My final week at the foundation was unfortunately disrupted by acute tonsillitis, meaning I had to stay at home some time to rest, before moving on to being able to work some hours from home and then finally returning to work in the office.
In this week I returned to a project given to me by one of the Trustees during my arrival. This was to compile a spreadsheet containing information about some of the wealthiest millionaires and billionaires within the borough, particularly with regards to whether or not some of them might have charitable foundations in their name to which the foundation may be able to apply for support. This was, ultimately, a process I didn’t manage to complete (perhaps something I should have expected considering the vast wealth of some of the borough’s inhabitants) but I did manage to shed some light on the somewhat surprisingly numerous and extensive charitable endeavours and organisations some of the borough’s wealthiest support.
To aid in the process I’ve just described, I met up with the former Director of the Foundation (who actually organised my internship) to discuss if there were any contacts or information she could give me to include in my spreadsheets about residents within the borough. Meeting with her at her new office in Somerset House was a useful experience, both in terms of the work I was doing and also making me realise the importance of knowing people and having an abundance of contacts in the Charities/Not-for-Profit sector. She also gave me some useful advice as to the best tactics to employ when approaching people like this to support the Foundation, as well as how best to ask them and, indeed, what to ask them for. Experience in this field can be priceless, especially as you rarely get more than one chance with this sort of endeavour.
My final task was to analyse the leaflet the Foundation produced last year for their “Winter Warmth” campaign. Here they ask residents over 60 who don’t need their Winter Fuel allowance to donate it into a fund so that it can be used to support those who are in danger of falling into fuel poverty. This was an interesting exercise, reminiscent of some English Language exams I had sat in my school years. I analysed the leaflet’s use of language, how it made the reader felt, as well as looking at the clarity of the message being conveyed, the structure and branding as well as the aesthetics of the publication. I then tried to critique it, and highlight areas that could be improved, such as the apparent ambiguity (it wasn’t clear exactly what the reader was being asked to do).
On the last day, the new director took us out to an enjoyable lunch together, and I had an opportunity to reflect on all I’d learnt and done over the past month. I had been given an insight into the heart of a charitable organisation, into what life is like on a daily basis, into the stresses and strains but ultimately sweetness of success when you achieve something that will make the lives of the disadvantaged better. I’ve had a great time, learning huge amounts, doing much and meeting some very friendly and helpful colleagues. I would hope reading this blog has helped convince someone to undergo the same internship, maybe even at the same organisation. It would be great for it to benefit another student as much as it has me.