As a student on the BSc Business & Management sandwich programme at Aston University, I undertook an eleven-month work placement at The World Federation of KSIMC in the role of “Marketing and Communications Executive”. The job description entailed a variety of responsibilities ranging from administrative tasks to working with social media.
The placement commenced in July 2014 and for the first three months, I was on probation. From a personal point of view, this was also a 'settling in' period for me. The start of a new role is always a challenge, but it was especially so for me having started barely two weeks after my final exams and coinciding with the month of Ramadhan.
This first month was especially difficult, but the remaining time of the probation period allowed me to settle into my new duties and learn the internal workings of the department I was in. Additionally, the fact that I was working for a non-profit organisation increased my challenge, as in previous experience, I was used to working towards an aim that was more commercial in nature.
After passing my probation successfully, I felt more confident and began to familiarise myself with the humanitarian aspects of running a non-profit organisation, including its unique aims and perspectives. Highlights for me during the next few months included: participating in and providing an official record of the 2nd EXCO meeting of the term 2014-2017, writing an article for the newswire on the Mount Kilimanjaro climb that my father undertook, and later on, training one of my co-workers to take over certain duties of mine.
In undertaking tasks such as these, I feel that I developed numerous skills, such as taking initiative, handling responsibilities, and expressing personal ideas. The later part of my placement gave me a chance to explore a completely new area: social media and its influence and impact within an organisation.
Since this placement was part of my university degree, I had to write a thesis relating to an issue in my placement organisation. I chose to write on the topic of 'Reforming Social Media Relationship Management Strategy in a Non-Profit Organisation'. My study established that the organisation’s current social media strategy was limited and informal, hence it was far from being effective in interacting with followers of the organisation or creating the required awareness about the various projects it undertook.
I decided to conduct exploratory research in the form of individual in-depth interviews of twelve people who follow the organisation on social media, in order to understand our audience and discover what they want. I then decided to make a set of recommendations based on the analysis of these interviews. These recommendations included further research as well as implementing some actions (stemming from the interview analysis) immediately. One example of this was creating more opportunities for user-generated content through feedback and contributions.
After the completion of my thesis, I have continued to take on new, more challenging tasks such as the implementation of my thesis recommendations, the creation of a new strategy to promote the WF Shop, and training the new intern who will replace me when I leave.
It has been an enriching eleven months and the time has flown by much too fast. During this time, I have developed and continue to develop both personally and professionally. I have found it especially enriching to work towards humanitarian goals with the purpose of helping others as opposed to the more materialistic perspective that commercial aims tends to promote.
This placement has definitely been worthwhile, for which I would like to thank The World Federation of KSIMC, especially my co-workers, who greatly helped me on this transformative journey. I would recommend being involved with The World Federation whether as a permanent worker, a temporary worker or even as a volunteer to anyone!