Looking back on my semester spent at INIE leaves me bittersweet. I’m going to miss the work I did for them and am sad to leave before a lot of the ideas for restructuring I had are put in place. There are many different things I learned during my time at INIE, none more important than the importance of passion. I learned how important it is to have a passionate, open-minded team around you and how to lead that team through an objective. These are lessons that I will take with me for not only the rest of my undergraduate career, but the rest of my life.
While my time at INIE wasn’t necessarily the most exciting thing I’ve ever done, I learned valuable skills and practical life lessons that I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. I know understand what it means to actually work in a team environment, and exactly how strong of an impact the people around you have. The membership development campaign I created and the research done for it showed me how much people value quality and will overlook other things if they feel as if they are getting value. If people feel good about spending their money, they are more likely to do so again. Working with Jessica and Alexa showed me what good leaders looked like and how to emulate that with a team of my own. From the other interns at INIE, I learned that everyone has a different and unique skill set and you shouldn’t put someone down because they think differently than you. There are positives and negatives to every situation, the trick is to stay open-minded and listen to those around you. Once again, I’m very happy with my semester at INIE am looking forward to my next internship at RedEye Coffee.
A day to give back after the consumer frenzy Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Meant to make people think about the true nature of the holiday, Giving Tuesday is a day that should be devoted to giving back to the community. While it is an absolutely novel idea, it really holds real and practical results that benefit communities and nonprofits world wide. With over 1 million gifts given and close to $200 million raised online, Giving Tuesday is growing and expanding with each coming year. I think Giving Tuesday is something that is sorely needed during the holiday season as people tend to get wrapped up in buying and getting gifts for others.
My correlation with Giving Tuesday was website manager. While I wasn’t the front of the campaign, this was something I was well acquainted with and could do with relative ease. However, as website manager, there were a lot of emails I received asking about the website and things that needed to be added. It was interesting to interact with different types of people and maintain a professional attitude. I found that, if acted upon quickly, it was very easy to service these people’s requests. However, with the passage of time, people became more and more irritated. This was important to learn because I realized how quick a customer’s emotion and attitude could change if there was anything missing on the organization’s side.
Moving forward, I am looking to working with Alexa to finish up my Membership Development Campaign. Although I was unsure on what she really wanted in the beginning stages, I feel like my plan has come to fruition with my self-driven research. In the next coming week, my plan is being presented to INIE’s board and I am very intrigued to see what they say.
Remember those surveys I posted a link to on my last blog post? You should remember because you should have taken them – if you didn’t …
STOP READING RIGHT NOW AND GO TAKE THEM!
I’m serious, go click on the surveys.
Alright, thanks, now that you’ve done that we can move on. So yeah, those surveys? We’ve gotten over 250 responses to them so far! I could not be more proud of the turn out these surveys have received. With the IRB conflict and the resulting delay in timeline I was aiming for 100. I didn’t think we would make it past 250!
Unfortunately, an overwhelming proportion of our respondents HAVE spayed and neutered their pets (well that’s not unfortunate, it’s great, but for survey purposes not so much…) which means it is hard to get valuable information on why people DON’T spay and neuter their pets. Luckily, we thought this could happen and decided to include questions on why people DO spay and neuter their pets as well.
So as you can tell in the first graph, the first response offered is “I have spayed or neutered one (or more) of my pets,” and that had the most selections of 167. If we ignore that selection and solely look at why people haven’t spayed or neutered the next highest selection is “Other.” Which is extremely interesting to me because we offered choices for all of the most common excuses not to spay and neuter pets. After going through these “other” responses I found the majority were for a perceived health reason. Whether that reason was animal’s age or fear of complications.
As for the reasons why people do spay and neuter their pets the most selected response was “No desire to breed” followed by “Behavioral.” This is somewhat what I expected from the responses, but the 37 “other” responses are what intrigues me. Most of those selections were also health related, stating that spaying and neutering their pets lead to a decrease in cancer or disease risk.
As I plan to continue my work with Be the Solution after this semester, I am not quite ready to close the surveys (so if you ignored all my hints earlier, you still have time to go do that survey). I look forward to the more responses we get!
Last time I wrote I had spent the day at Proof Brewing Company, today I’m editing a website for Lucy + Doodle (yes, the name changed). It’s a complete understatement to say that my internship is teaching me a lot. When one day you’re visiting a bar, the next you’re writing survey questions, and the next you’re working on a website, you’re forced to learn a lot.
So just a brief update so I can get back to work.
The surveys are finished and live! You can find the links for both the Lucy + Doodle survey and the Be the Solution survey at the bottom of this post! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE fill them out! Tell your friends, tell your family, tell your neighbors, tell your colleagues, your mailman, your local grocery store cashier, tell everybody! The more responses we get, the more reliable the data, and that data has the power to take another step towards ending pet overpopulation. Less cats + dogs = more cats + dogs in loving homes.
As I said, recently I’ve been working a lot on Lucy + Doodle’s website. One of the graphic designers at L.A.T. Creative and I have finished the site map and are working on the layout and copy to go with it. Once finished I’ll make sure to link it to the blog posts! The other thing I’ve been working on is the establishment of Lucy + Doodle’s social media presence. I’ve been doing this by looking at various dog treat company’s social media and seeing what they post, how often they post, and learning from that how we can do establish our own presence. In doing so I have created a social media editorial calendar for Lucy + Doodle when we do get our social media accounts up and running.
That’s it for now, I’ve got a website to finish.
TAKE OUR SURVEYS!
