When I began my internship with Alliance for a Better Utah I had no idea what to expect. It was my first introduction to the world of “real jobs” (those that don’t involve babysitting and waitressing). I quickly realized I had nothing to worry about. My first day I attended the staff meeting. I walked into the conference room where the ABU staff awaited me and as the meeting progressed my nerves disappeared. Jokes, disses, and gifs are a must, as well as encouragement and praise for the great things the ABU staff builds up over the week between meetings.
Not long after that meeting I was given many opportunities for hands-on experience. My first task was to research the scientific benefits of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and to compile and organize all the resources from the research. Then I was introduced to Canva (loathed by some but loved by others), a graphic design website ABU uses for most of the graphics found on the ABU website and social media platforms. I was also able to draft petitions, write up website pages, and work on press releases.
After those smaller projects, I was ready to take on the next aspect of being an ABU intern: an OpEd. I had practiced the OpEd writing style in school, but never actually attempted to have something published. Despite my reservations about being published, the ABU staff was with me every step of the way. They helped me find a topic that aligned with my interest in environmental politics which resulted in a more passionate piece, and gave me feedback to strengthen my argument. And, then it was published! Something that always intimidated me was done with ease as a result of the ABU community.
My favorite takeaway from this internship was learning about the realm of non-profits. I think non-profits attract a certain type of person, which I realized while working with the people at ABU. They are passionate, giving, thankful, expressive, and intelligent. As with any non-profit, fundraising is always part of the conversation. How do we engage our audience? What type of email format is more engaging? What gets more people to hit that donate button? In addition to, what is our organization most passionate about? What should be our focus and mission? I was blown away by all the work that goes into running a non-profit and was even more blown away by how small the staff of ABU is that manages to get it all done!
I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to be a part of the staff this summer and see how much work and passion goes into Alliance for a Better Utah and hope to pursue my interest in non-profits in the future!