Oct 23, 2013
Nonprofits have a lot going on and any extra help can go a long way. One of the best ways to have another set of hands around to help manage fundraising efforts is by hiring interns. Shaping the younger generation to understand nonprofit culture and processes will ensure that more people know how to handle the needs of charitable organizations in the future. But interns can also offer their wisdom and experience to the modern necessities of today's nonprofits. For instance, as organizations look to improve their online presence and increase donations, they can turn to younger generation interns who know how to communicate through and manage social media sites, websites and blogs.
How interns can help
Setting up online donation forms, promoting a charity event on social media or revamping the website are all incredibly important tasks that interns can help nonprofit leaders accomplish. Keeping up with Internet promotions and maintaining online content takes time and effort, but both are great jobs for interns to get acquainted with online advocacy measures.
While it may seem as though interns and volunteers have similar roles and responsibilities in nonprofits, it's best to use interns for their full advantage. Nonprofit Quarterly stated that interns are an investment in the development and teaching of a young professional so he or she can learn about the organization. A volunteer lends time to help the cause. While both are necessary and extremely helpful, managing interns is much different and, if done right, much more beneficial in the long run.
When it comes time to invest in interns so they can learn how fundraising works, online advocacy and general nonprofit processes work, it's best to ensure the process is legal and beneficial for the overall organization. Here are a few tips for nonprofit internship programs:
- Know when to pay interns. The Massachusetts Nonprofit Network pointed out that the Department of Labor has strict rules on whether interns should be paid or not, and recent laws are cracking down on this particular matter.
- Have a solid program structure in place. The only way interns are going to learn and nonprofits are going to benefit from their work is by having a smart program to teach and implement internship teachings into the real world. Training interns correctly will also ensure they do their jobs effectively.
- Communicate workplace policies clearly. Interns should be treated like a member of the workforce and be briefed on proper professional conduct.