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Day in the life of our Challenge Manager

Name: Jo Black

Job: Challenge Manager

Started: July 2014

I’m not very good in the morning. I wake up about 7:30am and have a quick shower before making some spinach and eggs on toast whilst having a very strong filter coffee and listening to BBC Radio 6 (although they sometimes have incredibly loud beeping songs which I find rather stressful!).

I usually walk in to work which takes about 30 minutes which I do today – Sheffield is a beautiful place to live and very hilly so I get rewarded for the exercise by the incredible views overlooking the city. I get in around 9am – check my emails and my Facebook messages which consist of lots of fundraisers asking questions varying from ordering new fundraising tins to their amazing fundraising ideas! I also have a scroll through my work newsfeed and save some fab pictures of some fundraisers at Queen Mary Uni who have dressed up in the name of Dig Deep!

After answering my messages, I write a to-do list of what I personally need to get done that day and what the Challenges team need to achieve in the week. I’ve tried a few times to use an online to do list but I’m a paper girl at heart! This week we’re busy getting the flight emails ready to send out to fundraisers, completing fundraising 121 calls (where we call each of our fundraisers and create a fundraising plan with them based on their interests – I love hearing all the varied ideas that people come up with!) and checking that people have their online BTMyDonate pages set up so that people can sponsor them for their Mt Kenya and Kilimanjaro challenges.

I’m also in the middle of planning our brand new fundraising challenge events at the minute – the Maasai Cycle and the Maasai Marathon. I’ve been working with my colleagues Jessica and Ben on these for months, talking with suppliers, writing copy and putting together a communications plan. Today is the day that we launch (I’m very excited!) so I’m just making last minute tweeks to the website and working with James to make sure that the webpages are redirecting properly. These new fundraising challenges are such an exciting move because it means that we will have lots of fundraising events happening throughout the year and we are able to offer project visits on these ones – so our fundraisers can see where all the funds that they’ve worked so hard for are spent.

I have lunch at my desk (last night’s pizza – delicious) and catch up on the news. I have a chat with Mike at Autism Unseen afterwards, which is a charity we’re working with to enable Autistic individuals to fundraise and climb Kilimanjaro with us which we’re really excited about, he asks me to send over some logos for his promotional campaign and explains that he’s working with colleges over the country to find the fundraisers. Next, send a couple of emails to some RAGs based in London that we’re working with to see if they have a suitable location for our Bungee Jump fundraising event – where our challenge fundraisers from across the UK can come along and get sponsored!

I went to Uni in Sheffield and studied Business Management – mainly because I didn’t know what I wanted to do and that seemed like a good all-rounder that could take me in a lot of different directions. I fell in love with fundraising at Uni though, volunteering for the Sheffield RAG committee for two years and raising huge amounts for local causes with the rest of the committee. That secured my desire to work for a charity, and when I saw the Dig Deep opportunity as Student Fundraising Co-ordinator arise I knew I had to apply! Dig Deep is an awesome charity to work for and having the privilege to go and visit the projects that we built with the communities is something I’ll always remember. I love working with students too – giving out fundraising ideas that suit them and their interests is great and I love delivering a good motivational pep talk if someone is feeling worried about their fundraising!

Getting the opportunity to travel out to East Africa each year is also an incredible opportunity and I really enjoy waving off all the fundraisers that I’ve supported all year up the mountain and celebrating with them when they come back down! For anyone who is wanting to get into fundraising I’d recommend getting lots of experience doing what you love. Join those societies, talk and volunteer with charities and get involved with everything you can when you’re at Uni. I found myself with not enough to do in first year and ended third year having served on 4 society committees which for me was probably the best thing about uni – meeting brilliant friends, having new experiences (like a hitchhike to Sofia, anyone?) and most of all raising tonnes of money for great causes.

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