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SPAA Internship Spotlight: Elena Perez – March For Our Lives

Name: Elena Perez
Degree Program: Bachelor of Public and Nonprofit Administration
Major: Public and Nonprofit Administration
Graduation Month/Year: May 2023
Name of Organization: March For Our Lives
Location of Internship: New York City/Virtual
Title: Development and Communications Intern
Dates of Internship: May to August 2023

Summary of Responsibilities:
At my internship with March For Our Lives, I managed sending monthly thank you letters and gifts for recurring donors. I also did research on specific donations, helped with communications and outreach, and supported producing donor events to inform donors of the work to which their contributions are going. It was an opportunity to highlight all the incredible work March For Our Lives is doing. As the internship progressed, I was able to use skills I learned in my grant writing class to help support organizational grant writing and find grants that fit the mission of March For Our Lives.

Favorite Aspect of Internship:
My favorite part of the internship was grant research. Not only was I excited to use skills that I learned at Rutgers but it taught me a lot about how often nonprofit financial success relies on grants.

Career Goals:
I definitely see myself working for nonprofits like March for Our Lives in the near future, particularly in roles that involve policy. Although, as my career develops, I would love to see myself grow into an Executive Director level position.

How did the service-learning course help you navigate your internship responsibilities?
It helped to see fellow students as they went through their internships. At the start of my internship, I was nervous and didn’t feel like I was learning as quickly as I wished I could. When I saw others in the same boat as me, it reassured me and helped me have more confidence at the start.

What kind of skills did you learn during this internship?
I learned how to manage donor portfolios, host events designed to engage donations, and improved my grant research and request skills. I also learned standard software used in nonprofits like Every Action.

Has your mentoring part of the internship been helpful in navigating your career goals?
My mentor, Alyssa, was incredibly helpful. She patiently walked me through any errors and taught me so much about working hands-on with donors. Without her support and guidance, my internship would have been a lot more difficult. I look forward to staying in contact!

Anything else you wish to add?
Development within a nonprofit organization was not something I was interested in prior to my internship. I recommend that future students apply to internships outside their comfort zone!