Providing Q-Step work placements at War on Want | Case study

By Nuffield Foundation

War on Want’s experience providing Q-Step work placements


Q-Step work placement host
War on Want
Data analysis to map our audience and stakeholders and to determine how and why our supporters and members donated funds


What projects did the placement students work on with you?

Nathan worked with a Data Intern to assist us in an initial analysis for a project around beginning to map our audience and stakeholders, to be used with an external agency to help us further in our strategic planning.

Nathan used our current database to analyse the data into various categories of how our supporters and members donated funds to our organisation, what triggered these donations and why they gave funds.

This is part of a wider project to have a much deeper understanding of our audience and stakeholders. We were in the process of finding an agency to do some qualitative and quantitative research, including surveys and focus groups. Nathan had exposure to the wider project process and outputs with his work and this will be feeding into the overall analysis with an external agency.

What did the Q-Step student gain?

Nathan gained experience of working both in the Fundraising team and for an organisation that engages in a political debate around poverty, which he is very passionate about. He gained experience in completing a small project and then being able to present his findings through a well-designed and thought-provoking PowerPoint presentation to the rest of the organisation.

For the first time in about 10 years, we were able to understand much more about the makeup of our members and supporters and why they continued to give us funds. It provided us with a greater insight into our fundraising streams.” War on Want, Placement provider

What did your organisation gain?

We really enjoyed having Nathan as part of the team. We gained his analytical skills in breaking down complex data, which was a luxury to have as this area of work is unfortunately under-resourced but is much needed in the digital age of data mining and analysis.

For the first time in about 10 years, we were able to understand much more about the makeup of our members and supporters and why they continued to give us funds. It provided us with a greater insight into our fundraising streams and where we should focus our future attention in terms of engaging new and existing supporters and members.

What skills did the Q-Step student bring?

As a second-year student, he brought a mature work ethic and quickly became part of the team. Nathan had already had work experience, so he was able to settle in well within our team and wider organisation.

What challenges, if any, did hosting a student present to you/your organisation?

Initially, there were challenges around staff seeing the benefits of a student placement working alongside them, as we are a small team. Apparently, hosting student placements in the past did not go so well. Also, the amount of paperwork that had to be completed seemed a lot.

However, this is all understandable doing this for the first time as forms changed during GDPR. On the whole, once the paperwork and references were completed, the journey to host Nathan went very well and was a success!

On Q-Step improvements:

  • It would be useful to share some of the paperwork e.g. the JD and expectations with the Student before they join so that they are clear about their role.

  • Some organisations, like ours, need references as part of an HR process. It would be good to encourage students to get a written statement or reference as they complete their placements, which will speed up the process of employment. Also, as students leave University and look for work, it will help them speed this process. From experience, students often forget that this is a very important process, especially when their supervisors move on and it becomes hard to track them down and validate work experience.

  • Being able to engage, communicate and respond to emails with the employer before starting is really important.
  • Will you/your organisation host more Q-Step students?

    Yes! The success of having Nathan complete this project was amazing. It is also good to point out that Nathan worked autonomously and diligently. We were even able to extend his time with us, which we are very grateful for. Thank you! We were also lucky to have someone who really loved data and enjoyed analysing it!

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    We improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

    We offer our grant-holders the freedom to frame questions and enable new thinking. Our research must stand up to rigorous academic scrutiny, but we understand that to be successful in effecting change, it also needs to be relevant to people’s experience.