How to Make the Most Out of Your Non-Profit Internship

If the thought of working at Wall Street or Main Street simply does not appeal to you, you might consider working at a non-profit. Non-profits, by definition, re-invest whatever they make in profit into the growth of their organization. Examples of non-profits include charities, foundations, social welfare, and religious organizations such as churches. Here are a few tips to help you land your perfect non-profit internship.

What to Expect at a Non-Profit Internship

A nonprofit’s bottom line is not to make as much money as possible but to contribute the most good to society. As the name suggests, you won’t be getting paid very much at a non-profit, if at all, as you’ll be a volunteer. In return for your work, you are getting a chance to work for a cause that you believe in and also a chance to make connections at the non-profit. Chances are, you are working for a cause that you truly believe in and you are in it for the chance to change the world for the better.

Generally, non-profits provide more flexibility and more responsibility for the intern than the regular internship.  No matter what non-profit you decide to intern at,  you should make sure to find out as much about it as you can before deciding to send in your application.

Finding a Non-Profit Internship

Most non-profit internships are not advertised. It might be best for you to look up the nonprofit’s website and send an email to see if they are interested or hiring. Make sure that your first impression is good and that you have something to offer for them. When you have researched enough about your non-profit to reach out, make sure that you’ve also done some comparison-shopping across different industries so you know that you’re spending your time and energy at the non-profit that best suits you.

Another way to make sure that you are maximizing your chances is to position yourself as someone who could be indispensable at the nonprofit. For instance, if you know your nonprofit is struggling in sales, you could bring up your previous sales job or anything related to the skill of selling. If you are great at making websites, you could be a great asset for a nonprofit that could use some help cleaning up their web presence. Non-profits often need all the help they can get, so if you can provide the type of help they need, you’ll be in a better position to land that internship.

After You Land Your Non-Profit Internship

Needless to say, you should be doing the best work you can at your non-profit.  Structurally, there are a few extra things that you might be doing at a nonprofit, such as writing grants or creating a fundraising campaign to raise more money. You should make sure that you understand the internal intricacies and politics of a nonprofit, since much of it depends on bureaucracy to get things done. Once you understand the most effective ways of moving your organization forward, you’ll be able to excel at a nonprofit as an intern. Just don’t forget to get your letters of recommendation a week before your internship ends and to keep in touch with people you meet at your internship.

This is a guest post from Brittany Miner, who is a writer for Interns.org. When she isn’t writing she enjoys spending time helping out in her local community. Interns.org is a leading online portal for both companies seeking interns and prospective interns seeking companies offering internships of all types including non-profit, profit, volunteer, paid, etc. Find more information on Interns.org.

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