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How to Get an Internship in the Nonprofit Sector

The nonprofit sector is really a wide net, encompassing many industries. Whether your interests lie in law, healthcare, tech, etc., there is sure to be a nonprofit engaging in meaningful work near you! With so many great opportunities out there, it can feel like your application season will be endless, but with these four tips, you can secure the internship of your dreams. 

Go where your interests lie.

For me, the phrase “if you love your job you’ll never work a day in your life” rings true, and the same goes for internships! Pick a sector that most aligns with your passions and interests, nonprofit work is often driven by a group of passionate, highly motivated individuals who are committed to making a difference in their chosen sector. So, in identifying an internship site that appeals to your interests and career aspirations, you will ensure a great, mutual experience for both you and the organization you’re working for.

Do some research.

After identifying the realm of interest that appeals the most to you, begin to locate nonprofits in your area that do work in this sector. Many organizations will have a tab on their website, often titled “get involved,” with information on volunteer and internship opportunities; this will provide you with a good overview of what your application process will look like. I cannot stress this enough, glean all the information you can from the organization’s website, it’s important that you ensure that the work they do resonates with you.

Leverage your school’s resources.

No matter where you go to school, you’re likely to have access to a career center all with the purpose of helping you find jobs and internships! This is such an invaluable resource for students of any year; I definitely recommend scheduling an appointment with a career advisor. Additionally, your major or minor programs may also offer internship credit through various courses, these programs often identify nonprofits in the host organizations of previous students.

Tailor your resume and cover letter to the position.

This tip is a no-brainer for any internship you apply to, but it may be beneficial for you to highlight certain things in your application to a nonprofit. Outside of conveying your interest in the industry, it may be helpful to display any customer service experience you may have. Oftentimes, these organizations will require you to work directly with the individuals and groups they serve, so it is important to show your competency in this realm. Additionally, highlight any courses that familiarized you with the subject matter of the work the nonprofit does in order to supplement any lacking experiential knowledge.

Finding an internship in the nonprofit sector can be daunting, but these positions give you the unique opportunity to contribute to organizations doing some of the most meaningful work in your society.

Chloe is a sophomore at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She has double majors in English Literature and Sociology with a Leadership Studies Minor. In her free time, she enjoys reading, working out, spending time with friends, and eating good food.
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