Marketing Manager Francesca on how furlonteering adds structure to your daily routine
In the height of lockdown, many furloughed workers struggled to find motivation and drive. Like many Furlonteers, Digital Marketing Manager Francesca Panzarola tells us how "furlonteering" with a charity gave a sense of structure and purpose...
Why did you sign up to Furlonteer?
I heard about Furlonteer on LinkedIn a week or so after I found out I was going on furlough as a Digital Marketing Manager at a health and wellness brand. As soon as I saw the post I submitted my details.
Like many on furlough I really wanted to put some of my skills to use, perhaps in areas that I may have not considered before, or had time to do so. Furlonteer's system of matching skillsets to charities is fantastic and I was eager to support wherever I could.
Could you tell us a little about the charity you’ve been furlonteering with?
I am working as a Volunteer Journalist for HEAL; a charity committed to providing shelter, education and health care for children in India. My role has been quite varied; preparing interviews with children at the campus; defining a social media strategy; enhancing their e-newsletter comms etc.
It is a comparatively small charity with a powerful initiative and the team are dedicated to educating and preparing children for the "outside world" once they graduate. It has been great to be able to support with such a variety of tasks, which will hopefully help them grow their presence in the UK.
Which new skills has this experience given you?
I've definitely been able to develop my communication skills, particularly when liaising with a range of departments who have varying priorities and needs.
I am also working with Studenteer as a Mentor, so it's been good to refine my interpersonal and coaching skills too.
How has this experience impacted your time on furlough?
Furlonteer and working with HEAL has certainly provided a sense of structure, which has been particularly helpful given the uncertain (and sometimes tumultuous!) times we're all experiencing at the moment.
But most importantly, it has allowed me to put my skills to good use and highlighted the fact that it is possible to support with whatever time you might have.
I would definitely like to continue volunteering, particularly now Furlonteer have made it even easier to get in touch with those looking for an extra pair of hands.
What advice would you give to furloughed staff thinking of volunteering?
I would recommend getting in touch with Furlonteer and discussing how you might be able to help, and how much time you are able to commit to - no matter how small or large there are plenty of opportunities and the team has been so helpful with co-ordinating!