Neil Clark – Charity
1/ PLEASE STATE YOUR NAME, AGE, WHERE YOU STUDIED AND WHAT YOU STUDIED AT UNIVERSITY.
Neil Clark, 23, Loughborough University, studying Information Management and Business Studies
2/ CAN YOU GIVE YOUR WORK TITLE AND WHAT IT IS YOU ACTUALLY DO?
The graduate scheme I am on with Cancer Research UK means that I move every 6 months and I am currently in my 3rd placement. Some of the projects I have worked on are: designing, printing and sending out a magazine and newsletter about our volunteers; designing eCards; marketing eCards; identifying target markets for eCards; inputting into requirements for the eCard website; facilitating workshops with directors; facilitating update days for staff on the change programme I am currently working on; inputting into the way our organisation will operate in the future via the change programme I am currently working on etc.
3/ WERE YOU ALWAYS INTERESTED IN THIS CAREER?
I became interested in working for the non-for-profit sector after working for Caterpillar during my placement year. It was a great year and I got some fantastic experience but I found working to fill shareholders’ pockets unsatisfying. Therefore, I wanted to make a difference, so I set about researching careers in the public and charity sector.
4/ HOW DID YOU FIND OUT ABOUT THIS PARTICULAR CAREER/JOB?
I signed up to several job alert services and stipulated that I wished to find out about charity sector and public sector jobs.
5/ WOULD YOU UNDERTAKE FURTHER STUDY IN ORDER TO GAIN PROMOTION?
Absolutely. I strongly believe that there is nothing more effective than learning on the job but further study is imperative in order to progress in your chosen career path.
6/ WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?
The fact that what I am doing is making a difference to people and I genuinely feel like what I do impacts the organisation. My current role is on a change programme so I also enjoy the current state of change I am working in. It makes the role exciting and reinforces my trust in the directors of the organisation as they are constantly making difficult decisions. Finally, meeting supporters at events is very inspiring and reminds me why I do what I do.
7/ ARE THERE ANY DOWNSIDES TO WHAT YOU DO?
The charity sector is not given the respect it deserves within the wider business sector. People don’t appreciate that this is a career in an organisation that made a "profit" (which is given straight to scientific research) of £315 million last year; that makes us big enough to be a FTSE 350 company. The statistics on our growth since merger are amazing (12% per year) and the people that have made that possible do not get the respect they deserve.
8/ WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT SKILLS/STRENGTHS YOU NEED TO MAKE A SUCCESS OF WHAT YOU DO?
The first one is definitely passion. The people I have worked with are extremely passionate about beating cancer. I would say that ambition is particularly important as well. We are given great opportunities to push ourselves, take responsibility and move around the organisation to gain a greater understanding of it as a whole. Finally, I think the three skills that are most important to me at the moment are being comfortable with a constantly changing environment, challenging peoples’ opinions and standing up for my own opinion.
9/ WHAT WOULD BE YOUR BEST PIECE OF ADVICE FOR GRADUATES WISHING TO COME INTO THIS SECTOR?
Think about exactly why you want work in this sector and follow what you’re passionate about.