Friday, 4 July 2014

Interning at Dig Deep-by Sarah Caroll

I picked up an email from Dig Deep for the first time when James emailed Sheffield RAG asking for the go ahead to run their challenge programme in Sheffield. James explained his background with RAG and that he didn’t want Dig Deep to tread on our fundraising toes, I think this alone is a testament to how much the team respect student fundraisers.

At Sheffield RAG, all our money stays in the local area so we choose not to support international challenges but we also don’t find this an issue in most cases as challenges of this type don’t particularly need a RAG’s help, they pretty much sell themselves and can organise their own fundraising. I don’t see international challenges as competition for RAG simply because we facilitate a completely different range of events in comparison to climbing Kilimanjaro. One of the lovely things about Sheffield University is how popular fundraising is. There are 24,000 students at Sheffield University; we can let Dig Deep take 20.

Sarah rocking the benefits of multiscreening!

The second time I received an email from James was in relation to him hoping to find an intern as part of Sheffield University’s ‘Sheffield Internship Scheme’, backed by funding from Sheffield City Council. I miraculously managed to pick up the email one day whilst procrastinating from revision, and applied to work for 100 hours. In my first year of RAG I quickly realised I wanted to work for a charity when I graduated. Nevertheless, I’d never got round to finding any experience in the office of a charity before- the case of many students’ laziness towards making themselves employable. So I was very delighted to hear from James for a second time about something a little more self-interested.

My job was to assist Jessica in developing the student fundraising for 2014-2015. That involved organising and preparing resources for all the group leaders and their teams. Jessica asked me to write a student fundraising guide and pull together various bits of info about the trip, which led me to become very jealous of all the participants who are taking on Kili.

The internship has made me more confident in my own student fundraising skills and I enjoyed sharing stories with the team of some of the crazy things students come up with. I’ve seen fundraising from a professional level rather than a fairly manic and stressful RAG level (understatement?). I had never thought about the value of student fundraisers outside of University before, but apparently we’re quite a big deal to charities.

It was insightful to receive little snippets about the charities field work. I really like that Dig Deep create a panel in the communities to make the big decisions about the projects, and tries to keep these panels gender neutral. After all, the women end up being responsible for the water collections the majority of the time.

I will try and endorse the tagline “every poo needs a loo” wherever I end up. I think it’s fair to say that as a fundraiser I don’t think enough about how big a difference such little money can make. It’s always humbling to be reminded of stories, videos or pictures where money has changed someone’s life. Without a doubt the highlights of my time with RAG have been meeting the charities, so I very much enjoyed spending 3 weeks in the charity atmosphere. Filling out mundane street collection permits wasn’t a chore in the slightest knowing that as a result hundreds of school children would receive clean water and sanitary toilets.
Interning has prepared me (I hope) for working after my final year at University but it has also been a very enjoyable three weeks. One of the nicest things about being in the office was how much time Jessica, James and Ben had to talk to me and ask my opinion on their work. It is a massive comfort amidst the panic of graduates to know that all three of the team have originated from RAG backgrounds and uplifting to hear of all the positive things they have to say about working for a charity. Being involved in charity has led me to meet some truly wonderful people and I can now add to that list. I would like to thank the Dig Deep team for having me in their lovely, tea drinking, Katy Perry listening office.

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