By Allison Rumsas
Ever since deciding to pursue a career in PR, I’ve always imagined myself working in an agency. I imagined living in Chicago’s Gold Coast, working at a world-renowned PR agency, managing several different accounts. I kept this dream in mind as I began to look for an internship last year and after sending numerous resumes and having multiple interviews, I received an internship at a non-profit organization called Imerman Angels. I was grateful to have been offered an internship opportunity, but I was apprehensive because it wasn’t exactly the path I had pictured for myself.
Looking back, the 10 weeks I spent as the Social Media & Communications Intern at Imerman Angels was eventful, chaotic, overwhelming and rewarding. I was once drawn to the glamour of the agency PR life, and after this summer, I wouldn’t say that my dreams have changed, but they have definitely shifted. I truly believe that everyone should work at a non-profit organization at some point in their life, whether it be as a volunteer, intern or employee, because the experiences and knowledge you gain, as well as the ability to impact someone’s life, are beneficial in more ways than one. If I still haven’t sold you on the idea of working for a non-profit, here are three more reasons why you should:
Triple Threat. By definition, non-profits don’t sell a service or good, so their budgets for hiring employees are limited, which means that each position has a variety of responsibilities. After my 10 weeks, I didn’t only learn how to draft and manage social media content, but I also learned to do administrative tasks such as documenting donations and planning/executing events. There are always different areas that need help, so get ready to get your feet wet!
It’s a Small World. Imerman Angels has less than ten paid full-time staff members and the rest are volunteers or interns. Not all non-profit organizations are small, but many operate with fewer employees than corporations or agencies, which gives the staff at non-profit organizations more opportunities to know each other personally. Even though I was only there for a couple months, I made a personal connection with every employee and they each brought their own knowledge and experiences to the organization.
A Helping Hand. Not that I think this needs any more reiteration, but all non-profit organizations positively impact the lives of individuals in countless ways. Imerman Angels’ mission is to make sure that no one has to fight cancer alone, which is something dear to my heart. Receiving heartfelt phone calls, emails and letters explaining how you drastically changed someone’s life for the better, is more satisfaction than you could ever receive from any other volunteering opportunity, internship or job.
The key to interning at a non-profit organization is finding an organization that represents a cause you truly care about. Interning for an organization close to your heart will make your experiences, skills and knowledge gained even more invaluable.
Imerman Angels is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to provide personalized connections that enable one-on-one support among cancer fighters, survivors, and caregivers. (www.imermanangels.org)