The attempt to atone
Day Three: 6 July, 2011
In a spirited, yet probably doomed, attempt to make up for yesterday’s late showing here is the blog for day three of my internship. My last entry was certainly no where near hot off the press; this one hopefully achieves something of a temperature. I really don’t want to talk too much (i.e. at all) about how these bumbling efforts are written: a) because people who try to explain how they write/ perform/ paint usually dribble phrases like ‘I explored my inner darkness and synthesized that with the inspirations of 11th century neo-Kantian post-modernism’ out of their mouths and b) to talk about writing a blog in a blog gets way too meta even for a philosophy student like myself. But it does help bump up the word count.
Today I grappled with the Raiser’s Edge database. Raiser’s Edge is probably the most popular database aimed at serving charities and stores data on pretty much everything to do with fundraising. Dom, kindly and incredibly patiently (almost to a fault-I think soil would have grasped the spreadsheets quicker than me) lead me by the hand into the world of Raiser’s Edge. All of the records of the St. John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital are stored in it so it was pretty crucial to tread carefully. Thankfully, Dom was a good teacher and so, eventually, I was changing records and registering donations like a machine. Albeit a cack-handed, infuriatingly slow one.
The pace did pick up though the more I practised and the software is pretty user-friendly. My degree rarely makes use of databases, or numbers for that matter, but repeated use really hammered home the how’s and where’s and what’s. It felt good to be doing something where the instant benefit to the charity could be seen. As a form of practical production data-entry can rarely be beaten. The only problem is that completing necessary, recurring administrative processes can turn you into a bit of a robot. Or a cricket score-keeper. Both of which I admire but would not necessarily want to become for an extended period of time. Actually a robot would be ridiculously cool. As long as I could fly. With booster jet wings. And thruster rocket legs. Yeah.
But I digress. The practical data entry was to be superbly balanced with some immense political theory. John Punter, our Communications Manager, unleashed an hour long whirlwind explosion of information detailing the fundamentals of political lobbying and the legislative processes of the EU and the UK. My only previous experiences of political theory were ‘The West Wing’ and ‘The Thick of It’ respectively so it was a lot to take in. Oh and, if it counts, a political philosophy module from first year. (Clue: it doesn’t). But John persevered and slowly, like an ice lolly on wallpaper, things began to stick. It was a blitz of words like ‘implementation’, ‘statutory’, ‘the’ etc but John was as clear and concise as these things can be and I am very grateful. On another note, he was an undergrad at Soton- though pints at Jesters were even cheaper when he was there.
Another thing I started today was the noting down of the recommendations for the creation of a fundraising committee. It’s one of a few things I want to bring to my first team meeting on Friday. The team meeting’s held in the rather swish boardroom (where we hosted the sixteen Malaysians yesterday) and involves a teleconference call to the CEO, Rod Bull, and some of the other team members in Jerusalem. I’m looking forward to it and have been practising my ‘business face’ in anticipation. But I’ll bring my recommendations for the fundraising committee as well as some research into the Al Jazeera International Documentary Film Festival and the meeting should prove valuable and successful. Of course, I actually have to finish those two things which is why I’m going to log off now. I’ve learnt not to make rash promises (both with work and other areas of life) so I’ll play it safe. Will see you when I see you.