As I briefly mentioned in my last blog post, I think I have actually found my passion. It took until my senior year of college to really realize that some form of event coordination. I had a blast working with several different organizations and individuals while doing a number of events with INIE.
I was working at Jimmy Johns throughout my college career, and whereas its been a great job the few months at INIE have been so much more impactful. The work I have done in the microsoft office applications has been an immersive and necessary experience for me to go through. Coming into this internship I was not even expecting to be doing any form of web design, but I did. I actually completely re-designed the INIE Job Board in the company website, that in itself took me a whole eight hour work day. The web design aspect excited me greatly due to how surprised I was to get that experience.
All of the tasks at INIE have been enjoyable, I wish I could afford to keep volunteering with INIE because it was a great environment and I actually was getting good work done. We could actually see the impact of the work we were doing which is very rewarding work in itself. I owe a lot to INIE and FSU for being able to have this experience, I loved every last bit of it and without this experience I’m not entirely sure I would have a real passion going into the real world from my college experience. I recommend anyone that was in my shoes find there way into an internship as it has been beyond beneficial.
I have to say my favorite aspect of my internship through INIE has been the event side, I truly think I have found my passion in helping with event coordination and really helping organize these events. Throughout my time at INIE the one theme that I kept hearing people talk about how happy they were that INIE has been so successful. There was a need for an resource center for the abundance of nonprofits in the Leon County and surrounding area. Not only does INIE meet the needs of their member but they go above and beyond.
I have been with INIE for a couple of months, countless events have been hosted at INIE during my time with the organization. During these events I would handout workshop evaluation forms for attendees to fill out for feedback following the event that INIE can take into account. Every time I had to log the evaluations on Excel and upload them to Dropbox, people were blown a way by how great the content was time and time again.
A whole other side to these events is that INIE also typically provides a meal and beverages. I myself was put in charge of catering on multiple occasions and had correspondence with Publix, Panera, and RedEye. Luckily these organizations often helped up with prices due to INIE being a nonprofit hosting events for other nonprofits. In fact in my time we secured a partnership with RedEye and Panera moving forward with commitments almost monthly for certain events respectively.
INIE has been a pleasure to work at, it is incredible to me how much trust both Executive Director Jessica Lowe-Minor and Membership and Events Coordinator Alexa Cardone have instilled in the interns. With the trust we have been instilled with growth has followed, I feel I have learned how to better my work through the autonomy. On Thursday, June 15th we helped run the Tallahassee Brand-a-thon which allowed for three local nonprofits to receive professional rebranding help from 8 am to 6 pm. The energy was incredible, from beginning to finish the event was a complete success. The looks on the faces of the nonprofit members when showed the final product was priceless.
One of my favorite aspects of the internship are the events, I have been working closely with Rick Paul, who is the project manager for the new TCC Spark! series promoting local organizations. There have been multiple events so far and another is coming on July 18th that will be focusing on ways that for-profit organizations can improve their bottom line via strategic partnerships with nonprofits. For this event we are currently trying work on getting an experienced panel together that can provide further insight to the benefits of for-profit and nonprofit organizations working together. I am not going to name the organizations, but we already have a commitment from a nonprofit and their for-profit sponsor to speak to how this partnership has benefited them both.
Moving into the final few weeks of this internship there is only one thought that comes to my mind: “what more can I take away from this experience?”. So far I feel like I have done a plethora of tasks, I could not have asked for a better fit. I have learned to not only do the monotonous office work but I also have been working hands on with members, helping organize events, and I myself have been able to network within the community as well. I am beyond excited for the homestretch of this internship and I am ready to make it the most effective stretch yet.
My first day at the Institute for Nonprofit Innovation and Excellence was an interesting one as I was thrown into the fire a little bit. I was helping work a conference at Tallahassee Community College, the UPHS conference to be more specific. It was an amazing experience right off the bat as I met numerous fixtures in the Tallahassee area.
Since that first day I have been super optimistic about where this internship is going to take me experience wise. INIE is an unique nonprofit as they are a resource center for other nonprofits in the area to take advantage of. INIE is a membership organization so depending on how much an organization who wants to become a member has in their operating budget they will pay dues in accordance to that budget. INIE has roughly 150 paying members, there are over 2,000 registered nonprofits in Tallahassee so there is plenty of room for growth in numbers.
INIE is so worth the membership dues, in fact INIE is just about a no-brainer when any given organization contemplates joining. There is a plethora of benefits, from pro bono legal support to discounted printing there are a ton of benefits that make members their money back very quick. I am extremely excited to be working with INIE, the connections that this incredible nonprofit is giving me, and purely the great experience that I will never forget as well.