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Interview with Mandy Johnson, Change.org (Director of Partnerships)

ImageEscaping the City: from Banking to Fundraising


Change.org is the world’s largest petition website that allows everyday people to begin their own or contribute to already existing petitions that advocate a cause. Popular topics of Change.org petitions are economic and criminal justice, human rights, education, the environment, animals, health, and sustainable food.

The Initial Motivations

Mandy started at Deloitte (in the private sector) as an international tax specialist. She was prompted to make the jump between sectors by the job satisfaction her husband demonstrated, following his move from the IT sector to the charity sector coupled with the emotion felt by seeing several people around her diagnosed with cancer. Learning more about the third sector, Mandy found out that there was still the ability to earn a good living in the charity sector whilst also increasing her satisfaction levels – providing two strong reasons to enter the sector.

If At First You Don’t See Succeed, Try and Try Again

Interviewing for the graduate scheme for Cancer Research UK, Mandy was rejected after the first round of interviews. In hindsight, the rigidness of habit put in place through being inducted into Deloitte could have made her seem to be inflexible to that specific graduate scheme in the sector. Following the initial phase of disappointment, Mandy found a position with Marie Curie Cancer Care (provides those with terminal illness the choice to die at home.) After a time with MCC, demonstrating her ability and passion for the cause, Mandy applied once more to work with Cancer Research UK – and this time was successful.

Less Pay, More Reward

Although the pay grade is often less than in the private sector, and the hours are not always shorter (although in Mandy’s case, this was due to personal motivation to the cause) her job satisfaction reached new levels. One thing that Mandy wasn’t so prepared for, was the fact that larger charities also function in a similar capacity to corporate sector organisations, in terms of departmental structure, and internal politics is often rife in large charities. The different departments though, offer several possibilities for positions suited to one’s particular skill set. For example, looking simply at the fundraising department of a large charity, you can work in positions ranging from small-scale or large-scale individual donors to mass participation charity events, from corporate fundraising to legacy giving – and these are but a few of the positions available within charities.

Final Thoughts from Mandy

If you are thinking about entering the charity sector you must be willing to “get your hands dirty”.  She uses the example of doing a photo shoot that entailed her being covered in onions in a local Tesco store holding a cheque with the amount raised for charity by the onion producer. And finally don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call a charity you’re interested in and see if you can meet up for an informal coffee to learn more about the opportunities to get involved!

To learn more about www.Change.org, pop over to the website and have a look at the array of petitions currently there. They range from the serious to the not so serious and surely there will be something that interests you.

Want to hear the full interview with Mandy? Visit www.whichcareer.net/upgrade for details of how to download all sixteen interviews from the ethical careers tele summit.

This blog is brought to you by the I Am Group.  We work with charities to provide networking and learning events and help charities and not-for-profit organisations recruit the best staff.  You can find out more about us at www.iamenterprises.co.uk and to join our monthly networking events visit www.monthlycharitynetworking.eventbrite.co.uk.  

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