Working for a small charity means wearing lots of different hats!

My role as Project Co-ordinator involves working on both our employee volunteering programme and our English language project, Talking Together. This means that my job and day to day tasks are varied, from training volunteers to teach English to posting on social media or visiting community gardens to discuss potential team volunteering opportunities.

As part of my role, I work closely with many other small charities and community organisations and I’ve found that my experience is very typical. Wearing many hats is a normal part of working for a small charity. 

When I first thought of writing a blog for Small Charity Week, I considered writing a ‘day in the life’ style piece. I soon realised this wouldn’t work as no day is ever the same so here is a sample of things I’ve done over the past few months to give you a flavour of what it’s like to be a TimeBank Project Co-ordinator:

  • Sourced approximately 50 shades of grey paint to decorate the library of a primary school in Clapham. Volunteers created a woodland themed mural using just grey, white and black, and the result was fantastic. Particularly considering the walls were royal blue at the start of the day!
  • The part of my job I enjoy most is meeting the learners who attend our Talking Together English classes. There is so much fun and laughter that goes alongside the learning.  I recently stepped in to teach one of our classes at the last minute after a volunteer was taken ill. Whilst teaching ways to describe their ailments when visiting the doctor or dentist, I was told that the best way to get white teeth is to wash your mouth out with salt water daily! I haven’t tried that just yet…
  • Starred in a film created by Met Film school students to promote our employee volunteering programme. This involved being filmed ‘typing’ and ‘talking on the phone’ and repeating a handshake with a volunteer a number of times to make sure we got the right shot!
  • Assisted a volunteer with taking her class of beginner level English learners on a tour of the British Museum. This was their last class with their teacher, and it was great to see how engaged they were and how far they had come with their learning. 
  • Spent an afternoon exploring Poundland with a colleague to find decorations and arts and crafts materials to take to care homes. Throughout the year, we arrange for a number of teams of employee volunteers to spend the afternoon doing activities and socialising with care home residents. Last Christmas, this even involved one volunteer who belly dances in her spare time putting on a show for the residents of a Bethnal Green care home.

I have highlighted the more interesting aspects of my job here and alongside all of this are the usual emails, spreadsheets, meetings, data entry and other admin. Although the varied nature of my role can sometimes be challenging, it also means there is rarely a dull day. Most importantly, my job is incredibly rewarding. The sense of truly making a difference that you get from day to day contact with volunteers and beneficiaries is the real highlight of working for a small charity.