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My interest in civic and social responsibility was sparked at a young age, and when I graduated from DCU in 2017 with a B.A. in Contemporary Culture & Society, I set out to gain professional experience in the not-for-profit sector.

I came across For Purpose on GradIreland and applied for the position of Fundraising Trainee with Focus Ireland, for which I initially interviewed with For Purpose, followed by a second interview in Focus Ireland. My position is varied and interesting. I work between Corporate Fundraising and Major Gift Fundraising, an expanding area that I have found to be exciting and diverse. I have gained unique and specialised skills in my role, and the support provided by Focus Ireland has been incredible. I have been lucky enough to work with amazing fundraisers who are both highly experienced and passionate about the not-for-profit sector.

The For Purpose mentoring programme has been hugely beneficial to me in my role in Focus Ireland. My mentor has substantial knowledge of the sector, and our monthly meetings have allowed me to reflect on my work, as well on the areas in which I might improve my skills and enhance my knowledge. My mentor also acts as a point of contact for any questions I may have about the sector or projects I am working on in my role.

The For Purpose roundtables are a great way to hear from established, experienced people working within the not-for-profit sector, and provide insights into the many different aspects of the sector. These include speakers from the Charities Regulator, The Carmichael Centre, Everyday Hero, and Social Entrepreneurs Ireland. The roundtables provide a great opportunity to network with people within the sector, and with other Graduates on the programme. Connecting with the other Graduates allows you to gain insight into the various roles graduates are undertaking in the sector, and the challenges they face, creating a supportive and understanding network.

The For Purpose Not-For-Profit Graduate Programme has been an incredible experience in which I have gained invaluable skills and knowledge from an established organisation. Working for Focus Ireland at a time when homelessness is at the forefront of public discussion has been a very rewarding and challenging experience. The not-for-profit sector can be notoriously difficult to gain access to, especially as a graduate with no previous professional experience. This programme not only gives graduates the opportunity to gain access to sector, it also fully supports and mentors each individual through their role to help them maximise their learning and growth throughout the programme.