My name is Jose (that’s short for Josephine) and I am Head of Social Media for Indigo Volunteers. My story will read quite differently to the many other stories you come across on our website. Mainly because I haven’t worked in the field but instead have spent the last 6 years volunteering remotely for Indigo, splitting my time between the UK and Mallorca.
As a remote worker there are of course times I feel a world away from the projects Indigo supports, but the incredible team and the various channels of communication we use (online tools like Google meet, slack, whatsapp and email - to name a few) ensure that I live and breathe Indigo every day.
The work I do is in the name of inspiring people to volunteer their time and skills to help some of the most vulnerable people around the world. Initially my role involved getting the social media off the ground, creating the strategy and sourcing content for Indigo’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin. Back in 2014 we wanted to use these platforms as tools to spread the message about Indigo, a brand-new charity offering a service to connect volunteers to projects around the world – fee free.
Naturally as the charity grows, so does its need for more marketing expertise. Challenges arise regularly, but I can honestly say I tend to look back at these moments fondly. For example, I remember back in 2015 feeling completely outside of my comfort zone when we needed some leaflets designing for one of our first exhibitions and had no creative designer. I understood the fundamentals of Adobe Photoshop but was certainly no expert in the design arena. After agreeing to give it a go, I turned to my trusted friend ‘Google’ and some ‘YouTube’ tutorials and managed to produce some half-decent leaflets. From that day forward, I kept plugging away at Adobe Photoshop and created some of the charities earliest digital and print artwork. Indigo has come a long way since then (as have my design skills thankfully) and we are lucky enough to now have a pool of exceptionally talented designers within the Marketing team who create amazing artwork for us. This is an example of how Indigo also helped me develop another skillset that I have applied in my career since, and today I continue to learn from the pros within the team.
6 years on, the charity has developed beyond anything we could have ever imagined, and I am lucky enough to have an amazing team of volunteers supporting me with the social media. Due to the company culture, the team all want to support and help each other which means we are very hands on, so I often tend to other aspects of the charities marketing activities including google analytics, editing videos, editing and uploading blog posts, press releases and more.
How did I hear about Indigo?
Founder of Indigo, Holly is one of my best friends, so I had followed her journey and the challenges that arose in her quest to organise an elective placement in the Global South during her nurse training back in 2011. I remember vividly sitting in her bedroom in Shepherd’s Bush and her anguish because organisations were making so much money out of placing people who wanted to simply volunteer their time and skills abroad. After coordinating a successful trip to Malawi for a group of her peers, the seed had been planted and soon came the idea to start a charity to help match volunteers to projects around the world without the fees (click here to read her full story).
Like many of Holly’s other friends who had been emotionally involved from the beginning; when Indigo got the seal of approval to become a registered charity in 2014, I wanted to help. I had just decided to go freelance in my career and with 5 years of marketing experience (working for brands like Mahiki, Preferred Hotel Group and Clear Channel Outdoor) under my belt, I was keen to use to my skills to help drum up some awareness about Indigo. On one of our weekly phone conversations I volunteered to help with Indigo’s marketing.
Why 6 years at Indigo?
I have seen our volunteer placements rise from dozens to thousands each year, and across a variety of projects in locations across the world. Of course, I am also proud of my little baby, seeing our social media following grow has been so rewarding. Today we have 16,000 followers on Instagram and 8,000 on Facebook but more importantly these platforms have become a fundamental tool for people to start conversations, ask questions and take their initial steps toward volunteering. The work I do gives me a sense of fulfilment each day! I want to live a life feeling like I am making a small difference in the world.
For me, the people that work for Indigo are some of the most inspiring people on this planet. We all live in different locations, which means I haven’t met most of the team but we are like a virtual family. Over the years, I have seen so many people volunteer their time to Indigo’s mission and seeing how each and every person has contributed to the charity fills my heart with so much joy. It’s very much a give and take culture. I have been able to learn from those with much more experience than myself and have trained others in the areas I specialise in. We are a group of like-minded people, who want to make the world a better place and aren’t just talking about it but actually trying to do something about it by playing our own little part.
Many of us are learning that we can work from anywhere in the world, but why should it stop there? You can volunteer to help a charity from the comfort of your own house too. So if you have ever considered volunteering but find there are obstacles in the way of volunteering abroad, you can still volunteer your time and skills to help projects further afield. Whether its 2 hours per month, or 20 hours per month there are projects out there who would be very grateful to benefit from your time and skills.
If you want to volunteer to help Indigo or any of our partner projects please don’t hesitate, get in touch – we would love to hear from you!