I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to work with United for a Fair Economy and to have been introduced the social justice and nonprofit worlds. I’d previously worked with many offices that did good for their communities, but I’d never been brought into a workplace that so strongly viewed itself as part of the communities for which it stood, and that provided a community in itself for staff. From my mentors at UFE, I learned everything from fundraising to communications to project planning, all through the lens of an inclusive nonprofit atmosphere. I also found it refreshing to work for an organization that focused so seriously on the wellbeing of staff. Everyone at UFE wants to form genuine relationships with each other — in fact, it’s pretty much required, as collaboration and understanding are at the core of all their projects.
I was lucky to try and have a small impact on every aspect of work at UFE. I’ve done database entry and a bit of research for our fundraising efforts, I’ve worked in Canva and done writing for communications, I’ve learned about social media and its place in nonprofit work, and that feels like just the tip of the iceberg. What I’m most proud of, though, is that I was able to pitch and build the framework for an entire long-term project on my own. Obviously, the project itself will be a surprise until UFE is done with it, but I had the opportunity to write a full-length project proposal on my own, to search for potential vendors and artists, and to feel like I’d really built something for the organization.
I wish I’d known before I started with UFE how free I’d get to feel throughout the internship. Everyone I worked with was concerned with my happiness and comfort as much as, if not more than, they were concerned with my output. The hours were extremely flexible, and I was consistently asked which parts of UFE work I’d like to explore more. This really stuck in my mind through the summer because I quickly realized how much higher the quality of my work was when there was that relationship of trust.
If I could give advice to anyone interested in working with United for a Fair Economy, it would just be to speak openly about your background in nonprofit and social justice work, and to be even more open about your interests and the things you hope to accomplish in those spheres. I think it goes this way for many internships, but it’s so much more important to be genuine about your experiences and honest about your curiosity than to project an image of the perfect undergraduate student. You don’t have to have years of experience organizing protests or running your own nonprofit to be the right fit for UFE. The most important thing is enthusiasm and a willingness to learn.
Overall, I’m so thankful for my internship with United for a Fair Economy and I’m excited for the next Brandeis student who might get to work with them.