It’s Only the Beginning

“The one thing all famous authors, world-class athletes, actors, singers, business tycoons and celebrated achievers in any field have in common is that they began their journey when they were none of these personalities – and yet they began.”

My 10 week summer internship at the Development Office, University of Kent has been a real experience, which I will treasure for many years to come. During my internship, I was part of the Fundraising and Prospect Research Department; working as Fundraising Research Intern. Working at the Development Office was not a normal 9-5 shift. In fact, I got to be involved in real projects – ranging from fundraising campaigns to filming videos and working at the congregation.

I started off my internship looking into the Telephone Campaign where I was involved in preparing recruitment and training materials, as well as preparing the annual report for the Autumn 2015 Telephone Campaign. Being an undergraduate in a scientific field, the report was perfect for me where I could utilize the statistical and analytical skills that I had learned from my studies. This year, the Telephone Campaign, which is one of the biggest fundraising campaigns carried out by the university, was successful in raising over £90,000. The funding is used to facilitate projects such as Kent Opportunity Fund, Hardship Bursary, Postgraduate Scheme and Student Projects in order to promote student experience by facilitating students. In order to promote the Telephone Campaign, I represented the Development Office at the Freshers Fayre stall by designing flyers and distributing them to the students. Alongside the campaign, I had the opportunity to get an insight into the footstep project, a fantastic avenue for the alumni to connect with the university by providing donations to support various projects run by the University and in return, have their personal message engraved in a brick.

One of my shining moments was designing website content for the Student Sport Scheme, a new student project that focuses on enhancing the student experience in the sports sector. Being a student myself, I appreciate the sheer importance of sports in the wellbeing of a student.  My role allowed me to design and compose the website content for this scheme. This involved researching previous alumni, such as Olympic Gold Medallist Susannah Townsend, who received financial support from the university to succeed in their chosen sports whilst studying. It was an invaluable experience to have the privilege to look into their work in sports and how they benefitted from the university. This is evidence of the important role I was provided with, as the content I prepared has now been published on the university website.

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I was also trained in prospect research, including how to carry out various research on Kent alumni, trust organisations and remarkable personalities. I thoroughly relished wealth rating and developing my knowledge of the Raiser’s Edge. It was astounding to learn about the efficiency of the database, which unequivocally helps in carrying out stewardship. Prospect Management and New Leads are also another aspect of the prospect research that I developed my interest in throughout my internship.

Alongside my on-going role, I received a fantastic opportunity to work with my other three fellow interns on a ‘group project’, which focused on re-introducing the University mascot. As an intern team, we worked on the Kent Bunny renaissance, as our main aim was to provide the University with a mascot that can be utilized and supported by all of the university departments. The procedure comprised researching and planning; including weekly meetings and contacting various departments and other external bodies. As a result, we were able to come up with a sustainable plan for the university mascot.

My internship has not only provided me with innumerable skills that I will carry forward with my studies and career ahead but has also given me job opportunities within the University. After the completion of my internship, I got the opportunity to deliver a presentation to a cohort of professionals including Prof April McMahon, Deputy Vice Chancellor Education. I now feel unequivocally more confident about my future employment as these are a unique set of skills that I can showcase to my future employers. The group intern project also gave me a platform to work with students like me who are seeking for career growth. It was really fascinating how we all brought our individual skills to the table to make the Kent Bunny Project a success.

Work-Study Scheme has done a fantastic job in providing opportunities for students to gain skills development training and paid employment alongside studies. The 10 week internship program is an exciting platform for students to attain real career skills where students get to work in a professional setting. I believe my invaluable experience with the Development Office team is evident of what the internship has to offer to students in preparing them for future professions. Finally, I would like to extend my warm thank you to the whole Development Office team for making this internship a spectacular experience.

– Rosdip Rai is a 3rd year Biomedical Science student at the University of Kent.

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