Back to search results
Social Media Officer
About the placement/internship

Why did you decide to do a placement/internship?

I wanted to develop my IT skills, as well as gain valuable experience in the not-for-profit sector.

How did you find your placement/internship?

Through family or friends

What made you choose this organisation for your placement/internship?

While I already had some personal connection to the charity, I had not worked with the organisation on a professional level before and I can say with great confidence that despite the charity's small size, it is one of the most incredible, forward-thinking charities in the UK. This really motivated me to work with the charity and to learn from their enthusiastic staff.

Main responsibilities

The two main activities I engaged in were the development of an English-language section of their website and the development of an English-language Instagram page in order to expand the charity's reach among the predominantly English-speaking second-generation of the Tamil community in the UK. The first activity was something that the charity requested as they had a lack of native English speakers in their organisation; previously all information on the website had been entered in Tamil and then the charity had used Google Translate to generate English translations, resulting in inaccurate translations and grammar. I used my knowledge of both languages to produce accurate English translations that were then uploaded on to the website. The second activity was my own initiative, which was inspired by the successful social media pages belonging to other charities engaged in similar work. Today, social media constitutes a vital source of exposure for any charitable organisation and, therefore, I convinced the charity leadership of the need for a dedicated Instagram page to highlight the charity's successes.

Typical day

Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, my placement was conducted from home. I was involved with learning a lot about the psychology of social media and fundraising, which is related to the second activity. I realised that posts with a significant personal element that provided an individual viewpoint tended to garner a larger response than posts that emphasised the total amount of beneficiaries assisted. I was able to create an Instagram account that had accrued over 200 followers despite our reluctance to share content during the UK's period of lockdowns as we felt that this was the wrong time to ask for donations.

What did I enjoy about my placement/internship?

It would be difficult to do justice to either the commitment, innovation and sheer empathy shown by the charity staff or the determination, industriousness and resilience of the charitys beneficiaries in this short document. While I did not have as much of an opportunity as I initially expected to develop my IT skills, I feel I have become much more creative and innovative. I am very proud of the change that I engendered with respect to the charity's social media posts and advertising. The shift from abstract statistics to individual stories, which I made possible by taking the time to personally interview many beneficiaries, helped us to rapidly raise over 10,000 in emergency assistance during the period of Sri Lankas lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Challenging aspects

The initial plan was to use my organisational and problem-solving skills to solve logistical challenges related to the holding of Tamil Para Sports biennial flagship event, namely a Paralympics-style competition in multiple locations throughout the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka within a short space of time. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the main activity was changed close to the application deadline and this resulted in some confusion as to what the exact nature of the work would be. When applying for the PREP scheme I understood that my work would involve the creation of a new English-language website by learning and using newly acquired web-development skills. However, upon beginning the placement, it became apparent that a suitable website already existed and that my main activity would instead be to translate all the material on the website from Tamil into English. I quickly realised that this would be far better for the fundraising prospects of the charity than what I had originally proposed, and I felt like this activity went extremely well. I'm proud to say that all of the website is now available in English, opening up huge fundraising possibilities for the charity when approaching potential English-speaking sponsors.

Has your time on placement influenced your future career choice?

It has given me further experience in the not-for-profit sector. This, in turn, has had many positive effects on my career development; I now value the importance of being media-savvy and of selling myself to potential employers much more, where I was perhaps a little cynical before completing this placement. This is particularly important given that my research is in a niche area (black hole physics) and one that does not especially emphasise teamwork or other interpersonal skills or, indeed, even the ability to succinctly and effectively convey ones achievements.

You may also be interested in...

Form completed: 03 Apr 2021

Back to search results