Volunteer Recognition Day: 5 minutes with Richard Spencer

Sally Robinson | 20.04.16

Richard Spencer is a Masters student at UCL, an aspiring real estate professional and, since last October, a committed LandAid volunteer.

To mark Volunteer Recognition Day, he told Chief Executive Paul Morrish about what it means to be a volunteer and what advice he’d give those looking to donate their time to a charity.

Richard, you’ve been volunteering for us once a week for the last six months, but could you tell us what you do outside of LandAid?

I’m currently studying for a Master’s degree in International Real Estate and Planning at UCL, so that keeps me fairly busy! I’d like to become a chartered surveyor after my course and then move into property development. I also work two days a week at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, South London. Oh, and I’m learning French!

And what interested you about volunteering with LandAid?

I’d never volunteered before joining LandAid but knew that I wanted to give something back. I’d heard of LandAid through LinkedIn and was really impressed by what the charity was trying to do in partnership with the property industry.

So how did you go about getting involved?

Well I first spoke to my Mum (Mum’s know best right?!) and she urged me to go for it. I set up a coffee meeting with the Chief Executive (you) and talked about what I could bring to the team as well as my ambitions for the future. You told me that the volunteering placement had to work for both us – I liked what I heard. I was then invited in to meet the full team… and the rest is history!

What have you been working on whilst at LandAid?

A range of tasks from helping the Head of Fundraising and Partnerships with client relationship and database management to research projects. I especially enjoyed conducting a piece of research ahead of the LandAid Debate on the London mayoral candidates’ policies on housing and homelessness. It was great to see that research being used to inform the briefing that the panellists received.

And don’t forget Gift Aid!

Ah yes, I’ve done a fair bit of inputting Gift Aid donations too. It’s not the most glamourous job, but I was really pleased when I heard I’d raised an additional £1,451 for LandAid by processing the donations.

How has volunteering helped you?

I’ve definitely learnt more about myself. I always knew I was a good natured guy, but I’ve learnt to become more selfless. I’ve also learnt technical skills and developed the ability to use complex software like Salesforce.

What would your advice be to anyone thinking about volunteering?

Do it! It’s such a rewarding experience and a chance to work across a range of projects and with talented people. Make sure you immerse yourself in as much as possible.

Lastly Richard, what’s been your highlight of your first six months at LandAid?

I’d have to say attending the MIPIM UK conference. It was a real privilege to be entrusted with representing LandAid at such a significant event. I had the chance to interact with current and prospective supporters of LandAid and I really felt part of the team. 

Thanks Richard. What a great insight into the life of a LandAid volunteer. And thank you again for all your hard work over the last few months. 

You can follow the #VolunteerRecognitionDay conversation on Twitter.