A study from 2018 show that young adults have an unpresedented desire to make a positive change, but few actually take the step to become a volunteer.
Lydia is one of the women behind NABIO. To her, volunteering was a natural extension of student life, and a way to make a difference, practise marketing and meet new people.
I’ve been volunteering for as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved the idea of doing something for someone other than myself. Its always a motivation to know someone is benefitting from the work you do, which is one of the reasons I love NABIO so much, it’s international too which makes a change to local charities and local issues.
Volunteering to help others and to practise skills in marketing
Lydia was part of starting up the NABIO basket webshop in 2018 and got onboard before there were any strategy, branding or customer base. She says that she got inspired to contribute so that she could gain experience as well as making a positive change.
I’ve always taken time to volunteer for a range of things and NABIO came at a perfect time where I wanted something to do with my spare time that would help others. I remember first hearing about the NABIO opportunity in a lecture when Andrea Stykket came in and presented to us all and I remember thinking it would be something I’d be very proud to work within. I thought it would be an incredible opportunity to help others and practice my skills within Marketing, and I was right! It’s every bit as amazing as I thought it would be, and more!
Many find that being a student is hard enough with all the lectures, exams and seminars. For Lydia, doing what makes her happy helps her balance a busy schedule filled with studies, volunteering and a social life.
Student life of undeniably busy at times, but in my own experience you sometimes have days, if not weeks, where there is more spare time to fill. I think prioritising the things that make you happy is really important and definitely something I did. If you love everything you do, you’ll always have the motivation to make time to do it all I think
Creating a brand from scratch
NABIO has been working in Kenya since 2013, but none of the previous projects required any communication to a western audience. There was little awareness of the charity, no branding, and no communications strategy. Lydia was one of the marketers that volunteered to create the NABIO brand from scratch and she took a leading role in shaping the profile NABIO has now.
I think when we first started as a brand, we all had such a range of ideas. It took a while to get the ideas together that everyone liked, but I think the end result is amazing. Being heavily student run, we were restricted with the settings and props for photography which meant we had to get creative!! It was a highlight first taking the product photos, it was a great day feeling like it was all coming together, and the photos looked so good!
Inspired by natural light
Lydia takes a lot of inspiration from her mother who is a photographer for the family florist business. This influence was part of shaping what NABIO looks like, characterised by neutral pastel colours and natural lights against the fuchsia pink.
My mother always used natural beauty at the heart of her work and the natural vibe, especially with our baskets, seemed to work and compliment the brand identity the best. Natural light is also very underrated and was always the main tool in my toolbox for the my photography of the baskets at home.
Work placement at the Warner Bros
The volunteering experience, portfolio and marks Lydia has attained separates her from the other students, and we were curious about where she wants to head after her studies:
I’m still asking myself this question, but all the experiences I have had so far, seem to be pointing me to the marketing industry but within entertainment. I’m hoping to continue my role at Warner Brothers, as I’ve managed to get a role within my favourite TV show, Game of Thrones which is my absolute dream job. I hope to be in a more creative role, as my favourite work I’ve done within NABIO has always been creative based, whether it’s photography or coming up with ideas, I just love engaging my imagination!
All the benefits of being a student volunteer
The majority of nonprofits are enabled by volunteers that give their time and energy to make a change. Volunteering is an opportunity to meet new people, make a positive change and boost employability prospects. Lydia puts it like this:
I would certainly recommend other undergraduates to look into charity work, not only is it incredibly rewarding for others, it has MASSIVELY enhanced my CV and employers have always commended my work for charities. They comment that it separates you from other candidates as it shows you don’t just have time for yourself. I’m about to start my internship at Warner Brothers and this was one of the main reasons I was offered this role, having gained real life experience Marketing a brand. I would say this is a golden opportunity to always make time for when studying!