What it's like to be a publicity volunteer for Cats Protection.
This post has been written by Adrian Ragucos, Publicity Team Leader for the Brighton & District Branch of Cats Protection
Hello! My role at the Brighton Branch of Cats Protection is to try and make sure that what we publish on our website, on social media, or in any other publication fits the overall message that the branch and Cats Protection is trying to deliver.
Adrian with his cats Cedric (left) and Lolita (right)
I've been volunteering for Cats Protection since I put my name down at the Brighton open day just over a year ago. How time has flown! Choosing to volunteer for Cats Protection was a no-brainer as soon as the formation of a new branch in Brighton was announced. I was already very interested in cat welfare being the owner of two cats, and was also wanting to do some volunteering in some capacity, so the timing couldn't have been better. I was initially interested in being the branch Web Editor, but put myself forward for the Publicity Team Leader role when nobody else took it on.
I work closely with my awesome team colleague Tiffany to keep our online presence fresh and up-to-date. My day job is as a web developer (in other words, I code websites for a living), so I'm called on to do the more technical side of things, whereas Tiffany is a whiz on the social side of things. I've added a fair bit of code to the branch website to get things looking how we want, and spent many a night designing posters and newspaper adverts in Photoshop to publicise available volunteer roles or events like our pub quizzes. I also carry out technical housekeeping on internal branch matters, like adding new volunteers to the group email address. It all sounds very geeky, but that's my nature and hopefully CP benefits from that!
I couldn't say that there is a typical day or week as the Publicity Team Leader! It varies wildly, depending on what events we have going on or what we need to publicise. We do have a few daily 'rituals' like replying to emails, Facebook messages and Twitter tweets, but what we do ultimately depends on so many other things. I could be putting up a sad but necessary missing cat post on Facebook one day, and live posting during one of our pub quizzes the next.
We also aim to write a post for our blog at least every Wednesday, and we often have one or two more posts added in addition. These are usually related to cat welfare (but can also announce competition winners or volunteer profiles), so we have to make sure that the information is accurate and not misleading. A lot of time is put into each blog post through researching, writing and proofing!
Above all, the key thing we try and do is to be informative and easy to understand. We know that we have a very varied audience with different reasons for visiting our site or Facebook or Twitter pages; we just want to make sure that our work is understood and seen by as many people as possible.
There have been so many highlights in the 13 months since Brighton & District Branch launched and it's impossible to list them all. Building a strong online presence has been both a highlight and a challenge; we've done really well to get an accessible website going, and it's lovely to have some dedicated followers on social media, but it's important for us to keep this going for as long as possible. That being said, announcing the moment we first rehomed a cat is a fond memory, for both myself and the branch.
The most challenging thing about the role is finding the time to be on top of things and reply to anyone who has asked for advice in a timely manner. Both Tiffany and I have full-time day jobs, and we find ourselves dedicating the time before work starts, lunch breaks and even whole evenings to the role! It isn't a bad thing by any means, especially as it means we are constructively helping cats in Brighton (and not just watching cat videos on YouTube!). Working in an online role is certainly not for the faint-hearted!
My advice to anyone thinking of volunteering is:
- try and get to know the people you'll be volunteering with. You may find that they have knowledge that could help you out in your role, and that always makes things a lot easier
- remember why you're volunteering. Hopefully, you'll be doing it for a cause that is close to your heart – what may seem like the most trivial thing often isn't to someone else (or often in our case, a very needy cat), and it's the greatest feeling when you see your efforts work out!
- most of all, do it!
To find Cats Protection volunteer roles near you use our volunteering opportunity search.