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Callum Mackay: What volunteering means to me

Posted on 26 Feb 2014

Just to quickly introduce myself, I am Callum Mackay and am currently a Business Development Manager for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. I have worked in the charity sector now for three years starting off my career at Macmillan where I initially did an internship and then moved into a full time role as the North West London Fundraising manager.

Prior to this at University I was heavily involved in volunteering, both with Community Action and with RAG. Within CA I ran a weekly sports club for young carers, alongside being the project leader rep and sitting on the CA management team. The highlight of my time volunteering at university was being Summer Adventures manager, which involved co-ordinating and running a two week break in Dorset for young carers.

Not only did I have two of the best weeks of my life, with a heck of a lot of funny stories and some great memories but I developed a great set of skills and experience which has been invaluable in my career.

I was also involved with RAG, sitting on the RAG Fashion show committee and the decorating committee for the infamous Safer Sex Ball. At the end of my time volunteering at University I have the privilege to be awarded the Matt Spencer Award (now the Student Volunteer of the Year Award), which was completely unexpected but a huge honour to be recognised for doing something that, at the end of the day, I loved doing.

Whilst I never volunteered solely because I thought it would look good on my CV, I did genuinely enjoy what I was doing and made some great friends doing it, when it came to applying for internships and jobs all this made a huge difference.

I was able to use examples from volunteering in interviews and I am certain that all my volunteering really helped me stand out. I have been able to progress and build a career in a great sector – one which is sometimes overlooked, and again a key part of this was taking up a voluntary internship with Macmillan. Not only did this give me a great experience of the workings of a charity, but it allowed me to get a foot in the door so when a job came up I was fortunate enough to get it. Part of my role as a fundraising manager was to recruit and manager a number of internship opportunities, so as well as gaining first-hand experience of just how useful an internship was to build experience I have also been able to see the benefit of interns to a charity. It is something I would whole-heartedly recommend doing.

Overall, all my voluntary experience was crucial in the progression of my career, but more importantly I loved it – it was never a chore, I made great friends and memories and it is something I would implore everyone to get involved with.

Callum Mackay

Callum is a Business Development Manager for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. He began his career in the charity sector after graduating from the University of Exeter with an internship then a job at Macmillan. Whilst at university, Callum volunteered with Community Action and RAG and was the winner of the Matt Spencer Award (now the Student Volunteer of the Year Award) in 2010.

Categories: What volunteering means to me