Staff to volunteer… and back again: two supporters write
At Save the Children, staff and volunteers aren’t always different people. Here, two supporters who have moved between the two talk about their journey.
STAFF TO VOLUNTEER: Su
‘After a career in retail I moved into the voluntary sector at 50, as a community fundraising manager with Save the Children. That was definitely the most worthwhile time in my working life… until now.
It’s true what they say: I find that in retirement I’m even busier than when I was working, BUT the time and energy I donate to Save the Children is really rewarding. Having been a staff member, I know what the money we raise can achieve, how costs are kept to a minimum and how volunteers are valued.
The volunteers I worked with as a member of staff brought a wealth of experience to Save the Children; they were doctors, diplomats, teachers, chefs, farmers, gardeners and many more. They showed great initiative when it came to new and exciting fundraising ideas, and we organised golf tournaments and gymkhanas, walks and concerts, cookbooks, feasts and all kinds of other events and items – there was something for every occasion. I learned so much from them and now I have an opportunity to put what they taught me into practice. You could boil it down to this: “Do what you enjoy and make fundraising FUN”.’
VOLUNTEER TO STAFF: Hilary
‘I began volunteering with Save the Children at a Mary Portas Living and Giving pop-up shop in Westfield Shopping Centre in June 2009. At the time I was job-hunting and volunteering with a number of charities, and I was keen to see how the charity and fashion worlds would work together at Westfield.
Despite my lack of retail experience, the Save the Children staff encouraged me to get involved and learn about all areas: I was made to feel like there were no limitations to the help I could give. I instantly felt valued and needed. The positivity and enthusiasm of the Save the Children staff was also clear, which led me to offer to volunteer at Head Office. Within weeks, I was working with Community Giving, taking part in a variety of tasks, from mail merges to Christmas card distribution (in July!), data cleansing and sourcing raffle prizes. It struck me what a vibrant, ambitious and friendly organisation Save the Children is, and I felt privileged to be a part of it.
After a few months, I was in the fortunate position of being offered a few weeks paid work in the Property Department. These ‘few weeks’ became a year, before a restructure of the Department, and a permanent job in the Property Dept became available, which is where I work now. I had volunteered with the aim of keeping busy and being useful whilst I was job hunting, and it was a bonus for it to lead to a paid job which I enjoy!
I look back on my volunteering with fondness, and still work with some of the colleagues I volunteered with four years ago. Since then, I have recruited a few volunteers and I always try to behave towards them in the same way I was treated – that is, to make them aware of the benefit of the tasks they undertake and make sure they feel a part of the organisation. Volunteering also opened my eyes to the range of opportunities on offer, and the different skills that Save the Children in particular require and value in their paid and non-paid colleagues.’