OUTREACH ASSOCIATION 12
Thisreport of my internship is divided into five sections. The firstsection provides an introduction to the DamascusOutreach Association thatgave me the opportunity to do my internship. The second section looksat the practices, duties, and tasks of my internship that I wasassigned to do at Damascus. The third section provides an evaluationand reflection of the experiences and knowledge that I gained atDamascus in the course of my internship. The fourth section providesrecommendations to future interns. Finally, the fifth sectionconcludes my internship experiences at Damascus.
Myinternship at in Gates County, NorthCarolina where I worked five days a week for an average of thirty toforty hours a week, took place between June and July 2016.Established in 2008, is a 501c3non-profit organization that has served over one hundred children andfamilies through intensive academic tutoring enrichment, andmentoring activities (Damascus Outreach, 2016). It is considered theonly free program available at Gates County that creates anenvironment where children from low-income families who arevulnerable to develop risky behaviors can engage in activities thathelp them develop into productive citizens and look at themselves asconstructive members of the community. In order to serve childrenbetter in the community, the organization continuously seeks forsupplies as well as cash donations from business and privatedonations. The type of supplies that needs include prepackaged products, such as snacks and drinks andpaper products, such as toilet papers, cups, and paper towels.
Therewere two reasons for interning atDamascus. The first reason wasmy deep desire to work for a non-profit organization. The secondreason was to fulfill my passion to work as a marketing manager for anon-profit organization. The following section will provide adescription of the objectives, type of work, skills, and knowledgegained during my internship atDamascus.
Objectives of the internship
Myinterest in marketing as a study field goes back to my days in highschool when I was interested in studying business studies.Specifically, my interest was focused on how non-profit organizationsmarket themselves to gain donations to finance their programs in thecommunity. The search for the right non-profit organization for thisinternship experience consisted of a tedious process of writing acover letter, curriculum vitae, and sending the applications. I waslooking for a non-profit organization that was devoted to my area ofinterest. Therefore, getting an internship opportunity at DamascusOutreach Association was a great fit. The internship at Damascuscorresponds to my own interest of marketing to a non-profitorganization.
Itis essential to mention that Damascus in Gates County is a rathersmall non-profit organization. As a result of the following reasons,I had a chance to work with numerous tasks, and therefore, I was ableto get accustomed with the functioning of Damascus. Certainly, theinternship was a valuable experience which assisted me to gain asubstantial professional knowledge concerning the way Damascuscarried out its marketing tasks to raise money to fund itseducational activities.
Atthe beginning of my internship at Damascus, I came up with learningobjectives, which I wanted to achieve. The first objective was togain knowledge on the responsibility of my job as a marketingmanager. The second objective was to experience the real jobenvironment as a marketing manager. The third objective was to applymy knowledge and skills of marketing to Damascus that I gained fromthe marketing lecture. The fourth objective was to assess whatknowledge and skills I had from the marketing lecture that I stillneeded to improve in order to become a better marketing manager.
Type of work of the internship
Ibegan my internship in June 2016 at the Damascus OutreachAssociation. I worked for an average of thirty to forty hours a weekfor five days. In the course of my internship, I undertook a varietyof tasks. One task was to introduce Damascus to local business ownersthat had no idea about the association. This involved formattingletters based on information that I was given about Damascus by theprogram director and sending the letters to certain businesses basedon phone calls that I made to the particular owners. For example, Iformatted letters to Mr. Darin Martin from William E. Wood, Mrs.Cynthia from Wendy’s, Mrs. Locke among other business ownersrequesting them to consider offering support to Damascus.
Igot positive feedback from business owners. For instance, one of theorganizations that allowed us to host a fundraiser program was Sonic.In the fundraising program, I devoted myself to selling 100 Soniccards which made a profit of $500.00 for Damascus. In addition tointroducing Damascus to local business owners that had no idea aboutDamascus, another task was to work with other staff members andparents at Damascus to raise funds. This involved delegating tasks toa select group of parents to sell Sonic cards for the purpose ofraising funds to promote awareness on the importance of educatingchildren living in families with low income in the community.
Apartfrom the task of working with other staff members and parents atDamascus to raise funds, another task was developing a marketing planfor Damascus so that it could gain long-term investors for thepurpose of increasing donations to ensure that the programs ofeducating children living in families with low income continue to getsupport.
