How and Why RSA fellows are Giving What They’re Good At

Ella Minty is a public relations expert volunteering with Give What You’re Good At. She has recently joined the RSA. Here she shares how both networks are adding value to her world.

Ella, specialises in cross-cultural and crisis communication has always been fascinated by the way in which the cultural differences between people and organisations mutually and, often undesirably, influence one another.

Ella Minty 1

What would you change in society given the chance?


The value of human life – the Western society considers that the human life and human values / culture are priceless and that men and women are equal. As we head further south, towards the African continent, and further east towards South East Asia, these facts our modern society has been built upon rapidly lose value.

In what capacity do you think you could contribute to society through your involvement RSA Fellowship and with GWYGA?

Although “una hirundo non facit ver”, each swallow has its part. There are many issues that various organisations and charities face and, more often than not, they simply do not have the necessary funds to retain top consultants. Although we live in a global society and the communication processes are no longer restricted or limited by numerous barriers, we cannot make the mistake of assuming that our messages, missions or objectives will be understood by all parties – on the contrary: the higher the globalisation, the more intense the tendency of retaining individual, local and national identity.

What attracted you to join the RSA Fellowship?

The Fellowship’s mission of effecting change on all levels of society

What’s the most interesting volunteering opportunity that you’ve had with GWYGA?

Elaborating Beyond Food Foundation’s (BFF) Public Relations Strategy: they have a great mission and their ethos and commitment to homeless people is equal to none. And, having always been a great admirer of hands-on charities, I wanted to make sure that BFF will employ the appropriate communication techniques and channels for their various categories of stakeholders, ensuring an adequate and consistent brand awareness and mission whilst capitalising on their success stories.



GWYGA Professionals Fire Up Sparks ‘Bump’ Campaign

GWYGA matched sparks with two professionals to help them with their first ever campaign!

Sparks ‘bump’ adverts are spanning 100 London underground stations. The bump campaign is highlighting a severe lack of funding into paediatric research. Currently over 3000 babies die before their first birthday every year in the UK. Sparks Chief Executive John Shanley explains, “The aim of this campaign is to make people aware of the need for more funding into conditions and disabilities affecting babies and children. Almost all of the current UK healthcare spend is for the benefit of adults, but much of this spend could be avoided if more was done in the early years of life.”

GWYGA matched Sparks with a professional marketer. Here’s what Sparks had to say about the experience ‘[working with the professional] was fantastic, he was a real asset to have on board during the campaign. He engaged with our aims quickly and was full of great ideas for how we could get the most out of the opportunities given our limited resources.’

We hope the campaign grows from strength to strength and increases the resource attributed to pre and peri-natal conditions.

Sparks bump campaign advert - 'Help us prevent the illnesses no parent expects'

Don’t let the flame go out! Use your professional skills to build the Olympic Legacy.

Are you wondering what to do with yourself after the heart-pounding and historic moments brought to us by London 2012?

These great sports charities need your professional skills to keep the flame burning. Sign up today!

The Ahoy Centre

The AHOY Centre is located in Deptford – one of the most densely populated areas – ranked 18 in the whole of the UK. As described by the Local MP Joan Ruddock – “it is one of the most deprived constituencies in Britain. Severe housing problems and widespread poverty remain…….” Deptford is a district of South London on the south bank of the River Thames and has a high rate of unemployment, disengaged youth, truancy and lack of opportunities. Today there is a growing number of NEET’s (Not in Employment, Education or Training). The characteristics of young people who are not participating are diverse, although there are some groups that are at greater risk of becoming NEET. This includes, for example, those with few or no qualifications and those with a health problem, disability or low aspirations. Using sailing, rowing and the discipline of water activities we aim to tackle the issues in the local area and make positive changes by: – Giving a positive example to young children by providing role models, mentors and facilitating the realisation and ambition of what they can aim for – Focusing the mind and providing a channel for energy for all participants within an exciting environment Our centre offers the young people an alternative to crime and gives them the opportunity to get involved in a community activity by participating in a challenging activity on the River Thames and gaining Nationally Recognised Qualifications.

Leyton Orient Community Sports Programme

We work in the most deprived areas of London with some of the most challenging young people and jointly confronting some difficult issues including mental health and homelessness.

Leyton Orient are seeking an experienced major donor fundraiser to help them build upon the Olympic legacy. Use Your Skills to Make a Huge Difference!

Ocean Youth Trust North East

Supports young people through sailing. The young people onboard learn a variety of transferable interpersonal skills that in the short term enable them to take control of their own voyage, and subsequently their own lives. Many of the young people who sail with us have had little opportunities in life due to financial or social issues. We believe that the life-changing benefits of sail training should be available to all, regardless of ability or financial means.

