AskRIGHT has the pleasure of developing the work experience and industry knowledge of young people seeking a career in the not-for-profit sector.

Our recent intern, Kade Hamalainen, discusses his time at AskRIGHT, his studies at ACPNS, and the plan for his future in the philanthropic sector.

What attracted you to the not-for-profit sector?

I’ve always had an interest in business. My high school teacher said I should become a car salesman. I find myself drawn to mission-led organisations that aim to do good in the world. Like many people, I have lost a lot of trust in mainstream organisations that find it acceptable to harm people and the planet as part of their operations, and not share the profits equitably with stakeholder groups like their employees. I see a lot of untapped potential for not-for-profits to lead the way in organising people and capital to find solutions for our collective needs in ways which reduce costs to our environment, neighbours and future generations. Not-for-profits can also empower people to become their best selves, and be transformed through their work.

What made you choose AskRIGHT?

I first learned about the consultancy through an AskRIGHT consultant. Once I started my Master’s at the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies, I recognised AskRIGHT’s logo, as you are partners with the school. Throughout my studies, there were ongoing casual references to AskRIGHT, especially at professional development events. When I decided to pursue a career in fundraising, AskRIGHT were on the top of my mind to research. My further study of the AskRIGHT website, including the extensive, informative blog posts, convinced me that this consultancy has the depth and breadth of wisdom from which I should be seeking to learn. A short conversation with Daniel, the Director, galvanised my certainty to learn professional fundraising from this organisation.

What did you like about being an AskRIGHT’s Intern?

I really enjoyed being a fly on the wall and learning about the daily life of a fundraising consultant. I observed the routine and non-routine issues that non-profit clients experience, and how a cutting-edge knowledge-worker might develop solutions for their needs. I enjoyed the knowledge-gathering tasks, such as to research available CRM systems that might be useful to a small, educational institution, and seeing how that work provided real-world assistance to a non-profit in need. One of the most interesting tasks was to find popular culture references to fundraising for an educational presentation that Daniel will be delivering later in the year. It was harder than you might expect!

Tell us about your studies at ACPNS

My studies at ACPNS at Queensland University of Technology provided me with higher-level exposure to the important areas of non-profit governance and management, including issues of ethics, accounting, fundraising, social innovation, and law. This post-graduate study is essential to improving the development of the non-profit sector and provides graduates with access to the best academics and practitioners in their fields. Graduates of the Graduate Certificate or Masters are well-placed to understand sector trends and the latest paradigms around how to govern and manage non-profit organisations to achieve more good in the community.
I managed to make use of my spare electives to study the Graduate Certificate in Co-operatives Management and Organisation at the University of Newcastle. This program gave me access to introductory courses on cooperatives and social innovation, as well as on cooperative law and project management. It is my strong belief that the non-profit and cooperative sectors can learn a lot from each other, and both have strong potential to rebuild trust in business and deliver for the community at large. Indeed, I’ve even worked at a business that was both a non-profit and a cooperative!

What are your next steps?

I was fortunate enough to be accepted into a fundraising graduate trainee programme with the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Asia-Pacific. During this year-long programme, I will be learning from the award-winning advancement, development and alumni relations teams at the University of Sydney. Towards the end of the program, I will be sent to another university somewhere else in the world for one month to practice what I have been learning with the University of Sydney. My goal is to learn from the best in higher-education for at least five years. Then, I may decide to continue with higher-education, which is a deeply rewarding cause, or pursue other specific causes that interest me, such as environmentalism, international development, and cooperativism.

Congratulations, Kade, and all the best!