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Life Interning in Non-Profit

Last summer I went “abroad” in Washington, DC. I had the pleasure of working for a company called Picture Motion. They are an advocacy and marketing firm focusing primarily on social justice documentaries. What I loved most was the small office. About 10 people made up the Picture Motion staff and two were at the DC office. That means there were three people overall including me, the intern. It was a great atmosphere and open to learning.

After working in a small office, I thought the transition to a non-profit wouldn’t be so bad. I was wrong.

The things about non-profits are that they are mostly underfunded and short-staffed. It is sometimes incredibly frustrating being there. Sometimes they have nothing for you to do and you feel like you are not accomplishing anything, but you still show up.

You show up because non-profits fight for a cause you care about. People work there for little money for causes that are important to you and you believe will mean something to the world. Studies show that millennial workers care a lot about Corporate Social Responsibility and feeling like they are working for a greater good. This is what non-profits are for.

So even though they are underfunded and mostly unorganized they will always be staffed by us young people because they are working for the greater purpose.

I don’t want to finish without saying there are great benefits to working for non-profits. First, because they are unorganized and understaffed, which would give you the ability to wear many hats within the company. You won’t only learn your role but other as well, which will make you a more well-rounded worker. Second, since there isn’t much the organization has for you to do, you get to make it up and be more creative. You can find what works and what doesn’t and then improve. Finally, it will get your foot in the door. I choose my non-profit because it is a subject area I would like to pursue as a career in. It is an easy way to make connections while also doing something you are passionate about.

While working for a non-profit can be tough, the lasting effects it will have on your life and career will be worth it.

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