Hi! I’m Madi Lusk, an International Affairs and Spanish Major and Honors Forum Minor from the Class of 2019.
In the Vital Voices Conference Room
I am spending this summer as a Development and Communications Intern at Vital Voices Global Partnership in Washington, D.C.. Vital Voices is an NGO that promotes women’s leadership internationally through identifying and investing in women leaders in economic empowerment and entrepreneurship, human rights and public and civic engagement. Founded by then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton as a White House initiative, Vital Voices transitioned to the State Department under Madeleine Albright before becoming a non-profit organization. I am really excited to have an internship that combines my passion for human rights, non-profit organizations, international affairs, and women’s rights and leadership.
Development is a non-profit term for fundraising, which includes donor stewardship–researching potential donors to determine the best way to approach them, keeping track of donations and acknowledgements, and maintaining relationships with individual donors, foundations, and corporate partners. As an intern, I do a lot of researching potential donors and creating spreadsheets that help my bosses decide where to focus their fundraising attention.
Engagement refers to ‘engaging donors’ through events and communications. I draft social media posts and emails to announce giving campaigns and content for web pages about upcoming events.
One of my favorite things about my internship is meeting all the amazing women who work at Vital Voices and learning about the inspirational women who form the Vital Voices Leadership Network. All of the staff have been really friendly and forthcoming about explaining their roles in the organization and their career paths before Vital Voices. We have “Brown Bag Lunches” where staff speak to interns about the programs they manage, which have been really helpful in getting a sense of the work Vital Voices does and how it all fits together. We have also had lessons in using Excel to its fullest and monitoring and evaluation in non-profits. I am one of about 20 interns for the organization and it has been really great how much effort Vital Voices staff put into making this a great experience for us.
I found this internship through idealist.org – a website I would highly recommend to anyone interested in finding internships or volunteer positions with non-profit organizations or social enterprises. Even if there are no positions available at an organization at the time, it’s still a good way to learn about what kinds of organizations are in a particular city–and you can contact them even if they don’t explicitly say they’re looking for an intern!
Vital Voices internships have rolling admissions, so I applied as early as possible for a better chance. I worked with Lauren Sisson at the Career Development Center to tailor my cover letter to the job description. Lauren was super helpful in the process of preparing all the documents I needed and I really appreciate her. Before I had my interview with Vital Voices, I researched the organization extensively, making sure I had specific women in the network and programs to mention. The best advice I have in looking for an internship, which I have not always followed, is to start everything as early as possible. It is really difficult, and stressful, to edit documents like resumes, cover letters, and summer funding applications properly without enough time.