Withthe adequate experience I got from working at Damascus, I came tounderstand that working as a marketing manager at the organizationwas not easy because of the amount of work that was given and theexpectation to become successful despite setbacks. In my opinion, Iwould say that the experience I gained from using strategiesincluding advertisement to push to donors and parents that wouldpromote awareness of the importance of educating children living infamilies with low income gave me knowledge of how to market productsin my own business. Overall, the internship gave me a positivelearning experience that helped me to understand the work environmentand improve my working skills. I had ample opportunities to developmy business skills, especially raising capital for Damascus andadvertising to attract potential donors and parents.
Overthe more than ten weeks, I managed to identify some of my skills thatrequire to be developed further. First, I believe thatwhile I exhibited skills of marketing strategies that could attractdonors and parents to Damascus, my expertise couldbenefit from an in-depth analysis. This implies analyzing marketingstrategies before applying them. Second, I need to develop myawareness of the social influences in the community, especially inthe context of getting the people in the community to do what I want.The internship at Damascus allowed me to learn more about socialinfluences that made parents in families with low income allow theirchildren to come to Damascus to get free education.
Knowledge and skills gained during internship
Theinternship at Damascus provided me with sufficient opportunity todevelop existing skills and learn new ones, especially marketingskills for promoting ideas to parents and donors in the community inorder to promote awareness on the importance of educating childrenliving in families with low income in the community. The marketingskill that was particularly useful for my internship was the skill ofpromoting awareness by convincing donors to support Damascuseducational programs and parents allow their children to come toDamascus. This marketing skill helped Damascus reach potential donorsthat did not know about the organization. In addition, this skillhelped Damascus reach children in low income families.
Apartfrom gaining marketing skills, I learned important skills thatmarketers take for granted, such as report writing, speechwriting,letter writing, and business plan writing. Before I came to intern atDamascus, I was not aware that reports needed to have proper grammarbefore giving them to management. I used to write business reports atschool with poor grammar without any consideration of who was goingto read the report. It was when I started writing reports tomanagement to promote Damascus to potential donors to offer supportand to parents to bring their children to be tutored and mentoredthat I realized that reports needed to have proper grammar. Theprogram director raised this issue of writing reports without propergrammar, citing it to be one of the reasons marketers do not getreply from potential donors willing to support Damascus.
Otheroutcomes of the internship were learning the organizational culture,especially between employees and employer and learning planning,organization, and leadership. When I was learning the organizationalculture, I realized that it was important to treat all employees atDamascus with respect despite their position. For instance, Irealized that even the employee who worked as a cleaner at Damascuswas instrumental in my growth because the employee helped meunderstand how to interact with fellow employees. An important partof my internship at Damascus was learning how to write a businessplan for a non-profit organization. I learned that it was importantto include mission, vision, and values statement as well asobjectives of the organization in a business plan.
Ilearned that themission statement explains the reasons for the existence of acompany. It describes the company, its overall intention, and what itdoes. I also learned that the mission statement supports thecompany’s vision and functions as a means to communicate thepurpose and direction to customers, employees, and vendors. Tocommunicate the purpose and direction of Damascustodonors and employees I used promotional strategies, such as face toface meetings. Apart from a mission statement, I also learned about avision statement. I learned that the vision statement describes howan organization would appear in the future in the case it succeeds. Ilearned that an effective vision statement usually inspires andchallenges employees to achieve the mission of an organization. Forinstance, I worked with staff members to promote Damascus educationalprograms so as to realize the vision to offerchildren in families with low income a chance to get a freeeducation.
Furthermore,I learned about value statement. I learned that a values statementdescribes the principles and belief of the organization and how itshould behave. I learned that an effective values statement creates acompass of morality that establishes a benchmark where actions ofemployees of an organization can be assessed against. For example,while working at Damascus, we were all guided by community values,such as togetherness, generosity, kindness, and humility. While thesevalues may seem unimportant, they helped me understand how to marketDamascus to donors and families. For instance, the letters that Iwrote to potential donors that requested rather than commandedsupport got a higher chance of response. Lastly,I learned that an organization needs to have an objective that itwants to accomplish in a specified period of time. For instance, oneobjective in the business plan that I wrote was to promote Damascusto donors in order to get adequate funding to offer children infamilies with low income a chance to get free education. Anotherobjective was to promote Damascus to as many families as possible,especially the ones with low income in order to encourage parents toallow their children to come to Damascus to get education for free.
