Building skills as a communications volunteer: Megan Storey [profile]
Megan Storey has been working in communications since 2005, but her work as a communications volunteer started two years ago. By day, Megan is currently the Senior Communications Manager for Health Education England. And outside of work hours, Megan is the Communications Specialist for Raise the Roof Kenya: an organization that builds sustainable futures for families and communities living in extreme poverty.
Megan describes Raise the Roof Kenya (RTRK) as a small charity doing amazing work. For example, the organization recently opened up a youth vocational centre, teaching valuable skills to allow youth to go on to study or work so that they can support their families. The charity also helps local families set-up sustainable businesses such as home-based agriculture businesses, so they can start to become self-sufficient. Megan volunteers for RTRK in her spare time, after work or on weekends, working virtually most of the time.
A volunteer role that started small and built up
“I started volunteering for RTRK two years ago after meeting our founder, Holly, at a festival,” explains Megan. “I initially wrote a few press releases and dealt with the media for them, and then starting advising on other communications aspects such as their website and events. I now develop most of their design work for them, market their events and generally help out where required. I even ran a half marathon for them in September last year, raising £800 to put towards a sustainable strawberry business to help the vocational centre become self-sustainable.”
In her role at Health Education England, Megan manages a small team responsible for delivering communications for the organization’s programs, as well as corporate work, such as websites, social media, intranet, publications, writing and implementing communication plans and strategies, media and events. She enjoys working with her team, the work environment and being a part of making a difference.
When Megan brought her desire to make a difference to Raise the Roof Kenya, she was attracted for two main reasons: “One, it was an issue I believed in and wanted to help and two, I wanted to be part of the RTRK team. They oozed positivity and had an attitude that made me believe they could make a huge difference, and I wanted to be part of that.”
Seasoned pro learning through volunteering
Megan explains that working in a volunteer organization really makes her think about how she can achieve results despite spending little or no money. She enjoys the push to work differently and think outside the box, especially embracing free communication channels, such as social media, and looking at how to best make them work for the organization.
“In my day job, I don’t really have the chance to spend time on personally creating graphics, posters, etc,” explains Megan. “Volunteering for RTRK allows me to use my graphic design skills, which wouldn’t otherwise be used, and get hands-on creative, which is nice. All the while helping out a brilliant charity, which is doing amazing things for communities in Kenya.”
“Volunteering for RTRK has opened up my eyes to how hard it is to run a charity. If you can spare an hour or two, volunteering is a great way of sharing your communications and marketing skills. There are so many charities out there that need help, and smaller ones will often embrace communications expertise, so if you want to give a little something back, I’d encourage you to get involved!”