Emma has been interning in our Communications and Events team and has been a huge help over the past three months. In her blog, she talks about her experience of working at Anthony Nolan, what her role in the team involved and what it’s been like working in the charity sector.
In September 2017 I embarked on a three month placement with Anthony Nolan, in a role which spanned across both the communications and events departments. The position – communications and events intern – was mainly focused on assisting with the charity’s annual supporter awards (Anthony Nolan Supporter Awards), which are held each year to celebrate their many valued supporters.
I applied to this internship for many reasons. I had recently graduated with a journalism degree and was looking for an opportunity to develop my skills in the media industry. Before graduating, I had worked on a number of editorial desks at newspapers and magazines and, through these experiences, got a feel for the competitive and fast-paced journalism industry. When I saw the position advertised, I was interested in finding out more about how the other side of the industry operates; how stories are generated and pitched to the press and how that relationship is crafted. Furthermore, I love to plan and have always had an interest in events, so the fact this role combined communications with events seemed like an interesting combination. Lastly, I have first-hand experience of how beneficial charity work can be, and just how much it can improve one’s life. I have always wanted a job that could help people, so the idea of pairing my own skills and interests with a role that could do some good was very appealing.
After securing the role, I had a month or so to prepare myself for what to expect. My past experiences had been in busy news rooms and fast-paced features desks, so I wasn’t sure whether it would be the same in a press team or whether I was entering a very different world.
On my first day at Anthony Nolan I distinctly remember colleagues making an extra effort to make sure I felt welcome. The charity have a ‘buddy’ system whereby a member of staff greets you at reception, shows you to your desk, introduces you to the rest of the teams and gives you a tour of the building. This was incredibly valuable and helped me to settle in. I then had meetings set up for me, so I could meet all of the staff members I would be working with throughout my placement.
From the moment I started, I felt like any other member of staff, I was never made to feel like ‘just an intern’. This is thanks, as well, to the amount of responsibility I was given within my role. My placement was primarily concerned with organising the charity’s awards ceremony and generating press coverage around the event too. I was in charge of communicating with the event’s guests, sending out invitations, tracking RSVPs, liaising with senior members of staff about the event, delivering staff briefing and debriefing meetings, as well as liaising with journalists to gain coverage both regionally and nationally. I love being busy, so this level of responsibility was ideal for me.
The most challenging thing for me – as someone who had no prior knowledge of how it had been run before – was navigating the event from scratch. The ceremony is held annually and I soon found out that it had followed a particular structure each time. I learnt that a few colleagues were expecting things to happen as they had in previous years. This could become frustrating and often meant that I felt I didn’t complete tasks to everyone’s satisfaction as in the past it may have been done differently. Despite this being a challenge, it has taught me a lot about communication within an organisation, and how building relationships with all teams can help to make things run more smoothly, by making sure the right members of staff are involved at the right time.
I am extremely proud of what I have achieved at Anthony Nolan. In just three months I helped to deliver a prestigious event in the charity’s social calendar and generated over 90 articles in both regional and national press around the awards, all while working across various departments to make it happen. I never thought being an ‘intern’ would allow you to have such responsibility and I am truly proud to have seen the event all the way through from start to finish, with various successes in between. For example, the 2016 event didn’t generate any national stories, but in 2017 we have four potential articles going out in nation-wide newspapers and magazines, with an enormous reach.
I would certainly recommend this internship to anyone looking for experience in the charity sector, especially within communications. It is a brilliant first step into working for an established press team and the amount of responsibility given is incomparable to anything I have experienced before. I can’t wait to take everything I have learnt at this amazing charity and build on it in a permanent position in the future. Thank you to everyone at Anthony Nolan.