(The following was written by Emily, a college student who is an intern with the Eden Prairie Community Foundation this fall.)
When I signed up for an internship with the Eden Prairie Community Foundation I didn’t know what to expect. Mainly I had thought of interns as fetching coffee, making copies, and hours of endless filing tasks. I had thought of the prospect of an internship as something one simply tries to survive. I am delighted to say that I couldn’t have been more wrong.
As an intern for the Foundation, I have helped to develop communications materials. This includes preparing communications for fundraising, events, and meetings. These tasks involve utilizing research and storytelling skills. Mark Weber, the executive director, has given me the freedom and opportunity to learn about devising strategies for presenting information to varied audiences as well as allowed me to assist with achieving the goals set by the Foundation’s communications plan.
In addition to communications tasks, I have been invited to attend and participate in committee and board meetings. These opportunities solidify and expand upon the coursework from my nonprofit leadership program. Through this internship, I get to see firsthand how governance operates, including how ideas are presented to committees, board dynamics, and governance in action.
As an intern, I have been given flexibility and independence in my role, but I also benefit greatly from working one-on-one with an executive director. Mark has been more than willing to answer my questions and speak to me about strategy, approach, and tactics for success in the role of executive director. He has demonstrated the many hats a director must wear as well as how to prioritize tasks always with an eye toward mission fulfillment. Mark exhibits qualities of a strong, fair, and effective leader. This knowledge will be invaluable in my future career when serving nonprofit organizations in leadership roles.
While I am only at the halfway mark in this internship experience, I can already reflect on how much knowledge I have gained. This opportunity has been a valuable use of my time that will prime me for a career in the nonprofit sector as an excellent supplement to my classroom learning. However, what I think about most is how I’m not just surviving this internship but how I am thriving in it.
(The Foundation plans to continue its college internship program on a quarterly basis. If you are interested, contact the Foundation’s executive director, Mark Weber, at [email protected] or 952-949-8499.)