Six months in – a graduate’s experience of For Purpose




Julianne Flynn: I studied Sociology and Social Policy at Trinity College Dublin, with a year abroad at the University of Melbourne.

This course is essentially a mixture of social theory, economics, politics, and social research methods. It’s the systematic study of society and how policy shapes our lives.


JF: There wasn’t a lightbulb moment per se, but rather a deep belief in equality and justice. Having spent four years analysing the various ways in which gender, race and class systematically produce and reproduce inequalities, the not-for-profit sector appealed to me as it presents a productive way to challenge these forces.

In a world of rising populism, income inequality, and climate change – the not-for-profit sector and civil society are essential gatekeepers for democracy. Having campaigned for the Marriage Equality in 2015 and then ‘Together for Yes’ in 2018, I saw how civil society led the way in demanding governments to act – and I knew I wanted to be part of it.


JF: I heard about For Purpose through It came at a time where I was beginning to question why I followed my passion (instead of studying something with a concrete ‘career path’), so I was really excited to finally find a graduate opportunity that suited me.


JF: There is so much information available right at your fingertips. ActionAid has all their strategies and publications online and I remember spending hours reading through them – out of pure interest as much as anything else. I think this really stood to me during the interview process. I also monitored ActionAid’s social media pages, so I was up to date with campaigns and events.

For the interview, I was asked to give a presentation on how to develop ActionAid’s ‘tax-back’ campaign. I spent a great deal of time familiarising myself with the scheme and analysing the strengths and weaknesses of ActionAid’s campaign and comparing it to what others in the sector were doing.


JF: I started in December – a notoriously busy time in the not-for-profit sector. ActionAid had just sent out an appeal for donations and board reports were looming.

It was a steep learning curve, but I was given loads of training and immediately felt welcome and supported.


JF: Today, I spent the first half of the day writing a newsletter to be sent to ActionAid supporters and after lunch, I managed the recruitment for a vacant position at ActionAid.

Given the multifaceted nature of my role, no two days are the same. This has proved useful as I now have experience in a wide range of areas, from campaign management to copywriting.

I go to work each day feeling like I’m making a tangible difference to ActionAid Ireland – and that is tremendously rewarding.


JF: Fantastic! I love being surrounded by inspiring people who are eager to make a difference. I’ve also been impressed with the way the sector works together in sharing ideas.


JF: I feel really lucky to be part of the For Purpose programme. The monthly mentoring sessions have proved really useful for general tips and advice. The roundtable discussions also provide great insight into various aspects of the sector.


JF: Just go for it! It may feel daunting and you may feel inexperienced, but you’d be amazed by how much you can learn when you’re thrown into the deep end. I think this programme would suit anyone who is passionate about social issues and eager to make a difference.

For Purpose Shortlisted for Graduate Recruitment Award

For Purpose is delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted for the gradireland Graduate Recruitment Awards 2019 in the category of best graduate recruitment website! The For Purpose team will be attending the awards night taking place on the 25th of April in the Mansion House.

This nomination is a huge achievement for us and is a milestone for the progress we have made following on from the launch of For Purpose in October 2018. We have partnered with some brilliant organisations to provide graduate opportunities across the not-for-profit sector in fundraising, communications, marketing, housing management and property surveying.

We are very excited for the awards night and look forward to representing Ireland’s not-for-profit graduate programme at the awards!

For Purpose Attends GradIreland Live!

On Thursday 07th February the For Purpose team attended the GradIreland Live! fair in the RDS where we were joined by over 50 exhibitors and over 4,000 students and graduates. The fair marked a fantastic opportunity for the team to shed light on the potential for graduates to pursue a career in the not-for-profit sector.

The day began with a very informative panel discussion on ‘Careers with Purpose – Graduate Opportunities in the Not-for-Profit Sector’ which was chaired by For Purpose Manager, Adrian McCarthy. The discussion panel featured Elizabeth Bolger, Director of Programmes with The Wheel, Orla Gilroy, CEO of Cappagh Hospital Foundation and Esmay Murray, a current For Purpose trainee with Sightsavers Ireland. The session proved to be an informative one for attendees on the range of opportunities for graduates in the sector and how to begin their career in it.

At the For Purpose stand, we spoke to a large number of students and graduates who expressed an interest in pursuing a career in the sector. Students from a broad range of degrees and third-level institutions came to speak to us on the day about the programme and how they could apply their skills and knowledge in the sector.

For Purpose expects to have a significant number of graduate opportunities available this year with our various partner organisations across areas ranging from fundraising & communications, social housing, social care, finance and more.

We hope to see some of the students and graduates we spoke to at the fair joining the For Purpose programme in the future!

That’s a wrap for this year!

It has been an eventful year at For Purpose. We are gearing up for the launch of the For Purpose campaign in January 2019, with graduate trainee roles across a range of areas and organisations. 2018 was a significant year for the programme, defined by a number of key moments.

In October, the brand of For Purpose was born. Originating from the 2into3 Not-For-Profit Graduate Programme, For Purpose was established to provide a graduate programme addressing the needs of not-for-profit organisations both large and small and in areas ranging from fundraising to social housing and more. An equal key aim of For Purpose was to offer an entry point for graduates who are seeking purpose into the sector and to provide them with the support and training necessary as this key stage in their careers.

Many graduates often acquire a spark for the sector by taking part in voluntary events while in college, whether that is through joining a charitable society or taking part in a fundraising event. However, what happens after they graduate? With this in mind, For Purpose was launched at the Grad Ireland Careers Fair to communicate to graduates that there is a career path open to them in the sector and there is a place to apply their sense  of purpose. After receiving very positive feedback from organisations, graduates and students we are excited about what’s to come in 2019.

