My involvement in Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research really stems from the panic that sets in in your final year of University when you realise that you have to work out what you want to do for the rest of your life and fairly quickly! For me, the choice was not a difficult one.
I had been volunteering with my Highland Hospice at home since the age of 16 and volunteering providing social support and services for adults with learning difficulties in the Edinburgh community since I started University. I continue to really enjoy these experiences but wanted to gain more office experience. So I applied to be a Fundraising Administration Assistant with the Edinburgh Office at Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.
I figured that the position would allow me to prove my administrative skills to future employers and get some practical long-term office experience. However, what was really important to me was LLR itself. I have always maintained that to work for a charity you really have to be passionate about their cause and ethos, otherwise you cannot make donors passionate in the same way.
Since starting in April, volunteering at LLR has been one of the most rewarding experiences for me and really shown me where my key strengths lie. My colleagues at the Edinburgh Office are massively supportive of helping me get the best out of my experience with LLR allowing me to delve into my key areas of interest which are fundraising, donor care and patient support.
The support from the team to incorporate all three of these into my work so that I can gain as much experience as possible has been really reassuring. At LLR I am not just someone who comes in to help out with administration once a week but everyone Yvonne, Dave, Kirsty, Emma and Maddy are always thinking of tasks for me to do which both benefit the organisation and myself in helping me to gain new skills and get a grounding of what it is like to work for LLR.
As I am coming to the end of my time at University and inevitably have to start looking for a full-time position to start off my graduate career, I have begun to seek opportunities within LLR itself. I was impressed by the welcoming and supportive attitude of all my colleagues so far and by the ethos of the organisation itself.
People tend to scoff at that but I can guarantee after the first e-mail reply you get from a donor thanking you for getting in contact after they have made a donation or the first company that contacts you with a great raffle prize for an event; you will see that volunteering for LLR is truly rewarding.
My time at LLR along with other previous volunteering roles has re-emphasized for me that my passion lies in working at the front-line for a Charity be that in Events & Fundraising or patient or donor care. I enjoy the knowledge that your work is making a direct difference to the lives of others and in these roles you are reminded of that fact everyday.
I would encourage anyone who has spare time to volunteer with LLR. Even just a few hours a week can make a huge difference to the organisation and in my case it's clear a huge difference to you as a person as well! You never know you might just find an organisation that you love with future paid opportunities that you think could be perfect for you!
Find out more about volunteering opportunities and ways to help us beat blood cancer