Whether you’re fresh out of school/university or looking for a career change later in life, an internship is a typical rite of passage for someone striving to gain work experience and build themselves up in their desired career.
When we think of the stereotypical life of an intern, we imagine this to be an undesirable and underappreciated position filled with monotonous work tasks like filing paperwork and doing coffee runs, but what does this position look like in the charity sector, and how could it benefit you?
GAINING VALUABLE EXPERIENCE
I have been interning at Little Lives over the July period and it has given me rewarding first-hand experience in the non-profit sector.
As internships are typically a learning curve to get a feel for a specific industry and a stepping stool to higher positions, the work I’ve carried out has provided me with a well-rounded base of knowledge to help me in my future endeavours, whether that be to continue in the charity sector or hone my skills elsewhere. Being in an environment where I can apply my knowledge to real-life situations and learn from professionals in the field has not only enriched my CV and employability, but has also encouraged me to be more confident in myself and the skills I can bring to the table.
An internship with a charity involves a number of different exciting tasks that range from marketing and spreading awareness about the charity to fundraising, so there is never a chance to get bored.
WORKING IN A SMALL TEAM
One of the great benefits of interning with a small charity like Little Lives is that the head office is run by a small, friendly, close-knit and like-minded team. Interns like me are a vital and valuable part of the day-to-day running of the charity which means that we are given the opportunity to partake in roles and tasks that go beyond the stereotypically unfulfilling tasks of an intern in a big corporate company.
As a small charity, the staff are able to get to know everyone and they recognise the benefits of each intern’s individuality- our unique interests and talents are acknowledged and we’re allowed to adapt our work day according to this. Whether this be managing the social medias, writing blogs or doing administrative tasks, there is a place and task for everyone.
Interns have the opportunity to take part in larger and more personalised projects and our input is valued as it can add a fresh perspective to how things are run. While interning with a charity means you have to work hard, it also means you can play hard, and we were recently able to attend a fundraising event where we enjoyed food from all over the world, met new people, and had the chance to dance.
BETTERING THE COMMUNITY
The biggest difference between working for a non-profit rather than a traditional business is that there’s a unique job satisfaction that is hard to replicate elsewhere. Charities have a clear sense of purpose that works towards the betterment of society, this means that the work you do as an intern can align with your personal values and morality.
I think that it’s particularly rewarding to work with a small charity because the changes being made are more closely observable in the local area. It’s rewarding to hear local stories of how the charity benefits the community and local schools and to hear people calling to say thank you. It means that the sense of achievement and satisfaction hits closer to home.
When looking for an internship, it can be difficult to narrow down which industry you would like to pursue, but I hope this has opened your mind to both the personal and career benefits of interning for a charity- because we should never stop striving to make the world a better place.