In our recurring Spotlight blog feature, we chat with CASE members from around the globe about insights about their advancement careers.
Member: Annabel Hooper
Position: CASE Europe graduate trainee based at Cardiff University in Cardiff, Wales
Background: As a student at Cardiff University, Hooper studied sociology. Now, during her yearlong placement as a graduate trainee (similar to an internship), she’ll be learning about all areas of development from alumni relations to stewardship to campaigns.
What’s one lesson you’ve learned so far as a graduate trainee?
One of my greatest challenges has definitely been donor visits—learning the etiquette required of me in a business environment and facing the challenge of making the ask. As a 21-year-old, finding my feet and confidence among business leaders and intellectual academics has definitely been challenging but I’ve loved doing it.
What’s one big project you’ve tackled?
One milestone that I’ve achieved while here at Cardiff University has been inheriting my own pool of fundraising prospects. I’ve successfully reached out to nearly 80 alumni who haven’t engaged with the university before, making leadership level asks at every meeting. It’s been really wonderful to reconnect these people with their old institution and to open up the world of philanthropy to many who might not have considered it otherwise.
Another milestone was completing my secondment at Cardiff Metropolitan University, a partner university in Wales where I worked for a month as part of the scheme. I designed and sent out annual giving documents to thousands of contactable alumni, and again, several thousand hadn’t been contacted before. I’m very grateful to have be given so much responsibility so early on. I never feel like an intern, but always a valued member of a development team.
What do you like best about your job?
The joy I get from working in this sector will always come from making a difference. I love that every day I am helping others to facilitate great things. I myself have experienced the outcome of philanthropy first hand as I was lucky enough to receive a scholarship to travel to New York to undertake a placement in sociology in September 2015. I can genuinely say it changed my outlook on my degree and added so much passion and interest to my academic experience. If I am able to raise money for others to do the same, then that’s special.
What attracted you to advancement?
I’d say a real attraction to advancement for me is the culture of the profession. I love building relationships, not only with donors but with colleagues and other CASE members. I think it’s fantastic how much this is encouraged on the scheme. The sector is so friendly. I work within a wonderful team at Cardiff who are always happy to go the extra mile to support my personal development, and this for me reflects a wider ethos felt by everybody who works in advancement. I also really champion the graduate scheme’s structure as it’s allowed me to forge lifelong friendships with the rest of my cohort.