Blog Post #3: Leaving SIF

Overall, my internship with the Social Innovation Forum was an amazing experience. I feel as though I met my learning goals. I aimed to leave the internship having built a professional network among the Boston area nonprofit field. There was no better place to achieve this than at SIF. I got to research many different social issues prevalent in the Boston area, and see the different approaches nonprofits take to solving those issues. I spent a lot of time of the phone with different nonprofit managers, discussing their approach to these social issues. As I did research and reviewed applications, I became familiar with the names of the major players in the nonprofit world.

Posing for an SIF social media campaign
Posing for an SIF social media campaign

I also learned so much about nonprofit management, common obstacles faced by nonprofits, sources of funding, staffing, and much more. The knowledge I gained was invaluable. I feel confident that I can apply my new skills to any future internship I may have, whether or not I am working in nonprofit management. I learned how to do expense reports, analyze statistics, improved my research skills, and more. These skills will definitely come in handy in the future.

Additionally, working full time was amazing preparation for post-college life. I have never worked full time before, and it taught me how to stay motivated in a long work week. Prior to this experience, I was nervous thinking about leaving school and beginning a full time career, but my time with SIF gave me a better idea of what to expect, and now the prospect of entering the workforce is much less daunting. This certainly fulfilled my goal of professional development.

I am very grateful that World of Work funded my internship, and made this experience possible for me. The internship opened so many doors for me when it came to personal growth, professional development, and building my network. Since my internship ended, I have kept in touch with my coworkers and recommended that other students apply for internships with SIF in the future. For someone interested in getting an internship in the nonprofit world, I would advise them to think about what sort of team they would like to work with. The majority of nonprofits are small organizations, so your team dynamic is a very defining part of a nonprofit internship. I am lucky to have worked with an incredible team at SIF. To future SIF interns, my advice is to dive right into the work: the SIF team will treat you like a full-time employee, so don’t be afraid to act like one by sharing your ideas and making your best effort!

 

Leaving SIF, I feel prepared and excited to take on new challenges. I am very proud of my ability to thrive in a fast-paced work environment, and I can’t wait for future jobs that can push me to succeed in the same way SIF did.

The SIF team and other participants at a program run by Inner City Weightlifting, one of our Social Innovators

 

 

Emma Farber ’16

Midpoint at SIF

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At the midpoint of my internship at the Social Innovation Forum, it’s hard to believe that I’ve been here for five weeks. There has never been a slow moment at the Social Innovation Forum. Though I do not have much experience at other offices, my impression is that my office environment is exceptionally friendly, kind, and passionate. Since it is a nonprofit, it attracts people who care deeply about making a positive change in the world. I’ve heard from friends who have worked at direct service nonprofits that the work is extremely rewarding, but it can be emotionally draining because you interact with individuals in great need of help on a daily basis. This feedback has always made me hesitant to seek out nonprofit internships, but since the Social Innovation Forum is not a direct service nonprofit, I get to learn about the incredible innovative work happening in the nonprofit field from a happy office environment where people don’t seem to mind going the extra mile.

The SIF Social Innovator Showcase attracts 300 Boston area business leaders, funders, and individual philanthropists
The SIF Social Innovator Showcase attracts 300 Boston area business leaders, funders, and individual philanthropists

I am constantly learning new skills that I have no doubt can be transferred to different jobs and projects in the future. For instance, two of my biggest projects are market scans and outreach, which involve research and phone skills, respectively. My classes, as well as many jobs, require some level of research skills, so I have no doubt that the hours I spend researching at this internship will help me build the skills for future success. Additionally, I have become extremely comfortable on the phone. Like many Millennials, I make much fewer phone calls than previous generations, but this internship has made me well versed in phone etiquette, a skill that will make me a competitive candidate for future jobs that may require phoning skills.
Working a nine-to-five job is very different from student life. I think I will return to school with a greater appreciation of my free time. During the school year it always feels like there is more to be done, and when I spend a Saturday hanging out without being productive, I feel like I’ve wasted the day. However, now that I’m working at an internship, I can go home on Friday and not have any responsibilities until Monday morning. At the same time, I spend a much longer time working than I do on my schoolwork on the typical day, and by the time my commute is over there’s very little time left for myself at the end of the day. Balancing work with other responsibilities is certainly teaching me how precious my free time is. Working life certainly has its pros and cons, but I’m glad that this internship is giving me a good idea of what full-time employment is like as I prepare to graduate from Brandeis. I am looking forward to more good things to come in the second half of my internship.

Emma Farber, ’16

The Social Innovation Forum: Week 1

Six months ago, if you had asked me what my plans were for the summer, I would’ve answered very simply, “To make some money.” But my focus shifted completely when I saw an internship posting for the Social Innovation Forum: this internship would be a chance to try out my dream job of working at a foundation. SIF acts as a bridge between nonprofits and funders. Through a two-year program, SIF works with a group of innovative nonprofits (“social innovators”) to help them establish connections, gain funding, develop their leadership, and maximize their social impact.

Ever since I took a course on Social Justice and Philanthropy (sponsored by the Sillerman Center), I have been fascinated by the idea of “effective giving.” The course taught me that identical amounts of money can have drastically different effects on social change when spent in different methods, and I became interested in the analysis that goes into an allocation decision. My internship with the Social Innovation Forum is an incredible opportunity to learn about the skills and tools used to measure social impact.

My first week at SIF has flown by. I arrived at an exciting time: SIF has just opened nominations for the next group of social innovators, officially launching the six-month selection process. At the same time, the “impact entrepreneurs” are wrapping up their twelve-week program. Impact entrepreneurs are for-profit businesses that have a positive social impact and their twelve-week program is a crash course on business development that allows them to get their feet off the ground. Just a few days into my internship, I got to witness the culmination of their work: an Impact Showcase where each business pitched their model to SIF’s investing community. The groups were inspiring, combining innovative ideas with a passion for improving the world. Whether or not my future career lies in the non-profit sector, it was exciting to see how private, for-profit companies can do their part for the betterment of society.

A Social Entrepreneur presents at the Impact Investing Showcase
A Social Entrepreneur presents at the Impact Investing Showcase

Since so much has been happening, I’ve had the chance to see a wide variety of my coming responsibilities, including database management, event preparation, and research. Everyone at SIF has been incredibly welcoming, showing me the ropes and making me feel comfortable within the office. I’m lucky to be working alongside an incredibly capable intern who has mastered all of the ins and outs of the job, and has been an amazing teacher. I hope that by the end of my time here, I can feel as comfortable with all of the procedures as she does. If nothing else, I expect to leave SIF with innumerable skills applicable to any office environment.

Throughout the summer, I will be sorting through innovator nominations, researching nonprofits that could be a good fit for SIF, and assisting in day-to-day office operations. I can’t wait to keep diving into this internship, and I have no doubts that it will be a great summer!

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Emma Farber, 16

Brandeis University

Social Justice WOW Fellow