We caught up with two Certified Nonprofit Professionals (CNPs) who completed the Institute on Philanthropy and Voluntary Service (IPVS) this past summer to find out how a summer in DC complemented their nonprofit studies.
Cayla Rabinowitz is a sophomore at Arizona State University studying nonprofit leadership. This summer she interned with AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps, an organization that inspires young people to work for justice rooted in and nourished by Jewish values.
Micah Schultz is a senior at Western Michigan University majoring in global and international studies. He spent his summer as an intern in the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, National Capital office.
Tell us about your summer.
Cayla: “Out of all the work opportunities that I completed so far, I feel that this job successfully prepared me for life in the nonprofit world. I got to participate in board meetings, talk to donors of the organization, complete prospect research, handle personnel and financial files, work in Excel and Salesforce, and even help contribute to programming for the organization. I truly got to be a part of the behind the scenes work of a nonprofit.”
Micah: “My summer in DC has greatly impacted my future life and career in many ways. I gained so much confidence [and] have created such incredible connections that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. In just 8 weeks I met some of the most inspirational people, some of whom I now consider extremely close friends! I now feel confident that I can push to achieve anything I put my heart to in the nonprofit sector, and I have incredible people backing me and willing to recommend me or just support me whenever I call upon them to do so.”
How did your CNP studies prepare you for this summer?
Cayla: “Being a member of NLA gave me networking skills, and a vast knowledge of the different kinds of nonprofits that exist. These skills prepared me for the class I took this summer, the Political Economy of Nonprofits & Humanitarian Aid, and enabled me to connect with our guest speakers on a different level.”
Micah, you took a leadership role in the IPVS Class Philanthropy Project. How did your Nonprofit Leadership Alliance (NLA) experience prepare you for this activity in particular?
Micah: “I was nominated for the Grant Committee, which gave me the opportunity to lead our class’ grant review and selection process. Having gone through a grant writing and approval course, I had a leg up and was able to teach others how to analyze and critique a grant. I found that my minor has given me a running start into the nonprofit sector. I’ve learned skills that some nonprofit professionals never have the opportunity to learn before they enter the field, and have gotten to see all different aspects of a nonprofit, from applying for a 501c3 tax exemption to the implementation of programs to the aspect of development. Most people only get to learn and experience one or two of those in their entirety of working in the nonprofit sector.”
What advice do you have for students considering the IPVS program?
Cayla: “Take advantage of all the opportunities that IPVS has to offer. There may be days where you are too tired to go to optional activities. But, the opportunities that are provided are incredible and could easily change your life. IPVS offers so many opportunities to meet people [and] do things that you normally don’t get to see or do. Mange your time so you can do all these wonderful opportunities, no matter how tired you may be!”
Micah: “The program has a price tag attached to it. Do not be frightened by this. There are incredible staff at IPVS that are willing to talk every day on the phone for two weeks to ensure you have figured your financials out to attend the program. Also, plan for incredibly fun things around DC. Go to the zoo, listen to Jazz in the Garden on Fridays, attend concerts or sporting events, but most of all, have fun. Be prepared to have your personal views challenged. This will happen many times in the city of politics. Be sure to be open-minded. Ensure you are willing to discuss, not debate, your differences. This is a once in a lifetime experience that millions of people would kill to have. Apply. Be determined. Show IPVS that you want to live, learn, and intern.”
Cayla & Micah were recently featured in the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance newsletter. Click here to read the article.
For more information on IPVS please visit www.DCinternships.org.