Ocean Youth Trust Scotland

Sailing young people to increased

  • Self-confidence
  • Responsibility and respect
  • The ability to learn from experience
  • The ability to work with others

Radlett Cricket Club

Cricket Club has works to build cricketing skills in a fun, creative learning environment which is development focussed. The club strives to help all young people engage with Cricket and provides coaching to local schools who might not normally engage with the sport.

Tiger’s Trust

Helps children and young people get off to the best possible start in life by supporting their personal, physical, social and emotional development.  They raise aspirations of young people and help them to realise their potential by enabling them to make a positive contribution to society and reduce barriers to sports participation.

Don’t let the flame go out. Use your professional skills to help build the Olympic Legacy. 


“The unique service provided by Give What You’re Good At meet our needs as a small Social Enterprise perfectly. We were matched with a volunteer whose skill-set complemented the gaps in our own knowledge base and his contribution towards the remodelling of our business plan will be invaluable in helping us to develop and expand in the future.” –

Jonathan Fairey, Technical Director, Community Film Unit.

‘[The Blue Cross] are working with Fiona [placed by Give What You’re Good At] to develop E-learning tools, which will help ease our administrative burden and save us time and money’

Darren Curran, Volunteer Manager, The Blue Cross.

‘Give What You’re Good At has a simple formula: ordinary people giving what they are good at + charity = extraordinary changes for the better.’

Julia Hancock, Operations Manager, IPSEA – Independent Panel for Special Education Advice

“[Give What You’re Good At] is going to save us a fortune! If you work for a charity check them out quick – It’ll make a massive difference to us!”

Naomi Marek, Operations Manager Sky Badger to The Rescue

Gary used his graphic design skills to help families and children with learning disabilities

Gary is using his graphic design skills to redesign IPSEA’s promotional leaflet which turns into an A3 poster.

IPSEA is a national charity providing free legally based advice to families who have children with special educational needs.  The law on Special Educational Needs is bewildering. Schools and Local Authorities are often found to have given parents misleading information. IPSEA’s service is a vital lifeline for so many families struggling to get the help they need.

The materials Gary is designing with help IPSEA reach out to more families in need, who don’t know free support is available.

Gary says…

“Working in a fast and corporate environment can often become monotonous and ordinary. Volunteering through Give What You’re Good At gave me the opportunity to use my skills for good and make a big impact with my limited time. They structure the projects to fit in with your busy life, they find out about your passions and connect you to a charity project where you can use your skills for good”

Volunteer to CEO

Give What You’re Good At is a unique new service dedicated to matching your professional skills to charities that need them.

Did you know volunteering can help you kick-start a new career, or advance your current one? You choose what you want to do, outside the normal constraints of the workplace, you build new skills and expand your networks all whilst helping charities save money!

Leonor Stjepic began her career, in the charity sector, as a volunteer. She is now Chief Executive Officer of RAFT. A medical charity helping thousands of people affected by skin disfigurement.

“Volunteering helped me achieve a great deal in my career in the private sector before I moved into the charity sector.  The skills I learnt and having the opportunity to meet so many different people has been a huge help in my career and personal life.

I started volunteering at the age of 18 for Amnesty International when I set up the Amnesty Working Group for Children.  I helped run this until, following our lobbying of the Amnesty board, children’s rights became part of Amnesty’s mandate and it became part of their work.  I also worked as a fundraising volunteer for Save the Children and The Children’s Society.  During the war in former Yugoslavia, I volunteered as an aid worker and worked with children who were victims of the war.  After that I made the decision to move into the charity sector.”

What motivated you to volunteer?

“I started volunteering for Amnesty International when I was 18.  I had read the case of a teenager of my age who had been imprisoned and tortured.  It made me realise how lucky I was and made me want to do something to help others. “

Did you learn any valuable skills?

I learnt so many valuable skills:

  • ·         How to organise event.
  • ·         How to make public speeches.
  • ·         The governance required in running a charity.
  • ·         Fundraising.
  • ·         Dealing with people from all backgrounds.
  • ·         Lobbying.
  • ·         PR.
  • ·         How to achieve results with limited resources

 What was the best thing about volunteering?

“Knowing that I had contributed to something that was making the world a better place.”

 What was the worst?

“Having to say goodbye.”

 Where are you now? And how did volunteering help you get there?

“I am now CEO of a medical research charity called RAFT.  I wouldn’t have got here if I hadn’t learnt those early skills and had that early experience of volunteering.  Furthermore, I would say that I would not have had the career I had in the private sector without that early exposure to volunteering that allowed me to learn such valuable new skills.”

Tell us more about Raft?

“Around the world, the lives of hundreds of thousands of people are affected by skin disfiguring illnesses and damage such as burns, wounds, limb amputations and skin cancer. RAFT is here to help them.”

RAFT stands for the Restoration of Appearance and Function Trust. We are an independent registered charity carrying out pioneering research into practical and affordable ways to treat those injured in such a way.

Give What You’re Good At register today.

Special thanks to Leonor Stjepic who kindly shared her story.