Posted: 15 April 2013

Learning about England from my desk

An intern’s job is not always the most exciting thing. There are the nightmare stories of interns being used solely for coffee runs, walking the boss’s dog and managing the copier. Because this is what I expected, I was a bit nervous to start my internship in the Regional Fundraising department.

Although walking Fido wasn’t in my initial tasks, plenty of detailed research was. In my first month, I dived deeply into postcodes, school contact information, hospital choirs and our own programmes across the country. At first, it seemed like a load of nonsense, an unnecessary task for the intern to fill time. But, not being one to ever waste an opportunity, I tried looking at it from a different perspective.

For example, I come from the US, where our school system is different from the British system. But I now understand the differences between Church of England schools, academies, free schools, state schools and public schools. I also now know that here, students usually go from primary to secondary school – there’s not often the middle school we have in the States.

Learning about our work with young people

My research also led me to our programmes and projects, which work to improve the lives of children and young people across the country. Here at our headquarters, we try to share their stories as widely as possible.

Each week I interview a programme director for their take on their work and its benefits to their community. I then present my findings to the fundraising team during our weekly meetings.

At first, this was a nerve-racking task, because I’d never done a telephone interview before. But after the first question, I remembered that people love to talk about their work, especially when the work is heartfelt and rewarding.

Each programme manager has a fresh perspective that adds to my understanding of The Children’s Society. They explain to me exactly how the organisation helps improve children’s lives. Also, these interviews reveal success stories that we can share with supporters and reaffirm why we work so hard at what we do.

So, when my supervisor asks me to fill in another spread sheet, I don’t silently moan but instead look forward to what I will learn next about England’s children!

By Monica Foss - Fundraising and events team

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