In addition to the launch of the For Purpose brand this year, we also hosted a series of roundtable sessions for graduate trainees on the programme over the year, covering a broad range of topics from governance to social entrepreneurship and philanthropy in Ireland. The sessions offered an opportunity for graduate trainees to learn about topical issues which have a direct impact on their organisations as well as the chance to connect with other trainees on the programme. We have already begun scheduling our series for 2019 and we will be announcing this early in the New Year.

In 2018, we had a total of 8 graduates joining the sector in organisations such as Focus Ireland, Ag Eisteacht, Diabetes Ireland, Action Aid Ireland and Epilepsy Ireland and Sightsavers. Many of our graduates are coming to the end of their traineeships and are greatly looking forward to the next stage of their careers in their organisations.

2019 is shaping up to be an even busier year at For Purpose, with more graduate traineeships on offer spanning across the sector. We hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and we look forward to meeting more graduates and organisations in the new year.

For Purpose Visits DkIT

Yesterday, The For Purpose team attended the Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) Careers Fair. We joined over 50 companies at the fair talking to DkIT students about their future career prospects. The For Purpose stand garnered a lot of attention with students eager to learn more about beginning a career in the not-for-profit sector.

The For Purpose programme was well received by all, with students demonstrating that there is still uncertainty around a clear entry point into the sector for graduates. In particular, we observed that there was a strong interest in the For Purpose programme from DkIT’s social care students, with the mentoring opportunities the programme provides proving to be a particularly attractive point for students in addition to the diversity of the For Purpose partner organisations.

There was also significant interest in For Purpose from students from a variety of disciplines such as business studies, marketing & communications, digital media, IT, engineering and more. The interest in For Purpose from students of all backgrounds highlights that a ‘career with purpose’ is attractive to graduates of all disciplines. Due to the diverse nature of the not-for-profit sector and the many different services For Purpose partner organisations offer, it is important that the programme attracts a diverse pool of graduates to meet their needs. We believe that by doing this, For Purpose will begin to shape the future of the sector by bringing in its future leaders.

We were delighted to have the opportunity to speak to the students of DkIT and we look forward to seeing many of their faces again in the future when the For Purpose campaign launches in January 2019. If you would like any further information about the programme please contact the For Purpose Manager, Adrian McCarthy at or on 01-234-3135.

The Next Generation of Leaders are Entering the Not-for-Profit Sector and it’s through Graduates

On Wednesday 07th November, For Purpose held its final roundtable session for 2018. We welcomed Caitriona Fottrell, Vice President and Director, Ireland of The Ireland Funds into our offices to speak to graduate trainees on the For Purpose programme.

Caitriona spoke about her incredible experience of working in the sector and how she first got involved in The Ireland Funds. She encouraged For Purpose graduate trainees to “find a cause and an organisation that they believe in” in their careers.

The discussion also covered that due to limited resources being available in the sector those who work in it must work harder in order to achieve things. Caitriona stated that to work in the sector a person must have a drive to make a positive impact and be able to work in a sometimes challenging environment.
Caitriona praised the For Purpose programme on how it is addressing a clear gap in terms of bringing graduates into the sector. It was noted that the sector needs innovation and new thinking and that this must come from graduates.

Finally, Caitriona said that she felt “incredibly fortunate to be working in a sector that does have purpose” and praised the current graduate trainees on deciding to choose a career with purpose. She spoke of her time in NUIG and how she is the only one of her class to end up working in the sector and how this must change in order to safeguard the future of the sector.

Last Wednesday’s roundtable finished off a year where For Purpose graduate trainees attended sessions with Eamon Timmins, Head of Communications and Stakeholder Engagement of the Charities Regulator, Darren Ryan, CEO of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, Kieran Joyce, Sales & Partnerships Manager of Everyday Hero and Diarmaid Ó Corrbuí, CEO of The Carmichael Centre. For Purpose would like to thank all of this year’s roundtable hosts for providing an informative series of discussions throughout the year.

For Purpose will be announcing our upcoming 2019 roundtables hosts over the coming weeks so watch this space for updates on what’s in store for next year!

Ireland’s Not-For-Profit Graduate Programme Launched

For Purpose will connect organisations with graduates seeking careers in the not-for-profit sector

We are delighted to announce that this week marks the launch of the For Purpose – Ireland’s not-for-profit graduate programme. We have designed the programme in order to identify, mentor and develop the future leaders of the sector. The 12-month programme will connect participating not-for-profit organisations with graduates who want to make a positive impact on society.

We have set out to create a cohesive and unified graduate programme that will greatly benefit entry-level trainees with the best career opportunities possible. The not-for-profit sector is full of opportunities for graduates who are seeking an impactful career with purpose. The long-term sustainability of the not-for-profit sector relies on supporting and developing the future leaders of the sector and we believe that the For Purpose programme will contribute significantly to the sector.

For Purpose will offer graduate traineeships across a diverse range of career paths, including fundraising, communications, social care and roles in housing and international development.

Based around the aim of building a consistent pipeline of talent for the not-for-profit sector, the For Purpose graduate programme will provide participants with an immersive training experience along with one-on-one monthly mentoring sessions and roundtable events, ensuring a grounding in the key skills required to succeed in the sector.

In 2019, the For Purpose programme will take on its first graduate intake. Following a competitive interview process, successful candidates will be matched with participating organisations to undertake their traineeships on the programme.

For Purpose is the evolution and enhancement of the 2into3 Not-For-Profit Graduate Programme. Since 2012, 2into3 has placed 42 graduates into roles with not-for-profit organisations, including Age Action, Focus Ireland, Educate Together and Diabetes Ireland.

Today, over 60% of those graduates are still working within the sector and have risen to management and leadership roles in their respective organisations.

For more information on For Purpose, please contact For Purpose Manager, Adrian McCarthy at or on 01-234-3135.