Day in the Life: Direct Marketing Executive


Job Title: Direct Marketing Executive

Industry: Charity/Non-Profit

Location: London, UK

Age: 23

Gender: Female

Salary/Benefits: £26,000 base salary + annual travel loan to pay for my oyster card (roughly £1,400). The free travel is in place of a London weighted salary, so lower than what it really should be, but, I love not having to pay for the tube.

Employer Type: Non-profit

Employer Size: Roughly 100 employees

How Long in Current Position: 1 year and 4 months.

Highest Level of Education: Bachelors degree

Path to This Job: I graduated from my degree in English Lit with no idea what I wanted to do, and started applying for random jobs under pressure from my parents. I knew marketing was probably an obvious fit for my skillset but was just so uninspired by the idea of selling products. I landed a three month unpaid internship with one of the biggest charities in the UK, decided to give it a go, and had a great time! From there, I moved into a fundraising assistant role for a few months and now my marketing executive job. There are elements that I like, and elements that I don’t. I love writing so push to do as much of that as possible (rather than outsourcing), and just put up with the data and budgets side as part of the job. I wish there was room to be a little more creative, as charities are very conservative on budget and risk-taking, but I can’t really complain as it’s a great place to work and I haven’t sold my soul. Yet!

A typical day at work:

I usually get up around 6:30am and get to work at around 20 past 8 – my commute is 50 minutes. The charity sector is quite hot on work-life balance, so the latest I’ll ever work is half 6 – Usually it’s 5pm. I’ve actually tried to stay later several times when I’ve been busy, but they literally lock the doors and make you go home. We have the odd evening event that runs late, but we get TOIL [Ed note: time off in lieu] to make that time up.

8:20am: I take the first half hour when I get in to eat breakfast at my desk, checking and replying to urgent/easy emails, and catching up with my manager on project updates. I always start the day by writing a to-do list in order of priority.

9:00am: I’m definitely more focused in the mornings, so spend the first couple of hours writing copy for an upcoming marketing appeal – reviewing the interviews I did with case studies previously and working them into an engaging story. This is my favorite part of my job, as I get to tell the stories of some really inspiring people.

11:00am: Sit down for a meeting with our digital specialist to go through the build of some Facebook ads and a landing page. I provide the copy, images, and explain how I want it to look. They build.

11:30am: Have an hour-long meeting with the senior staff: Our CEO and directors. They have to sign off every direct mail campaign we do before it can go out. We work through my copy and the design agencies mock up, and I track changes. It sometimes turns into a bit of an argument so I have to negotiate and explain certain decisions very diplomatically. Our CEO is a micro-manager, but also doesn’t know how to do marketing. It’s interesting.

1:30-2:30pm: Lunch. I always bring lunch from home and eat in the office kitchen whilst chatting to coworkers. Then, I try to get outside for a walk for the last half hour, as I find my eyes get a bit tired from looking at screens all day if I don’t. If the weather is truly too miserable, I leave my phone at my desk and read my book instead.

2:30pm: Call the design agency and feedback the changes from this morning’s meeting verbally, then mark them up on a pdf and send via email. Update the schedule to account for artwork time.

3:00pm: Fill out various briefs for the upcoming mailing: Fulfillment brief for ‘thanking and banking’, data brief for ‘who are we mailing’, laser brief for the printers to personalize certain parts of the copy. Each one takes between 30 – 60 minutes.  

4:30pm: Spend the last hour, when my brain is essentially switched off, doing some admin. This includes invoices, scheduling meetings and building costs/income reports.

5:30pm: Head home!

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Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash

A Day in the Life: Fundraiser at a Nonprofit

Job Title: Fundraising Associate

Industry: Nonprofit

Location: Indiana

Age: 26

Gender: Female

Salary/Benefits: $45,000/year. Health and dental insurance covered. 3% 401k matching.

Employer Type: Non-profit organization

Employer Size: less than 100 employees

Time in Current Position: 2 years

Highest Level of Education: Bachelors

Path to This Job: I spent more than a year after college temping and got placed at a nonprofit organization. I hit it off with their head of fundraising, who hired me for a fulltime position when she joined another organization. I’ve been in my job for about 2 years now and love it.

A typical day at work:

6:00: Wake up to dog breath and take my pup out for a walk before getting myself ready for work and making some scrambled eggs for breakfast. I like to spend a little quiet time reading a book before I head to work. This week I’m reading In the Woods by Tana French. So far, it’s really good.

 7:45: Give the pup one last hug before I head out the door to work. My roommate is in grad school and has a pretty flexible schedule, so she’ll walk the dog during the day while I’m at work.

 8:00: So glad I have a super short commute. Settled in at my desk. I have a bunch of calls to make this morning to ask for donations to a silent auction we’re hosting in a couple months. I leave a lot of voicemails.

 10:00: Time for my weekly one-on-one with my boss. We chat about our big fundraiser gala coming up in a couple of months.

 10:30:  Meet with our marketing director to talk about our next direct mail campaign. We still send out snail mail requests for donations even though a lot of people donate online these days.

11:30: Spend some time on paperwork updating our records on fundraising outreach.

12:30: Lunchtime!  I pack salads on Sunday night and bring one each day during the week. This week I’ve got spinach, radishes, carrots, sunflower seeds, and hard boiled eggs with a honey mustard dressing. Yum! I hang out in the break room and chat with some coworkers while eating.

1:30: Spend some time working on posts for our website and updates for our quarterly donor newsletter.

3:30: Check our department email account and respond to a few questions, mostly from people who want to volunteer with our organization. I share responsibilities for managing our volunteers with a coworker so I copy her on my emails responding to the prospective volunteers.

4:00: Make a few more calls for the gala. I don’t love talking on the phone, so I try to break up the phone calls in bits and pieces throughout the day.

5:00:  Wrap up my last call and pack up my stuff.

5:20: Arrive at home and let the dog out. We go on a nice long walk, which will count as my exercise for the day because I have plans tonight. Give the dog her dinner and fix a snack for myself before heading out to pick up a couple of friends on the way to pub trivia. I’m DD tonight so I stick to diet coke and apps while we play. We do pretty well – third out of ten teams!

9:00: Home. Let the dog out one last time and hang out with my roommate for a while for heading to bed around 11:00.

READERS, SUBMIT YOUR DAY: The Career Files Submission Form

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash