My Summer Working on Philanthropy at NHWF

sydneyAs my summer internship with the New Hampshire Women’s Foundation comes to a close, I have begun reflecting on my time here as the Philanthropy Intern. My internship has been a truly incredible experience, and I would first like to thank both the Carsey School of Public Policy at UNH for granting me the opportunity of being a Winant Fellow for the summer, as well as the NHWF for allowing me to intern at their amazing organization. I cannot think of a more rewarding and worthwhile way to spend this past summer!

My three months here at the NHWF have been spent in a number of different ways. Being introduced to the day-to-day work at a non-profit organization, I had the chance to attend and helped set up for several events, was able to sit in on and take minutes for meetings, and worked closely with data entry software and excel. For the majority of my internship, however, I was working on projects under the umbrella of Philanthropy.

Upon being selected as an intern at the Foundation, I was unaware of the sector of the Foundation’s focuses I would be working with, but quickly found that Philanthropy would be a perfect match. I was very excited to begin working more in depth with Philanthropy, as I had some experience with it, but was eager to learn more. As previously mentioned in my debut blog post for the Foundation, I have a strong interest in Philanthropy as I am currently, and have been since 2014, the president of the Amnesty International chapter at UNH. The experience with Philanthropy I receive as president of a university organization is simply incomparable to that of which I received this summer.

During my internship, I was able to be fully immersed in the process of recording, processing and filing gift donations for our fiscal agent, The Seacoast Women’s Giving Circle. I learned not only what a fiscal agent is, but how we act as the fiscal agent of an organization, as well as the difference between a giving circle gift and donated gift. This process went on throughout the entirety of my internship, and although it was seemingly the same thing time after time, constant questions arose as each new ‘batch’ came in. Thank you to all of the staff at the NHWF for continually receiving my questions happily and always providing a comprehensible answer! As an intern, it means a lot to know you can always ask questions, and it enabled the work I was doing to become the best it could be.

Other than working with the fiscal agent fund gifts, I also was able to complete two research projects for the Foundation. One of the projects consisted of me searching for grant processes for alternate women’s foundations/funds across the country. The intent of this research is to help the NHWF discover alternate final report processes, and possibly implement one of them. It was a very interesting project, as I learned a lot about our own process of grantee evaluation, as well as the process for many other women’s organizations.

The other research project was based on measurable outcomes for alternate women’s foundations. For this project, I researched 7 different women’s organizations throughout the U.S. and looked into how they were reporting their measurable outcomes, if at all. I created a binder which includes any and all information that would prove helpful in our quest for a new way of creating measurable outcomes for the NHWF, such as other organization’s impact reports, legislative action, grantee impacts and annual reports. I hope this research is useful in the search for a way to report measurable outcomes as an organization in the future.

The final, and largest, project I was able to work on was assembling the grant application books for the Foundation, which includes applications for nonprofits who support women and girls. The 25 grant books were assembled and distributed to each grant reviewer. I am excited to say I will also be able to attend the first grant reviewers meeting on September 9th, so I will be able to see my work in action!

Thank you again to everyone at the Carsey School of Public Policy for selecting me as a Winant Fellow, and to the NHWF for allowing me to pursue this opportunity. My internship has given me the chance to learn and grow so much these past few months, and the experience has been nothing short of extraordinary!

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