Six Weeks Later at Tearfund

It’s been almost two months since I left All In Media. I then took a two week holiday in the USA with my wife. Now it’s six weeks since I started at Tearfund as PR & Media Officer.

So what do I make of my new job after a myriad of introduction meetings, corporate inductions and my first press release going out?

Why the move?

First, a bit of history. The main reason for the move from AIM to Tearfund was to flex my multi-media muscles.

I was blessed at AIM of having a stable position within the company which allowed me to grow in confidence within project management and getting to grips with client relations. Challenges came in different shapes and sizes, but typically were all within the confines of creating mobile apps for a station.

I was looking for something which allowed me to use my experience in broadcast media, relationship management and building the creative brief. The PR & Media Officer role at Tearfund has all that and more.

Another factor that attracts me to Tearfund was that they align with my faith beliefs and their focus isn’t on pleasing shareholders or trying to make money. They are about empowering the church and supporters to make changes to the world for good, particularly for those in the poorest countries.

One of my cornerstone beliefs is that teams like technical/production at churches and media teams at charities are there to help others; they’re a serving ministry. They enable others to deliver their message of hope and the Gospel to those that may not have heard it. This is the underlying principle that I take in to my new job.

Getting to grips with Tearfund

It was no surprise that my first few weeks would be filled with meeting new people, learning what each department does and doing the corporate inductions/compliance training.

Every person that I’ve met so far have been welcoming and willing to answer any of my seemingly stupid questions. The organisation is big and complicated. Fortunately there is a person/team search on the intranet and I’ve met folks that continue to use it over a year into their own job! Due to the size of the charity, people move and change jobs reasonably frequently. This also means, I’ve not been the only newbie on the scene in July.

There is a marked change in pace and the way relationships work in the charity compared to my last job. Tearfund is regularly described by those that work there as very relational. There is an emphasis on spending time talking to one another face to face, with plenty of meeting spaces throughout the building. We have corporate prayer gatherings every Wednesday and weekly Media team prayer meetings. There is a freedom in being able to bring my faith to work and being able to say to the team ‘hey, can you pray for this thing I’m struggling to do this week?’. We have a staff room/canteen which encourages us to get away from the computer screens and share lunch with colleagues. I am enjoying all these aspects of a new place to work.

There was a funny moment during the British heatwave when I asked my line manager if I was okay to wear shorts to the office. It’s her first time line managing and she wasn’t sure. There aren’t any other guys on the Media team, so she had to check. I think it’s fair to say that there are some things my line manager and I are learning together!

The first release

The biggest surprise for me was getting my first press release out within a couple of weeks of starting the job!

My role is split between working with the charity’s ambassadors and covering media for fundraising activities. This story came from the community fundraising team as something which could get local media traction. It was picked up by Cheshire Live and had a few tweets. There was also an uptick in donations to Chris’s giving page around the time of the press release going out.

I learnt a lot during my first story for Tearfund, including the time it takes to get something signed off and the number of teams that I have to interact with to get a single story out to press.

The coming months

September, October and November will be busy months. I’ve got stuck in with helping organise our ambassadors for some events across the UK.

In September, I’ll be at the Tearfund Prayer Breakfast and preparing all the press around the Cakes, Bakes & Faith tour in October.

The Cakes, Bakes & Faith tour will see me visiting seven of the nine October dates across the UK with GBBO’s Martha Collison and chocolatier Will Torrent. I’ll be taking in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Huddersfield and Newcastle with the pair. You can fully expect to see some posts and stories on my Instagram account!

November will see Tearfund celebrate a year of work with our ambassadors at the annual Ambassadors’ Dinner. I’m organising the invites and printed menus along with a couple of other bits and pieces.

Alongside all that, I’ll be supporting preparations for new fundraising stories and the November Big Quiz event.

The future and beyond

I had a goal-setting meeting with my line manager the other week and I’m excited about the goals we’re looking to achieve in the next three months.

There is a lot going on at the charity and in the Media team, so with my Trello board to hand, we’re full steam ahead as I continue my journey with Tearfund!

Post image: @OliverNeedham on Instagram

3 comments on “Six Weeks Later at Tearfund”

  • Trevor says:

    Oliver, this update is awesome. I’m so proud of you and look forward to learning about your journey as you create the future for yourself and Tearfund.

  • Denver says:

    I’m proud of you for having the faith to take on a new position which will bring challenges both personally and professionally. Here’s a recent message summary of a sermon at Brookhills, I hope it provides encouragement for the significance of your new role:

    “In James 3:2-11, James clearly communicates about how our words either give life or bring destruction in the heart of a person. His admonishment to tame the tongue indicates that God has a strong will for the words of those who follow Him—to be an instrument of His healing and hope (Prov. 12:18). In addition to the Book of James, Proverbs talks more about the power of words than any other theme. Readers, then, can glean understanding that much of wisdom involves using words rightly and, in accordance with God’s desire for His people, to share the new life of the gospel and the life-giving nature of His character through their edifying words.”

  • Craig Hudson says:

    Oliver, so good to hear you have made a great move and that you are fitting in so well. Also glad to hear you have found somewhere you can really exercise your faith and help spread hope to people in need. Honestly I would expect nothing less for a man of your calibre. Long may it continue.

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