Developing A Taste For Development

Developing A Taste For Development

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I have been working in Columbia’s Office of Institutional Advancement for almost six months, so I thought I would write a proper blog post about my experience as a Development Communications Coordinator. I wrote briefly about it in a previous post but thought it deserved a bit more Marginalia real-estate, as it applies quite directly to lessons learned in the Arts, Entertainment & Media Management MAM program. So, what exactly is a Development Communications Coordinator? I’ll try to explain…

My official job description includes developing, collecting, and editing copy and images for donor related communications on behalf of Columbia’s development department. I am responsible for writing and managing the copy for the annual giving campaigns that take place in spring, fall, and winter. The campaign pieces we create are sent by direct mail to existing and prospective donors, so I have to be on the lookout for typos and inconsistencies! In addition,  I create a quarterly newsletter called In The Moment that is sent to friends and donors of Columbia.

A BIG part of my work is devoted to what my boss and I somewhat jokingly refer to as “other duties as assigned.” One day I will be creating and editing a video for use at a donor event, and the next I will be taking photographs for use in a communication piece. On another occasion, I will be tasked with organizing an “old-fashioned ice cream social” for donors or managing the department’s website. There is never a dull day, and I thoroughly enjoy everything that gets thrown at me.

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What I love about my job is that it is a real job. Everything that I am doing is building my resume and improving my skill-set. I am always learning new things that complement and reinforce what I am being taught in class. There is a lot of project management and planning involved, as well as copious amounts of copywriting. I use elements of marketing and leadership, and most projects I undertake need a good side order of problem solving. Most of all, it’s really fun, I get to be creative on a daily basis, and I work in a great office with a team that is really supportive and fun loving. Just today, someone in the department brought in a MASSIVE ham for everyone to share. That is correct, a HAM.* I’ll be sad to leave when I graduate, but one lucky grad student will get to take my place!

*There was a ton of other food for those of the non-meat-eating persuasion.