Asa result, my general skills have improved significantly. I havelearned how to plan and organize events, and most importantly,provide leadership to staff members, especially in fundraisingevents. Another vital skill that I developed was the capability tothink in a strategic manner about business. For example, I realizedthat when I sold more Sonic cards, I got a discount of $5. Therefore,when I made sales of 100 Sonic cards, the result was $500. I mustadmit that overall, the internship at Damascus enabled me to see myweaknesses and strengths, develop practical skills, evaluate myinterest, and create business contact with other business owners.
Theinternship at Damascus that I experienced was definitely valuable tome. The major challenge as an intern was to apply skills from mymarketing lectures into Damascus. I was able to use my skills that Ilearned from my marketing lecture like planning for small events. Ialso improved my knowledge of market research. For instance, ratherthan just promote Damascus by word of mouth I made use of marketingstrategies of promotion, such as advertising in order to attractpotential donors to support Damascus programs and parents from lowincome families to allow their children to attend Damascus programsto be tutored without paying any money. At Damascus, I was given theopportunity to take part in numerous events, such as fundraising. Imet potential donors from different companies who I ended updiscussing with them the possibility of offering donations.
Ialso met with parents from low income families who were willing tobring their children to Damascus education programs because they wereunable to take their children to school for lack of school fees. Thedonors and parents that I met taught me that each one of them hadsomething different that I could learn from. The donors made me learnthe importance of taking them around Damascus in order to show themwhat the non-profit organization does to children in the community,especially those from families with low income. The parents made melearn the importance of creating awareness of what their childrenwere going to study. For more than 10 weeks, I dealt with staffmembers and I had a chance to work with them closely by assisting inthe daily activities of marketing to donors so that they could offersupport to Damascus education programs.
Inthe duration of my internship, I enriched my skills, such as writingreports with proper grammar to other businesses and writing businessplans that focus on the vision, objective, and mission of Damascus.For instance, I realized that a non-profit organization that does nothave established objectives may not be able to fulfill its missionand vision. On an individual level, I was able to work with theaccounts manager when I was writing the business plan. I learned thata marketer cannot allocate funds to activities without a businessplan. For instance, in the business plan, I worked with the accountsmanager on how to plan activities with limited funds. Even though Idid not get all the funds I wanted for marketing Damascus educationalprograms, I learned that planning with limited funds is not as easyas I thought before beginning the internship program.
Therecommendation that I will give to interns in the future, especiallythose who want to do their internship at Damascus is to have verygood knowledge of marketing. The reason for this is that marketinginvolves planning and organizing of fundraising events as well asproviding leadership to staff members. Therefore, interns will needto have the ability to produce quality reports, to possess theability to analyze, to understand and deal with issues and queriesconcerning Damascus, and to be able to express themselves accuratelyboth in writing and orally. Working at Damascus implies stepping intoa dynamic and competitive job market: marketing. An internship atDamascus will be suitable for those who study marketing as it is anopportunity to improve experience through practical work that iscarried out in the field.
Iwill also recommend that students who intend to intern at Damascusshould contribute by giving new ideas and proposals, which are alwaysappreciated by other staff members. I will highly recommend a studentto intern at Damascus in Gates County, North Carolina because theopportunity for professional and personal growth is remarkable. Iwant to express my gratitude to the program director for providing mewith professional guidance in the course of my internship. I give aspecial appreciation to the staff members of Damascus for theunwavering support they gave me in addition to making my internshipexperience, both business and socially, an unforgettable one.
Ingeneral, I am satisfied with the knowledge and experience I gained inthe course of my internship at Damascus in Gates County, NorthCarolina I learned a lot about the strategies of marketing and alsolearned about having realistic expectations, especially when dealingwith people in the community. While there were challenges in usingmarketing strategies, such as promotion through email to createawareness of the importance of educating children living in familieswith low income in the community, I can say that Damascus is the bestnon-profit organization for interns who want to gain practicalmarketing skills of fundraising. Therefore, I recommend that internsdo their internship at Damascus.
Theinternship at Damascushelped me learn important skills and knowledge that I could use torun a non-profit organization in the future. Ilearned a lot about the strategies of marketing and also learnedabout having realistic expectations, especially when dealing withpeople in the community. I learned that it was important to includemission, vision, and objectives of the organization in a businessplan so as to come up with strategies that could ensure that thecompany is operating as intended. I also learned how to plan andorganize events for a business, and most importantly, provideleadership to staff members, especially in fundraising events. SinceI was satisfied with the knowledge and experience I gained in thecourse of my internship, I would recommend Damascusto other interns.
DamascusOutreach (2016). DamascusOutreach Association, Inc. Retrieved 25 July 2016, from http://www.damascusoutreach.org/