We caught up with Portia, the Corporate Partnerships Manager at Bookmark, to find out a little more about her journey into the third sector. Here she shares what a day in the life of a charity is like and the impact she gets to witness on a daily basis.
What spoke to you about Bookmark?
After not having a television at home until the age of 13, I was raised with books and literature as a very important source of both entertainment and education. Having such great exposure to the world of words at such an early age inspires me to work for an organisation with a mission to help every child learn to read, combined with the fact that more than 1 in 4 children in England are leaving primary school each year unable to read to the expected standard. This is just one of many personal stories that provide background to why each of my colleagues work at Bookmark, a charity dedicated to tackling the literacy problem here in the UK.
Why did you choose the third sector?
It's often said that job satisfaction levels are high in the public third sector, and it's easy to see why! From working for a cause that motivates and inspires you daily, to flexible working options, my choice to work for a charitable organisation is constantly reaffirmed as a good one. That's not to say every day's a breeze…third sector workers work incredibly hard, and more than often take their work home with them out of choice. It's still one I would make over and over again!
What is a day in the life of your role?
From being mic'd up on stage delivering presentations to organisations talking about what we do and how teams can help us support more children, to scrambling up 5 peaks in the Lake District with a troop of Bookmark supporters, and chatting to bands when organising our inaugural Ball - no two days are the same!
Do you get to see the impact of your role on a day-to-day basis?
Absolutely. It's incredibly rewarding to build and develop partnerships which are so key in helping not only fund our reading programmes and raise awareness, but also in driving up our number of 'boots on the ground' as we have expanded our volunteering opportunities throughout London this year. It's so fulfilling to see the ways everyone can benefit from innovatively collaborating, for example, our prompt payment schemes have been proven to significantly reduce companies' working capital, whilst raising funds which can be delivered directly to the children we support. Every time my work raises £100, that is a new Bookmark box filled with evidence-based literacy games, books and resources that we provide a school.
Do you have the opportunity to get involved in all business functions of Bookmark?
I'm fortunate to work for an organisation which has encouraged and supported me to develop in the way I aspired to from my first day as a Research and Development Intern right through to my current position as Corporate Partnerships Manager. As a fundraiser, my role covers areas from relationship management to project management, which allows me to get involved with every different function at Bookmark. Given Bookmark's still growing, there's daily interaction with every aspect of the charity, giving me the chance to make an impact across the board.
What is the highlight of your job?
Volunteering! Our team is so lucky to be able to remain as close to our cause as we do. Being Bookmark reading volunteers ourselves, we not only know our programme inside out, we also get to experience the joy of supporting young children improve their literacy skills and find enjoyment in reading. Spending time with energetic primary school children who don't care at all about what's waiting in your inbox is a real perk in itself, but changing a child's story is pretty unbeatable.