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Nonprofit Internship Program: Cultivating Valuable New Skills

Posted on March 09, 2022 by Avery Crews Prado de Lima, Nonprofit Internship Program
Editor's Note: Through a collaboration with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, The Patterson Foundation's Nonprofit Internship Program connects students at the school with opportunities at nonprofits in the Suncoast region. A successful internship results in students gaining priceless experience and insight into nonprofit work, while a nonprofit gains valuable completed projects from students educated at the world's first and only school of philanthropy.

Throughout the Fall 2021 semester, I worked as an intern for the Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson's to develop a new volunteer management program. Neuro Challenge is an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of people with Parkinson's and their caregivers. The work I carried out was beneficial for me to gain experience and for Neuro Challenge to engage in additional capacity-building projects.

The 15-week internship was split into three main sections under the guidance of CEO Sara Grivetti:
  1. Conducting director interviews and nonprofit environmental scans to study best practices for Neuro Challenge's volunteer program

  2. Developing and writing a volunteer strategic plan for Neuro Challenge to further develop its volunteer program

  3. Writing volunteer job descriptions for expanding the role of volunteers and publicizing these on the website volunteer page
Throughout these three stages, I engaged with various sectors of Neuro Challenge and its programs while developing beneficial skills in the philanthropic sector. Additionally, throughout this internship, I took on smaller projects like creating reports, designing graphics, and holding meetings and presentations with the directors to keep them updated on my work. Neuro Challenge allowed me to work independently on these projects while also providing a support system that assisted me in filling gaps in the materials that I developed.

My work with Neuro Challenge has been extremely beneficial in helping me to cultivate valuable skill sets throughout my internship. It has provided me with new insights into the philanthropic sector and where I best fit within the sector. Overall, I am grateful for the opportunities Neuro Challenge and The Patterson Foundation afforded me and the knowledge and individuals I connected with along the way.

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