Isabel Montoya-Perez is the Client Relationship Manager at Appco UK, a company which specialises in designing, planning, managing, executing and analysing field marketing and fundraising campaigns.
Balance the Grind spoke to Isabel about working in the fundraising industry, her varied role at Appco, having ‘me’ time, writing lists for everything and more.
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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your background and career?
I started working in the fundraising industry by accident, I was feeling burnt out from uni and wanted to take a break and work for a little while. I was applying for entry level jobs just to get some income and experience.
I ended up working in customer service at a fundraising agency which introduced me to the fundraising sector.
It wasn’t really a career path I had put too much thought into growing up or throughout uni but now that I’ve worked at different charities and different fundraising functions I can’t imagine working in any other industry.
2) What is your current role and what does it entail on a day to day basis?
I currently work as a Client Relationship Manager for a face to face fundraising agency in the UK. I manage direct marketing campaigns for a range of different charity clients.
3) What does a typical day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
What I love about my job is that every day can be different.
One day I might be on the phone to fundraisers getting them motivated for a new campaign, another day I might be meeting with a creative agency to revamp materials and later that same day I could be pouring over spreadsheets analysing results on KPIs and forecasting.
That’s what I love about working in fundraising, it’s just the right balance of getting creative but also stretching your data skills because there’s a fair bit of analytic and reporting that you need to be on top of to ensure your campaigns are on track.
4) In between everything you do and all your responsibilities, how do you ensure you find some sort of balance in your life?
I’m not sure I’m the best person to give advice on this one to be honest! I’ve always been someone who gives everything, whether its work, relationships, binge watching Netflix – I’m the kind of person that goes all in.
So I’m quite lucky since I’ve found an industry that I love working but it also means it can be difficult for me to switch off.
Though there is one thing I do when I feel overwhelmed or a bit lost in what I’m doing.
I can’t remember where I learned this but it’s always helped me reset, so I’ll draw a square in my planner then divide this in to four boxes, one for work, relationships, family/friends, myself.
Then say I’ve got 10 points, I’ll divide this between the 4 categories based on how much time, energy and effort I dedicate to each.
Just having to consciously do this exercise sometimes helps me put into perspective what I already but also helps me to see the area of my life that I give the least attention to and where I need to start putting more effort in to balance things out.
It seems silly but it helps me!
5) What are some of the things you do to take time out and recharge?
Since moving to London I’ve definitely chosen travel as a way to treat myself but also has helped me re-set and also learn to really enjoy spending time on my own or with friends but it helps me recharge from my routine but also keeps me busy.
On a smaller scale I enjoy treating myself to a me day, which could be getting a massage, a pedicure or binge watching Criminal Minds – essentially it’s a day to myself where I have no appointments or commitments and I do things to make myself feel better.
For me, also sometimes writing lists and getting organised or cleaning helps to clear my mind so I actually enjoy it and it makes me feel better.
My mates used to always have a laugh when I would decline invitations because I wanted to do my groceries or laundry but they’ve just learned I need that time to myself.
6) Are there any gadgets, tools or products you can’t live without?
I rely on my phone a lot for entertainment like most people and also being far from home means I can still call my mum every day!
7) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?
Write a list. I have lists for everything – work, personal errands, travel destinations, new skills I want to learn (my friends found this one on my laptop once and it was super embarrassing).
Just the process of writing a list helps me to organise my thoughts and prioritise what’s most important to me that day, week, month or year.
If you’d like to have a conversation with Balance the Grind about how you manage work, life and balance, feel free to get in touch with us!