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Event Recap: Internship Bootcamp 2016

Internship Bootcamp at University of Richmond Jepson Alumni Center

ConnectVA partnered with University of Richmond Alumni & Career Services and VCU Career Services to host this year’s Internship Bootcamp at the Jepson Alumni Center at University of Richmond. It was a lively crowd – with over 100 people in attendance – to learn and get questions answered on how to build an effective internship program. Whether you missed the program or are looking for more resources, we’ve got you covered here.

Many people came in with goals to: learn how to build a holistic and more formal program, build a new program from the ground up, or how to recruit interns better. VCU’s Joslyn Bedell and University of Richmond’s Ashleigh Brock expertly led a discussion on how to do just that, and more. They covered the benefits of bringing on interns to an organization – which range from identifying and developing new talent, supplementing staffing for special projects, creating “ambassadors” for your organization, and building the nonprofit sector talent pipeline.

Building an Internship Program:

Here are Joslyn and Ashleigh’s key tips for building and maintaining an effective program:

  • Set goals and policies for your program. Check out this Goal Setting Worksheet.
  • Recruit a qualified intern and discuss expectations.
  • Manage the intern’s work and development. Set specific and measurable goals.
  • Conduct evaluations to continuously improve your program.

Lindy Bumgarner, Executive Director/Co-Founder of the Podium Foundation, though not able to attend in person, provided some insight for the facilitators to share about her organization’s internship program. They typically engage 10-12 interns at any given time, and she recommended nonprofit staff plan for the time it will take to orient and mentor interns – set aside a certain amount of time per week to ensure both you and your intern are getting the most out of the experience.

For more assistance with building an internship program in your organization, check out this Internship Toolkit, which offers sample interview questions, offer letters, orientation templates, and evaluation samples.

Recruiting Interns:

Joslyn and Ashleigh also spent some time discussing how to attract quality candidates. They recommended that position descriptions be as specific and detailed as possible — use a skill or industry based title, explain your organization, describe what you want, etc.

There was also active discussion on the implications of paid versus unpaid internships and best timelines for recruiting interns – try to post your internship opportunity three months in advance.

Ashleigh also spoke on Richmond Guarantee – where every University of Richmond undergraduate student is guaranteed at least one scholarship for an internship or research project of up to $4,000 for the summer.

Find interns by visiting Connect to Students to connect directly with the individuals and offices responsible for coordinating internships at the schools and departments within our region’s university and colleges.  You can also post both paid and unpaid internship opportunities in the ConnectVA Job Finder, or on VCU or University of Richmond’s job sites.

Job Finder Blog Cover

The VCU Social Media Institute Summer IYLEP Program and Create-A-Thon at VCU are other great ways to engage students with your mission.

Make sure to register for the upcoming Regional Nonprofit Career & Internship Fair on February 17th with VCU and ConnectVA — the event is free but space is limited!

Want more resources on hosting an intern? Check out other blogs posts in this series:

If you’re ready to take your learning to the next level, check out Nonprofit Learning Point’s Certificate in Volunteer Resources Management, where you’ll have the opportunity to earn a Certificate in Volunteer Resources Management based on a national Volunteer Management Training Series curriculum.

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