Over the past few weeks at INIE, I’ve worked on creating a comprehensive and engaging membership development campaign. As INIE’s entire business framework is reliant on member-based services, this was not a project I took lightly. Being someone who enjoys solving problems, I thought I could view membership from an objective standpoint, find the weak points in INIE’s current membership structure and services and then work on solutions to those problems. This was not the case over as I ran into a few hiccups along the way. After researching membership retention techniques and how to acquire new members, I realized that to effectively increase membership levels, an organization needs to not only change its view of membership but it’s culture as a whole. The disconnect that I was having was that I was viewing membership as a single product rather than what it truly is, a relationship that needs constant nurture and support. After I read enough membership strategies to retain a chicken with its head cut off, I created a 5-6 page document detailing the specifics of techniques I came up with. Working off that, I made an infographic that highlighted some of the major techniques suggested. Membership Development (1)
This project has definetly opened my eyes to the kind of work that needs to be done to overhaul a system. I’ve already found some success with my plan as Alexa and part of the board believe that we should restructure INIE’s membership system. They are taking a vote later this month and I have been assigned, with Alexa, to create a structure and plan for this new membership system and present it to the board. I am very pleased with the progress I’ve so far made in INIE and the fact that the work I’m doing might actually impact INIE in a lasting way has certainly opened my eyes to the capacity for change.
While the work I’m doing at INIE may not be essential to operation, I was shown the value of each team member when my ideas were listened to. This sort of collaboration and open-mindedness is something I hope to take with me for the rest of my career.
So today I went to Proof Brewing Company (& you thought you couldn’t go to a bar while on the job), to pick up some spent grain for Lucy & Doodle’s Beer Bones. I’ve been to Proof before, but on the other side of the bar, if you know what I mean. But today I got to go in the production area and see the dozens of pounds of spent grain they have left over from each time they brew and take a bucket back to the office to use for our Beer Bones (yes I’m emphasizing that because it’s cool & if you don’t think it’s cool you aren’t cool). So for those of you guys who don’t know:
1. That’s really freaking cool so you should be impressed.
2. Spent grain is a byproduct of the brewing process.
Proof Brewing Company production room.
Spent grain from Proof Brewing Company’s Ghost Totem Porter brew.
So these dozens of pounds of spent grain get thrown away if no one claims them, that’s why Proof was so willing to partner with Lucy & Doodle to include spent grain in our beer ones. So you’re probably thinking “But beer is poisonous to dogs… right?” Yes, you’re right. Please don’t try to give your dog a bowl of beer. But the spent grain, is the byproduct of the beer and doesn’t include any hops (which is the poisonous part), so it is perfectly healthy for pup consumption. Another cool part is that were packaging our beer bones in, get this: beer bottles. So these things are gonna fly off the shelves right? I hope so, because more sold = more money to spay and neuter pets = one step closer to ending pet overpopulation.
But I’ve been doing other things besides just going to bars and playing with dogs. My market research projects for both Lucy & Doodle and Be the Solution are in full swing! We plan to deploy our online surveys for Lucy & Doodle sometime next week and to start handing out our paper surveys for Be the Solution this weekend. Unfortunately, we are a little behind on the Be the Solution research, I originally hoped to have time to create the surveys, deploy them, implement a social media marketing campaign in response to the results, and track the impact it had. However, we ran into some problems with IRB approval, and that set us back some time and I no longer think I will have enough time to analyze the impact the social media marketing campaign will have on Be the Solution.
All in all, I feel like Be the Solution and Lucy & Doodle are doing great things and not only am I happy to be a part of it, I’m having fun.
Being an intern should be an easy task. However, being an intern that goes above and beyond while still finding time to understand the core of what they’re working on, how that environment is built and why things move the way they do is anything but easy. This is the type of intern I hope to be at the Institute for Nonprofit Innovation and Excellence. Understanding why is not always the most important aspect when dealing in a corporate setting, but is integral to the nature of my task as a student. Because of this, I hope to act and learn in a way that not only help’s INIE with it’s needs but also service my own missions. These missions are:
- Get a better understanding of how nonprofits receive funding and what exactly a business model for a nonprofit looks like.
- Network with businesses that are either members of INIE or go to INIE events.
- Learn basic workplace skills and habits that might not be mentioned in school.
- Complete my assignments with high quality and in a timely manner.
So far at INIE, I have been assigned some very interesting tasks. Aside from setting up for events, I have been handed two larger projects to work on. One of them has been the Big Bend Giving Tuesday website. Assigned as website manager, I updated and added a few plugins to the website. This was something that I understood how to do well and had previous experience with doing so it came quite easy. The other task assigned to me is to develop a membership campaign. This meant that I had to research customer retention practices along with new ways to acquire customers and get back former customers along with a timeline of implemenation. I haven’t had much experience with customer service so this was definitely something I had to put a lot of research into. Over a few work days I developed a plan that drew a lot from my online research. Both supervisors were very pleased with my work plan and asked me to create a one-page action plan that they could give to the board.
Currently, work at INIE so far has been a little slow, as Alexa, the Membership and Events Manager and my supervisor, has been on vacation. However, as it is still early on, I am hoping that when she comes back there will be more to do. Because I mentioned my interest in consulting, Alexa said when she has client meetings (that overlap with my schedule) I could come along and even participate in discussion. I feel like when I go on these meetings I will have a much better understanding what a consulting firm like INIE is tasked with doing and the types of ways they go about exciting their assignment. I count on this exposure to help me understand if consultancy is still a career path I wish to go down. I am so far enjoying what I have done at INIE and am excited to see what the rest of the semester has to offer.