There’s no romantic back-story for how I first became aware of EIA. Back in March, I literally stumbled past them on a walk. After noticing the sign for EIA’s offices wedged between a few storefronts, I decided to search for the organization on Google. I liked what I saw and requested a volunteer application. Three months later, here I am, a proud EIA fundraising volunteer who can’t believe, firstly, that such a fantastic organization exists and, secondly, my own dumb luck that it had a volunteer position available when I applied.
By the time I found EIA, I had been looking for volunteer positions for months. I am very dedicated to the cause of animal protection and, back at home in the USA, I have donated my time to all manner of animal organizations. From cleaning kennels at the local dog shelter to spending a summer at a farm animal sanctuary writing promotional material, my heart belongs to animals and so does most of my time. When I first moved to London, I was optimistic that I would be able to find something to involve myself in, but while I found plenty of short-term opportunities, the longer term ones seemed to be absent or they weren’t the right fit for my postgraduate schedule. I was disappointed.
However, EIA was the missing puzzle piece. Animals are a huge part of what they do – from conducting undercover investigations on the tragic international trade in tiger and elephant parts to protecting cetaceans from whalers out for a quick buck to taking part in conservation efforts on behalf of orangutans and their habitats – but that’s not all. While their work in that arena definitely pulled me in, I was also eager to expand my knowledge beyond my normal focus, to learn more about the illegal timber trade and deforestation as well as ozone layer and climate protection. Sitting in an office surrounded by enthusiastic campaigners and staff, I can’t help but be fascinated by all that they do, animal-related or not – their passion is contagious.
As you could probably tell by my gushing, I adore being at EIA. There is never a dull day at the office as all my tasks are interesting in some way or another. Currently, I’m assisting the fundraising team in researching and designing a fresh set of merchandise for the upcoming website and online store redesign, to be launched mid-summer (I hope you’ll love it). Before that, I was drafting our most recent appeal for assistance in releasing a report on the whaling of endangered fin whales in Iceland. Some of the smaller, more everyday tasks I’m asked to do include database manipulation and letter editing. Don’t tell anyone, but I even get a kick out of playing around with the database. I know… I’m a huge nerd.
Without a doubt, volunteering for EIA has been one of the most rewarding experiences of this past year. In few of the many places I’ve volunteered have I felt so at home while still learning so much. I’m honored to be a meager part of the great work that EIA does and hope that even once my volunteering tenure is up, I can continue to be involved in the work of this small, but incredibly tenacious and much-needed organization.
Have you got what it take to be a volunteer at EIA?