Things I learned

Looking back on my digital internship at SCVO.

— by Hoyam on 28 July 2015 #digital #internship #research

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Sadly my internship has come to an end! :( It feels like I was only taken on a few weeks ago, so these three months have gone by very quickly. I am very grateful to have been given the opportunity to work for SCVO.

Here are some of the things I’ve learned from the experience.

Things I learned about how charities use digital

Firstly, I realised that charities are being more socially interactive. They are using different social media such as Facebook and Twitter to reach as many online users as possible, and to gain recognition and attract more potential volunteers or donors.

Second, whilst some use charities websites and social media to ask for feedback, I found it rather surprising that often there isn’t much interaction between the organisation and its users. I think it would benefit more charities to speak to their end users, both in terms of gaining trust and showing that they care about what they are doing.

I didn’t realise that I would come across some charity websites that look very modern and user friendly, with a sleek looking interface. However, a majority of the websites I looked at have yet to be updated for a more modern experience. Many still look like they are stuck in the early 2000s, and in some ways this can be offputting.

I also found it surprising that out of all the websites I looked at, I very rarely found any data on their usage statistics. I really thought that more charities would have something on their website that shows the number of users or how many users are engaging with each other.

Things I learned about doing a digital internship

In terms of doing research, I learned that there are many ways of presenting findings digitally. I found that it’s important to choose the best way to present different information, and to make charts and presentations look visually appealing.

One piece of advice for others doing research is to think about timings. Really consider how long a task is going to take and do not leave it to the last minute to say that you might not complete something - not a good idea! - as this could affect the rest of the team. I would also advise limiting how much you write (this took me a while to realise). Although you may feel the need to explain things thoroughly, you don’t necessarily have to write a chunky paragraph; instead try to fit it into a couple of sentences.

Try not to over complicate your work. I made the mistake of writing everything down by hand in notebooks then typing up exactly what I had just written. You can imagine how much longer tasks took me to do. I quickly dismissed the old fashioned medium and turned to working digitally, which allowed me to get through topics I wanted to cover quicker.

Lastly, I would highly recommend that if you ever get stuck on a task then do not hesitate to ask for help! The team here have been very approachable and there has always at least one person around who was able help or point me in the right direction. Despite having some previous experience doing research, a lot has been very new to me in terms of working in a professional environment so I was very glad to still be guided along the way and you will be too!