18 November 2013back

Creative Internships Blog Week 5

Jennifer Kirkham, Chapter Arts Centre

Fundraising (or development) is defined as a process of gathering donations of money from individuals, businesses, trusts and foundations or as I have been describing it in its most simplest of terms ‘helping make things happen’. And in the 5 weeks that I have been at Chapter the one thing that I have noticed is that there is no greater feeling than knowing what you do makes a difference.

What is Chapter? Well in technical terms it’s a registered charity; an arts centre that consists of a gallery, two cinemas, two theatre spaces, a large number of hire rooms, a cafe/bar, a community garden, and 30 studio spaces for creative people/companies. Looking through the programme you can see that Chapter has so much going on and so much to offer; numerous festivals, a large education programme, a platform for both local and international arts. But to me Chapter is what I see every day, this fantastic community hub with this amazing energy, this buzz which is infectious. I see this in the staff, the volunteers, the regular faces, and even the mums in the cafe with their babies. It’s everywhere and it makes this job ever more enjoyable.

On my first day I was expecting to be completely overwhelmed by starting a new job and getting to grips with a new environment but my colleagues were nothing but welcoming and friendly (they also provided me with ample cups of tea which always helps) and to be honest that overwhelming feeling never even emerged.

Since then I have dabbled in a bit of everything. I’ve been getting stuck in with all aspects of individual giving as we’re in the process of re-launching our membership scheme; I have done research, tackled mail merge, helped with promotion, even shared the moments where you didn’t think you could see the end of direct mail  and so much more.

On the other side I have done a few different applications to trusts. A little daunting at first but overall this was a great experience; each one had a completely different format to follow, with completely different questions to answer but I really enjoyed the challenge. These applications gave me a chance to delve a little deeper into what was going on in Chapter and opened my eyes to what a difference some of our programme can make to members of the community.

All of this and everything that I have seen or done so far has only made my passion for Chapter grow. I’m proud to be able to call myself part of the team and realise just how lucky I am to have landed this role straight out of Uni. One thing for sure I’m going to make the most of it all, so bring on the next 9 months!  

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