Class Year: 2016
Internship Placement: I will be working at the Black Brother’s and Black Sister’s Involvement Inc.
What’s happening? We’d love to hear how your internship is going!
This summer I am a fundraising and marketing intern for Black Brothers and Sister’s Involvement (BBI/BSI) to raise money for the 2015 Dayton African American Cultural Festival in Dayton, OH. To put it simply, I love fundraising! I have learned that sponsors care about different things. Businesses care about demographics and deliverables; they want to know how closely the population served matches their target consumer market or philanthropic goal and the monetary value of what the requesting organization is giving in exchange for sponsorship. Social organizations, such as fraternities and sororities, care about compelling stories, and the interests of individual donors varies.
Fundraising is a huge and complex game: find out what they want/need/care about, position the deliverables in the context of their need/desire, evaluate donorship trends, make the ask. A pleasant surprise for me this summer was putting together a data collection plan and survey so that BBI/BSI would have more valid and reliable demographic data about festival goers and sales performance for vendors when sponsors asked for that kind of information. I never imagined that everything I love and have learned could be so neatly wrapped in one job. For example, I have worked in a call center making cold calls to collect donations or conduct surveys. I never thought that job experience would be useful until I started cold calling PNC Bank and Time Warner Cable, trying to get in contact with the community investment manager or marketing director. I also have two years of sales experience, a field I love; but I did not think that experience would be valuable until I find myself essentially selling sponsorship packages to people I met at galas or cocktail parties.
I had no idea how committed I was until the day I was in the nail shop and a former mayor sat right next to me for a pedicure. I talked to her about the festival and donations and ended up walking out to my car to get the brochure about the festival and donor levels for her! She actually pledged to give a sizable donation, and I simply could not believe it. Although I enjoyed my training and found it very informative, I even picked up a copy of Fundraising for Dummies to learn more. I have thoroughly enjoyed my internship, and I have grown so much as a result of this opportunity. If I do not attend law school next fall, I may look for a job in community investing (I prefer to be the one who makes the decisions) or fundraising (but I do not mind asking).