close bereavement during my final year so took some time off to re-assess what I wanted. I ended up doing a postgrad qualification in a totally different subject, and that eventually led me to working in museums, and from there to where I am now.
I have always believed that if you follow your interests and skills (and stay grounded) then there's nothing wrong with making what may seem like a big change. If you're honest about what you want, then you'll end up somewhere good. Happy to say I love my job!
Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?
COMPLETELY. Couldn't have predicted working in this area at all - it's miles away from what I studied but I've found my background in science incredibly useful in ways I couldn't have foreseen.
Describe your most memorable day at work
I used to work at the Natural History Museum and there were a lot of memorable days there. One of them was having a meeting with a prospective donor and taking him for a private tour of the giant squid in the basement.
Are there any challenges associated with your job?
Yes there are a lot of challenges. When you work in a sector focused around money and raising funds, you have to be prepared for some difficult or awkward conversations. Especially in my specialism where I'm often discussing personal finances and wealth.
The subject matter I work with often swings between truly heartbreaking and incredibly uplifting - human rights campaign work is incredibly rewarding but burn-out is fairly common. Because of this you also encounter a lot of strong opinions, which you have to respect and manage because they often come from a place of deep care and concern.
There are also the usual legal challenges - being compliant, respectful and adhering to GDPR regulations etc.
What’s your work environment and culture like?
Currently working from home so a bit different from normal!
Usually we're in the office which is open-plan and sitting with a lot of other teams. It's very laid-back and no one is expected to dress formally unless they have a meeting.
The teams are hugely supportive of each other and there's a real acceptance that our work is tough sometimes and if you need to take a bit longer on a lunch break because your work is really intense, then that's ok.
Work-life balance is generally good - it's a job you can't really take home with you. There's small amount of travel around the country and internationally which is rare enough to still be fun.
What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?
I was part of the Mountaineering, Kayaking and Ski & Snow clubs while I was at York.
I attempted to join the choir but couldn't commit to the time requirements!
What would you like to do next with your career?
I think my next big step will be to lead a team, but that won't be for a couple of years.
In the meantime I'm trying to learn as much as I can through training and reading/self-driven CPD.
In the future I may look to go into consulting work, but it all may change before then!
What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?
1) Be. Flexible.
If you've got a passion then absolutely stick with it and try and make it work, but don't be so focused that you neglect having a back-up for the lean times. Could be a side-hustle, part time job etc.
No one looks down on cafe/bar work on your CV - everyone does it at some point. I got hired for my first full-time position while I was working reception at a climbing centre.
2) An academic CV/cover letter is not the same as a professional CV/cover letter
For the love of pizza get someone to read over your CV and give you some advice. Employers are not looking for the same things as universities, and no matter how proud you are of your dissertation topic, it may not be the best thing to go into detail on. I really wish I'd got this advice earlier as it's been invaluable since I did.
What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?
Anything they think I can help with! I'll always do my best to help however I can, or help you find better places to look if I can't.
A list of possibles:
Fundraising & client-management
Charity sector careers
Arts & cultural sector careers
General advice for post-uni life
Finding work in London
Application process tips
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