These first few weeks at United for a Fair Economy have been incredibly stimulating and rewarding. Having not really come from a background in economics, one of my main goals was to become more well-rounded and educated on various issues and topics such as progressive taxes, responsible wealth, and the fundamental tasks associated with fundraising and development in order to sustain a non-profit. My supervisor has been really helpful with all this, as she often has great articles and other various readings to share and help educate me on the greater goal of working towards a fair economy.
I have had the opportunity to work on many very different projects, which has helped to shape the full picture of development and fundraising. I have conducted grant research as we enter a new fiscal year and hope to find some new prospects for potential funding sources. I am also currently working on the design for a postcard to be sent out to past donors. [Fun fact: 71% of our funds come not from other foundations and organizations, but from individual donors!] That, I thought, is astounding! So if I had to pick one thing I have learned about most it would be the role of stewardship and maintaining positive donor relations, though I have found that it seems one of the trickiest, but most important factors. Thinking about it logically, why would anyone want to donate to an organization if they only heard from the organization when they were asking for money? This brings me back to the current project of creating a postcard. In light of our recent move (see my first blog post), we are making a postcard to simply share our new address and to help maintain our relationships so that things don’t get disrupted with the move.
Surprisingly, the other UFE interns have been especially helpful in reaching my goals. UFE currently has 10 working interns, all dispersed among UFE’s programs. We recently began organizing weekly “Brown Bag Lunch Intern Meetings” where we gather the entire staff and organize short presentations to sum of the work we’ve been doing. It has definitely been interesting to see how all of our projects tie in together and help to carry out the greater, overall mission of UFE. It’s a really dynamic and fun group of student interns, all energetic and motivated to learn as much as we can in the short span of summer. We even have started scheduling various members of the staff to come and give presentations on subject matter that might not otherwise have come up. Check out this blog posted by one of the other interns concerning the Robin Hood Tax.
Some of our upcoming programs include “writing for the web” where we’ll learn about blogging on behalf of organizations, understanding webinars, and learning more about creating htmls. Each time someone volunteers to present, they get a nice little star burst as a reward (below)!
I know that I’m learning here because I feel much more confident researching and looking things up on my own. In the beginning I found myself asking a lot of questions and trying to keep all the abbreviations and different projects straight in my head. Now, I can come across articles in the paper, or snippets on the radio and not feel lost among all the jargon. I can grasp concepts quickly, which provides a huge boost in confidence because I can feel my goal of becoming more well-rounded is proving applicable in the real world.
Having worked in other small non-profits in the past, I have come across a lot of great individuals, but what I love about UFE is that everyone is awesome AND really seem thrive in each other’s company. It is a true team effort which clearly establishes an upbeat and healthy work environment. Now that I’ve seen this culture in action, any future jobs are going to have a tough act to beat… especially since the next Intern Outing is getting gelato in the North End!
– Gwen Teutsch ’14