Profile: Daniel Cunningham, Enham Trust and CW15 trainee Author: Guest     
Date: 4th July 2016

Daniel CunninghamWhat drives someone to work in the third sector?  Find out from Daniel Cunningham, one of our current Charityworks trainees, working for the disability charity Enham Trust.  Daniel talks about his role, his growing networks, and what really motivates him in his work.

What is your job title Daniel, and what does your day-to-day role look like?

My position is as a Quality & Governance graduate. In terms of my work, I can usually be found buried in a spreadsheet creating charts and reports to give to the Executive Board regarding how happy our clients or employees are. If I’m not googling Excel tips to find new ways to make my data visualisation and analysis more accessible and interesting, you can find me looking for the guy walking around wearing the hi-vis vest, as my job also entails a fair amount of Health & Safety work. There is a very easy-going atmosphere in my office too, so everybody is very conversational.

Every day is different for me and I like it that way.  I have a good set of long-term projects ticking along in the background which are interspersed with various short-term projects I get asked to help out on. There is a lot of independence in my role so I am largely left to go about my work as I see fit, and this means that to some extent my day-to-day job involves whatever I ever decide to get involved in. 


“Why I work where I do can be explained with 2 simple words: the people.”


Given your experience on the programme so far, if someone asked why you work where you do, what would you say?

Why I work where I do can be explained with 2 simple words: the people. The people I work with are all enthusiastic about the work we do and make the office a fun and friendly place to be, it is great being part of a team striving towards one goal. The clients are what make my job worthwhile. Having gotten to know some familiar faces over my 6 months here, I can see the benefit that my organisation provides. Seeing someone who was in a wheelchair 6 months ago now slowly walking down the hall with a walking aid is an amazing sight and makes the whole job worthwhile.

If I were asked why I work in the third sector, I would have to give the clichéd answer of a Churchill quote: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give”. The third sector is full of good people doing good work for a good cause. So maybe if I was asked why I work in the third sector my answer should instead be “Why aren’t you?”

“I am still motivated by the belief that one individual act to promote social good can change the world. All that’s changed is that I am now part of a team of people with the same goal”


Can you describe the main motivating factor for why you joined Charityworks, and what motivates you now in your work? Has that factor changed?

My motivation to join Charityworks came from an unusual place: time-travel movies. There are some great time-travel movies (think Back to the Future, Terminator) and some less-than-great ones (think Terminator Salvation), but they all have one key lesson: if you change the past, even a little, the future can be drastically different. Yet, for some reason, people don’t believe that a small act today can change the future. We don’t need to go back in time to change the future for the better; we can change the future here and now, today. (And, we don’t need to find a DeLorean). 

This factor hasn’t changed since I started working. I am still motivated by the belief that one individual act to promote social good can change the world. All that’s changed is that I am now part of a team of people with the same goal, and that can only be a good thing.

What about your networks.  Do you feel like your networks have grown since joining the programme?

My network has grown exponentially since joining Charityworks. My fellow Charityworks trainees are a great network to be a part of, giving me the chance to have both intelligent, insightful and thought-provoking discussions about politics and economics as well as to have more light-hearted discussions about the more mundane things in life. I feel confident that being part of the Charityworks network is something I will continue to do for years to come.

Actually, I had a (slightly) interesting networking experience in my local pub one Saturday night. I got chatting to an older gentleman who also happens to work for a disability charity. I had a great time discussing the challenges the sector is facing and potential solutions, and I still get to receive interesting insight from someone with much more experience than myself every time I see him.

Thanks Daniel


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