This semester I had the opportunity to intern with one of the largest non-profits in the United States, Make-A-Wish. Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of kids with life-threatening medical conditions and they are awesome at it, granting a wish every 38 minutes. Non-profit organizations are something that I have always been passionate about but never really got to see how one operates until interning there this past fall. Internships with non-profit organizations may not be paid like others but it has invaluable benefits.
Great working environment
Many people have say that you do not make a lot of money working for non-profit organizations and it is true. According to PR News, most public relations professionals that work for non-profit organizations make from $30,000 to $69,000. The starting salary for a PR professional in the non-profit industry is in the bottom 10 percent of PR professionals’ salaries.
It’s the employee’s passion for their organization that really keeps them motivated. At Make-A-Wish, everyone is like family. They are always happy and very supportive of one another. If you ask anyone in the office how they feel about their job, they will not hesitate to tell you that they love what they do.
Non-profits always need volunteers and they love when you take the initiative to volunteer for an event. You can discuss volunteer hours counting towards your required internship hours. Earlier this semester, I volunteered as a scorekeeper at a corn hole tournament. I not only learned how to play corn hole, but I connected with people who were really dedicated to the organization. I even met a few PR and marketing professionals. I enjoyed myself so much that I plan on volunteering next year. Volunteer opportunities are also a great addition to your resume!
Gain useful skills
Although you may not always be working on a big campaign, you get the opportunity to learn small skills that can be very helpful once you get a job. I knew nothing about where the best places to get things printed or the best sites to order marketing materials before this internship. Both are things that can be very useful once I launch my own career or take on future internships. Small skills such as these may not seem like a big deal now, but down the road they could end up making all the difference.
You never know whom you will meet when interning with a non-profit. Volunteers range from recipients of services to celebrities. Make-A-Wish works with celebrities all the time because a lot of wish kids want to meet them.
You are appreciated
Non-profits thrive off of dedicated volunteers and donors. Although you may be receiving credit for the internship you are still looked at as a volunteer because you do not have to be there to help. I cannot count the times I have been thanked for helping out and it means a lot. It always feels good to be appreciated, and it feels even better to give back.
Chloe Watson is a senior and will be graduating in May. Her major is Communication Studies with a concentration in public relations and a minor in journalism. Her PR experience includes internships at the Thomasville Times, J. Murrey Atkins Library, Relate PR, Make-A-Wish, and currently AmWins Inc. She is also treasurer for our PRSSA chapter and has been an active member for two years. Upon graduation, she would like to work for a branding agency.