As I mentioned in blog #1, I am currently involved in an internship at a charity named emerge poverty free here in London. It has been an extremely interesting experience thus far, and I’d like to talk about it just a bit.
First off, to be honest I was very nervous about this internship; I didn’t know what to expect from English people in general, didn’t really know what I was going to be capable of doing to benefit this charity, and didn’t know whether or not they’d have any worthwhile tasks for me. On my first day my anxieties weren’t exactly extinguished, as I spent most of the day uploading photos to Flickr and tagging them – a rather mundane and mindless task. However, Jeremy, the CEO, gave me a writing assignment for the website which I completed promptly. They really took to my writing style, which led to increased opportunity on day two.
On my second day, Louise, the fundraising guru, sat me down and gave me some insight into the grant writing process. This basically includes researching trust foundations who donate to local charities, figuring out what kind of values they have and which projects they may support, and writing up a nice overview of a project which leaves them no choice but to donate. Unfortunately (or fortunately, as it may be) Louise left shortly thereafter for a two-week project site visit, leaving me to figure out the process largely on my own.
The nice thing about grant writing is that the process embodies a variety of different components, and it has allowed me to really get a deep understanding of some of the projects that emerge carries out. In short, I started by digging into a variety of project information on a project that deals with street children in Burundi, Africa. After looking at a variety of former grant applications and visit reports, I started contacting trusts. This process involves looking through their accounts, values statements, websites, etc. to see what kind of charities and projects they support. Upon finding a few trusts whose values seemed in line with ours, I started making phone calls to get the application details make an initial connection. Once all of this was established, I just started writing applications like a madman.
In addition to grant-writing skills, which are extremely useful in health occupations, this process also involves phone adequacy, professional skills such as cover letter and e-mail drafting, and a great deal of organization, as every application must be documented and tracked extensively. This is all great, but the real benefit is doing something that’s actually worthwhile for such a wonderful organization.
Last week, we received some great news: one of my applications had been accepted, and we received a check for 3,000 pounds (roughly $4,500) for counselor salaries in the Street Kids Program. It was great to see some results of my labors, but what really stuck out in my mind was the reaction of the rest of the staff. They were pumped! We even went out on that Friday to celebrate. I could go into much more about how cool the staff at emerge poverty free have been, but that’s a story for another blog.
In short, I’m awfully grateful to be taking part in this process with such a great organization as emerge poverty free. Thanks.
Lee Bartnik, a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point majoring in dietetics, is blogging about his study abroad experience in London.