Guest blog: Letter to a future intern
The following letter was written by our Summer 2017 Marketing Intern, Morgan Cochran.
Dear future intern for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama (RMHCA),
I am excited you are getting the opportunity to learn about marketing and public relations in the nonprofit world. My advice to you right off the bat would be to find, and take hold of, your own opportunities. This may mean making a list of tasks you want to accomplish before you leave. For me, I wanted the opportunity to get some writing samples and to write press releases. Whenever I would finish my tasks for the day, I would go back to my list of things I wanted to accomplish and would reach out to my supervisor about those things. Although you are doing this internship to help the organization, the internship is to also there to help you. You will truly get out what you put in, so put in as much as you can!
One of my favorite things I did during this internship was executing the Make Eating Matter campaign. My second week into the internship, I had a meeting with my supervisor and she told me about a fundraising idea she had and how she wanted me to carry it out. Because this was mostly a one-man kind of project, I was able to really learn the dos and don’ts of carrying out a campaign. I learned so much through this campaign, including taking my time on work, contacting and building connections with members of the community, planning social media posts on Hootsuite, creating social media graphics, and marketing the events. I put my heart into this campaign and did a lot of research beforehand to make sure it was successful. It was a great feeling getting to see my hard work play out when I attended the different fundraising nights and saw people there supporting RMHCA.
Another thing I would advise if you’re going into the nonprofit field would be to not lose sight of the mission. Something I really struggled with was sitting in my little cubical in the back not getting a lot of face-to-face interaction with the families living in the house. I would oftentimes go throughout my day forgetting what I was doing and why it mattered. It is so important to remember that what you’re doing it truly making a difference and to motivate yourself remembering that. My suggestion would be to do as much research about the organization that you can. If you feel like you need to get to know the families better, than do that in a way that somehow ties into your internship. Something that really helped me was listening to interviews done by the families who stayed at RMHCA and writing blog posts about them. Getting to hear from the families reminded me why I was at RMHCA and what my purpose was. Bottom line—stay motivated and focused on the goal!
Lastly, this internship is truly what you make it. You are surrounded by people who want to see you succeed and will be there to encourage you. Reach out to those people, take hold of opportunities, and sink in every moment of it so you remember everything for your future. Also, although this internship may not be where you are working after you graduate, pretend it is for the time being. Build relationships with your coworkers and get to know them not just as the people who tell you what to do, but as the people they are. I became really good friends with the other intern working at RMHCA and also built strong relationships with my two supervisors. Those lasting relationships may be what gets you a job in the future! You never know. I hope your experience working at RMHCA is as beneficial as it was for me and above all, I hope this letter gives you peace starting this new step in your career. You got this!
All the best,
If you are in college and interested in interning with RMHCA, please apply here.