Word from the W.I.S.E.: A Non-profit & Social Entrepreneurship Internship

AshleySMSubmitted by Ashley Williams, Career Services Graduate Assistant

Like many undergraduates, Nicole Franco knew her dream job would involve helping people, but felt unclear as to how she could do it. This past summer, she decided to intern at Christian HELP and learned a great deal about social entrepreneurship. She also gained experience in research, writing business proposals, and e-commerce.

Toward the end of the internship, Nicole even pitched and named the jewelry-making program she participated heavily in at this social entrepreneurship and sustainability initiative (SESI) designated site. She called it the Women’s Initiative for Sustainable Employment (W.I.S.E.). She denotes in a separate blog post, “The purpose of the jewelry program is to provide transitional employment for women who are active seekers by assembling jewelry and selling it online and in local boutiques.”

Below, Nicole discusses her duties in detail at Christian HELP and the skills she developed.

Nicole Franco @ Christian HELP in Casselberry, FLINT1

I can’t believe it’s already been a month since I started my internship. Time has flown by so quickly, yet I’ve learned so much within the first month. Today, I will be joining Royce, the program coordinator for social entrepreneurship at a networking event at the Citrus Club. It will give me the opportunity to work on one of my learning objectives of learning how to effectively network and create work relationships. It’s something different from what I’ve been working on for the past month, but I think it will be a great experience. It will enable me to gain a better understanding of how networking should be done and help me improve my communication skills.

Aside from networking, one of my major tasks has been to research. During my research, I have learned so much about the non-profit sector. It has enabled me to get a better understanding of how they operate and most importantly how they sustain themselves. Every now and then during my research, I have came up with several questions about non-profits. The great thing about doing an internship at a non-profit is the knowledge you receive by the hands on experience. I’ve learned about misconceptions and how to carefully select potential donors.

Another learning objective that I’ve been able to focus on is how to write business proposals. I had no idea the requirements for business proposals were so complex. In order to successfully write a business proposal, one must spend HOURS of researching to come up with specific details and come up with a logic model to facilitate the completion of the proposal. The constant changes or rewriting of the proposal is what makes it a lengthy process, but it’s definitely a gratifying feeling once all of the above has been accomplished.

INT2One of the things that I most enjoy about my internship is that I am able to fearlessly throw my ideas to the table. It makes me feel as though my opinion is considered during the projects that are taking place. Since I have experience with e-commerce, my main focus has been on the jewelry line. Recently, I had the opportunity to join another member of the jewelry project on a “mini” shopping spree for jewelry making supplies at a local supply shop. Not only was I able to pick out supplies of my choice, but I was allowed to freely design pieces. I received positive feedback upon showing my samples to the women part of the jewelry project and other employees at Christian HELP. Creating the jewelry and doing extensive research has been one of my major accomplishments, as well as networking.

As a result of the internship, I am learning to effectively and fearlessly communicate my thoughts about projects, ideas, etc. It has enabled me to become even more passionate about social entrepreneurship. This experience has taught me so much in such a short amount of time. Not only has it enriched me but it has enlightened me. I always knew that I wanted to help the community, but taking part in the social entrepreneurship aspect of a non-profit has become my passion. I am grateful for this opportunity and can’t wait to continue learning and growing as a person.

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