Charity Administration

I recently worked as a charity administrator, a position I held for five years, as part of my VA portfolio work at Red Desk.  Sadly, we are now wrapping up the charity as a short while back we lost the CEO to cancer.  It goes without saying that I am devastated at the loss of such an inspirational woman and the opportunities the charity gave to young people, but I am very sad to lose the role itself. In this article, I look at the different aspects of charity administration at Barrier Breakers Foundation.



As this was a role for a charity, the flow of the work really depended on funding.  Penelope was an excellent fundraiser and at our weekly meetings, she would keep me up to date with applications and funding that would come in.  This would then allow us to plan which workshops would be run.


Building and Developing Relationships

As part of my responsibilities at Barrier Breakers, I would build relationships with existing or new Further Education colleges.  If it was an existing college, I would phone and email my contact to see if they were interested in workshops, how many and when.  If the co-ordinator had left, I would need to find another key stakeholder at the college.  This involved a lot of detective work scouring the website and LinkedIn to find someone in the right position.  The same tactics were applied when we identified new colleges at which we wanted to run workshops.  Depending on the success of the cold-calling, emails and securing meetings, we often adjusted our strategy for the next round of booking in workshops.


Process and Procedures

Over the five years that I worked with Penelope for Barrier Breakers, we developed processes and procedures that we followed for booking workshops at colleges.  This included the tweaking of our terms and conditions.



We had a pool of facilitators that we worked with at the charity and they delivered our workshops at the colleges for us.  Based on their availability, we reserved them for the workshops.



You really need an eye for detail in this role.  We had a series of documents to fill in that covered various aspects of the workshop delivery process: information for the college about dates, times and facilitator information and then information for the facilitators regarding contacts at the college and who was attending the workshops.



Whilst we were liaising with the colleges and facilitators, we were also arranging for the workshop materials and books to be printed and dispatched.  Our charity admin assistant was in charge of this aspect but I regularly checked in to ensure deliveries had been received by the college in a timely manner.  If items had gone missing then we had to contact the courier company and sometimes, resend parcels.



One of the biggest skills I needed within the role of charity administrator was communication.  We kept in constant contact with the college and facilitators to remind them of the pending workshops.  Sometimes there were some last-minute changes that needed to be communicated with various stakeholders.



Once the workshops had been delivered, we got so much satisfaction receiving the feedback from the participants.  This really made it for us. We could actively see how we were changing the lives of young people through making them aware of soft skills and how to use them to empower themselves for employability or wellbeing.


Follow up

We then followed up with the colleges to see how they felt the workshops went and planned our next round of workshops.  We were in contact when more funding was available and so the cycle started again.


Putting my role down on paper really doesn’t do it justice.  It wasn’t just about the daily tasks, it was about the people I worked with at the charity and also at the colleges.  After having chance to organise workshops that empowered young people really was so satisfying.  I really hope I can put my organisation and communication skills to good use for more worthwhile charities in future.

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