Appreci-eight-ing the opportunity to give back

Sophie Baillie profile picture

Sophie Baillie, PR & Marketing Director, Head of Client Services:
  • Our two-paid for volunteer days
  • Giving back to the community
  • Pursuing a trustee position

I am soon to approach my eight anniversary at Conscious Communications (it’s true, time does fly when you are having fun) and, in that time, I have had the genuine delight of volunteering my time with different charities each year, through the two paid-for volunteer days that we receive as an employee. From charities that focus on social inclusion for the elderly, to child carers and more, its completely fulfilling to work for an agency that allows you to devote your time to causes that personally matter. 

While, there are a number of causes close to my heart, I try to work with a different charity every year – helping them with everything from data entry after huge campaigns to developing marketing collateral. While working with AstraZeneca to engage over 1,000 employees in its Cambridge Charity of the Year programme, I was also fortunate to make connections with a number of wonderful charities that are doing amazing work right here in our city. It was through this client, that I was made aware of the work of Maggie’s Cambridge – a charity which provides support to cancer patients and their families – and I was inspired by the team’s work. Not only does the charity provide counselling sessions, it offers a jam-packed time table of services and support, from managing hair loss to financial support and art therapy. Cambridge was also the first Maggie’s Centre to introduce sessions on early/induced menopause – I like to think of it as the trailblazer for all Maggie’s Centres across the UK. 

I had spoken to Andrea, the Campaign Manager for Cambridge, numerous times and felt that this year was the right time for me to give back to the charity and support it for the vital work it does. Being a branch of the national charity, the Cambridge hub doesn’t have a dedicated marketing resource and relies on central support. So, I knew that any additional help would go a long way. 

I initially met Andrea at the Cambridge Centre, based at Addenbrookes. It was a humbling, yet hard, experience and I valued the opportunity to meet the team and some of its service users to truly understand the power of the support provided. What I loved most about my visit, was that it felt like a home from home, a warm and open environment, which is so crucial in a time that can be scary and sinister. 

Andrea and I decided my time would be most valuably spent reviewing the Centre’s social media presence and developing a strategy and recommendations for improvement, which the team would be able to manage and implement themselves. I undertook a full competitor analysis to understand Maggie’s unique offering and to see how the team’s social media activity compared to others. Once the work was completed, I presented the feedback back to the team, giving them hints and tips on easy ways to manage and elevate their social media activity. If you work in marketing, you know how much a daunting task it can be. I am delighted to see some of the recommendations now in action. 

It was this activity, which made me decide that I wanted to give my time to a charity on a longer term basis to help drive even more impact. It just so happened that, as I had made this decision,  Cambridge Community Arts opened up a Trustee position for someone with a communications and marketing background (yippee for me!). I applied and was appointed the role in December last year. It has been fascinating so far and I am excited by the challenge of raising the charity’s profile and working closely with its in-house marketing coordinator. After being at Conscious Communications for eight years, I still don’t take for granted the fantastic opportunities the agency opens up to make a difference locally, and nationally, to communities. And, I don’t think that sparkle will ever fade. Here is to the next eight years. 

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