Interning for a non-profit - With Charlotte Lane

Hi everyone, I'm Charlotte and I've just finished my final year at PBS and getting ready for the big wide world of work! To help this transition and gain experience I have been interning as a Social Media and Communications Assistant with Heal Charity for almost a year.

But how did I fall into the role? During the pandemic, internships seemed few and far between and I was struggling to find a virtual placement. But, the platform Studenteer was recommended to me by a family friend. Studenteer matches students seeking work experience with a knowledgeable industry professional mentor, volunteering with the platform. The application process is relatively straightforward requiring just a simple form, allowing applicants to choose from Branding & Marketing, Business & Finance, IT & Technology, Creative & Design, Legal and finally, Admin roles. What is the difference between interning for a not-for-profit and a regular profit-driven company?

In all honesty, there is little difference, apart from the fact that you work with a wider breadth of people. In my role, I'm currently working with a range of generous volunteers from all across the globe, located in the US, Australia, India and Europe; that all contribute valuable skills, from either their current professional roles that run alongside their volunteering, or that they have gathered across their career and are now volunteering in retirement. This means that there is a larger variety of knowledge to learn from and more value to gain from the experience. However, the key difference I have found, in specific relation to the brand & marketing field, is the lower proportion of paid social advertising, due to the charity’s values. But overall, I have experienced so much over my time so far with Heal; including SEO, running sponsorship and fundraising event campaigns with email and social marketing, as well as data reporting; using supporting software such as Google AdWords, Mailchimp and Hootsuite, which are all used in regular, profit-driven companies. And since this organic promotion is arguably harder than paid promotions, without all of the money to drive success, I have gained resilience, a further understanding of what works/ what doesn't and the importance of understanding your target audience.