When Beth Young got her first communications role at Contact the Elderly, she applied for a CharityComms mentor to help her learn and grow in her role.
The communications and administration assistant was matched with Shaf Mansour, head of digital content and communities at Barnardo’s.
“It’s our 50th anniversary at Contact the Elderly this year and my mentoring relationship with Shaf has helped me work towards our anniversary-focused organisational goals. They’re about recruiting volunteers and starting more tea party groups. I’ve been able to discuss with Shaf the ideas I’ve had for content that relates to these goals. This has helped me to produce the right kind of communications to raise more awareness of what we do so fewer older people are lonely and isolated.
For example, in April, we had our Big FifTEA party, where 246 volunteer groups organised tea parties for older people on the same day. Since November 2014, I’ve met Shaf for up to two hours every two months and we’ve discussed ways to gather content at the parties to recruit more volunteers and guests. As a result, we collected lots of photos and memories from older people used as quotes, for on and offline.
Being able to ask questions and discuss ideas like this with someone outside my charity is really helpful. This is my first job after university so I wanted to get a mentor to find out more about communications. I do everything from social media to processing volunteer applications. So I’ve talked to Shaf about things like time management to help me manage my role better. He recommended the project management app Trello which is helping me do more with my working day.
We only have three people in our communications team so Shaf has given me insight into how larger organisations manage projects. It’s really interesting to meet with someone from another charity with different ideas. The most challenging thing is applying the ideas we discuss at work.
I’d recommend getting a mentor through CharityComms. It was a smooth and quick process. I want to continue building my confidence and, once I know a bit more about everything, I’d like to be a mentor myself. It’s helped me so much it would be nice to be able to give that back, like Shaf has.”