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Exploring the Events Industry: Senior Events Organiser, UK Charity - Eleanor Harding

It has been great creating this series, I have talked to eventprofs I have never met before as well as friends and learn't so much from all of them. Our industry is so diverse and there is a role to suit everyone, I hope through sharing more of these as the weeks go on it helps you discover you potential dream role & gives you an idea on how to get there. This week I spoke to Eleanor who I met on the fastforward15 programme, she works for a charity so fundraising and brand awareness are key parts of her role.

All about Eleanor

Job Title: Senior Events Organiser

Area of Work: a UK Charity (2years 7months)

How long have you worked in the event industry?: about 3 1/2 years

Dream Event to work on: I’ve always loved the idea of working at the Brit Awards. I’m a huge fan of live music and so to be a part of one of the biggest celebrations of the British music scene would be incredible. Also, the addition of the live stream is a huge challenge and something I would be really keen to be a part of delivering.

How did you get into the event industry?

It took me a while after graduating from University with a degree in English to work out that I wanted to be in the events industry and once I had decided that’s what I wanted to do I didn’t know how the skills to get into the industry. I had wondered about doing a University course in Events but I needed to support myself living in London and so instead I started volunteering at charity events. Through volunteering at a couple of events for Cancer Research, I got a summer job working on the Race For Life series in London. I made a decision to go self-employed and looked for as many events-based opportunities to increase my skill set. After doing this for about a year, I applied to work at my current company and started as a Conferences Organiser. This involved me planning events from start to finish and helped to bring together all of the skills I had learnt and put them in a more conventional role.

After working in this role for just over a year, I was promoted into my current role where I work mostly on fundraising events rather than informational events.

What does a day in the life of charity events look like?

My day to day can look very different depending on how close we are to the event date but my role is to focus on specific events and deliver every element from start to finish (events can crossover so I'm sometimes working on a couple at a time). At the beginning this involves venue visits, sourcing suppliers and then I will work on the branding and marketing sides and then as I get closer to the event it’s about the logistics of running the event. Within this process there can be busy, really long days trying to hit deadlines but there can also be calmer, shorter days as well- it’s all very varied- that’s what I really enjoy, as you say, no two days are the same!

What kind of events do you work on?

I work mostly on fundraising events and these can vary from small drinks receptions, to lectures, to concerts such as our 2018 celebrity carol concert for 2000 people at St Paul’s Cathedral. As well as securing funds for the charity, our aim is to positively promote the brand and demonstrate how the charity is helping those who need us most. I am also really lucky to help out across our team on challenge and conference events and in 2018 I worked on an event at Buckingham Palace which was another completely different experience! 

What do you think are the most important skills you need to do your job?

I think the most important skill is to be able to project manage different elements at once. As I have to be across all elements of the events, I need to remember multiple deadlines and work to goals from different parts of the event simultaneously- this requires a lot of planning and management. It’s also really important for me to be happy helping out across any part of the events in my team- flexibility to do what is needed and when is really important when working in such a busy team.

What’s the most difficult & your favourite part of working for a charity?

My favourite part of working for a charity is knowing that the money we fundraise goes to help people in need and it’s amazing when we work with case studies to see how the funds really have made a vital difference. One of the hardest parts for me has been trying to connect with the wider events industry because until recently I didn’t really make that connection and so felt quite isolated. However, the more I’ve been involved in mentoring and networking schemes, I’ve realised that I have so much in common with others in the industry and making these connections has really helped me to understand my own role more!

What advice would you give anyone that wants a job in a charity?

To anyone that wants to work in a charity, I would say absolutely go for it- it is really rewarding working for a cause that you care about. If you are struggling to get into the role or charity you want, ask if you can volunteer or look at fundraising for them to try and understand more about the charity cause and be involved.

How has the current coronavirus situation changed your job role?

So currently I am on furlough (as are many events professionals). It’s a strange situation but I do get some comfort knowing that me being furloughed is allowing vital funds to go towards people that need them the most at this time.

Thank you Eleanor for taking part, if you would like to learn more about what Eleanor does or get in contact with her check out her social media below.


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