Nonprofits and Me

Exciting News!

I have accepted a writing internship with a nonprofit organization called The Borgen Project, which works to fight and decrease global poverty. On June 5 I will begin writing informative articles for their magazine, focusing especially on global education and technology and solutions. Not only will I be writing to raise awareness and be informative but I will also be expected to call and send letters to Congress since most of the work that the leaders of The Borgen Project do is working with officials on foreign policy and maintaining/expanding a federal budget large enough to provide aid to those who are living below the poverty line.

This video gives a brief overview of The Borgen Project and its mission overall.

I wasn’t exactly drawn to The Borgen Project when I first discovered the internship. I was more so interested in the writing and nonprofit aspect of it. Seeing those two words under the same internship description had me hooked right away. I sent off an email thinking that I wouldn’t get a response because the ad seemed somewhat outdated. It was a couple of weeks before I even heard anything back, and when I finally received an email all they wanted was my resume. We played email tag for a while after that. I sent them writing samples of some of my poetry and fiction pieces, and they would reply with even more instructions. This went on for a month and I was beginning to lose hope that this internship was even worth all of the effort. Luckily, the day came when they asked to schedule a phone interview with me. This is when my nerves hit hard and I couldn’t believe that I was being given a chance to complete the final step of their interviewing process. Being the introvert that I am, I was beyond nervous to do a phone interview with a complete stranger, and

Luckily, the day came when they asked to schedule a phone interview with me. This is when my nerves hit hard and I couldn’t believe that I was being given a chance to complete the final step of their interviewing process. Being the introvert that I am, I was beyond nervous to do a phone interview with a complete stranger. Sure enough, the morning of the interview, the app that they use to conduct phone interviews had disconnected the microphone on my phone so the interviewer and I sat on opposite lines yelling, “Hello?” back and forth for minutes. By some little miracle, I fixed my microphone problem and I was finally able to begin the interview that I was even more nervous to begin.

My interview went off without a hitch because I had done extensive research on The Borgen Project and I had thought out my answers to her questions days prior to the interview. She tried to act as though there were many other interviews to conduct that day but by 10 A.M. the following day I had an email proclaiming what a terrific job I had done not only with the interview but also on all of the writing that I had to submit to them.

So why did I accept an unpaid telecommute internship for a nonprofit that fights global poverty?

Well, I looked at it this way: I am moving to Tulsa, OK for the summer to be with my boyfriend while he completes his final internship before he graduates, and I didn’t want to work another summer away and a meaningless job while he gets to grow in his knowledge of the golf industry (he’s a PGM major at UNL). I thought to myself, “If I can get my foot in the door with a nonprofit organization that also allows me to get be published in their magazine and will teach me how to fundraise, write letters to Congress, and I’ll develop a skill-set for writing in AP style format, then that’s an opportunity that I can’t pass up.”

With this internship, I am expected to produce 2 articles a week, fundraise $500 during my three months of work, and attend meetings via conference call every Monday evening for an hour. To me, that didn’t seem too ridiculous or demanding, and my resume will thank me when I begin applying for internships (hopefully a paid one) in the future.

Okay, but how does this have anything to do with Native American activism since that’s all your blog is about?

I think my internship has everything to do with Native American activism. Many Native Americans are living below the poverty line here in the United States and I think it would do me a world of good to understand how to advocate for those across the world who are affected by poverty first, and then being able to apply it to reservation life. Also, since I will be trying to fundraise $500 over the course of three months, I think that will also be a future skill that will heavily benefit me when I look to help Native American communities. Being able to find some way to fund the projects that need to be happening in their communities is a huge component for success and I would be honored to have the understanding and background in being able to successfully raise money to meet a deadline. Lastly, my internship with The Borgen Project requires me to contact Congress either through letters or through phone calls in order to have a positive influence over foreign policy decisions and budgets. Knowing how to talk to government officials in a way that makes them want to help a cause, and or at least listen to the facts of things can make a world of difference when they go to vote on policies and laws. This is where the Borgen Project focuses a lot of its attention on and they have successfully swayed many important decisions about cutting the budget on foreign aid and pushing the federal government to do more for those in need.

I had to kind of laugh at myself because the Mackenzie from this past January never in a million years thought that a nonprofit organization would be where I would look for work. Now that my English 300 class has finally come to an end, I realize that my views on work have definitely changed. I appreciate being forced to go to the Nonprofit Career Fair and listening to panel after panel with people working for nonprofits in Omaha and Lincoln. I think they all had that feeling of doubt in nonprofits too when many of them first started. It was almost something they just happened to stumble into after graduation and I’m glad that I won’t be in quite the same position.

My hope is that my time writing and advocating for The Borgen Project will open more doors for me and allow me to make connections that will change my life (as cheesy as that all may sound). Even if a summer spent writing articles and fundraising doesn’t end up appealing to me all that much, I will still have something worth looking at to put on my resume and have gained skills that could actually greatly benefit me in the future.

I know there will be plenty of times when I want to doubt myself, but I just have to keep in mind all of those people who don’t have the same opportunities as me and how my efforts as an undergraduate now could have a ripple effects on things in a few years or even a few decades down the line. Right now, it’s important that I am learning as much as I can before I am completely thrown into the lion’s den and eating alive by the work field.

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