Tag Archives: nonprofit

Internships mean business

by Jacob Kirn

Internships are big business. Check out these search engines, blogs, and informational sites, all helping to guide college students into their next resume-building opportunity.

These resources made me realize just how many students are out there and how important work experience is…at least if you want to find a job after graduation!

I was initially hesitant when my career services counselor  at University of Missouri suggested that I apply for an internship at Parents as Teachers.

Kids? Nonprofit work? What does it have to do with journalism?

But I’ve found a great experience full of meaningful writing opportunities. I wrote press releases, working closely with state leaders and governments in over a dozen states. I wrote blogs in this space and learned the importance of hyperlinks. I wrote feature stories, including a tale of activism that showed me how passionate people are about this organization. I wrote and wrote for six weeks here in my own cubicle.

I’ve gained a lot of respect for nonprofit work this summer, especially because you all are almost as stressed out as a newsroom, which is definitely saying something! Keep on keepin’ on.

Jacob Kirn is a journalism major at University of Missouri-Columbia. He interned in the communications department at Parents as Teachers for six weeks this summer.

Why cut what works?

Fed up with budget cuts to essential services provided by social programs, Pennsylvanians are asking a simple question: Why cut what works

Nonprofits undergird society at its most basic level: health care, literacy, homelessness, parenting, education. Not only do most nonprofits operate on a shoestring, they are dependent on exceptionally fickle and unpredictable funding streams…private donations, grants and foundation support. 

Just like their corporate counterparts, reputable nonprofits like Parents as Teachers are accountable for results. Which brings us back to Pennsylvania’s “Why Cut What Works?” campaign.

Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way president and chief executive officer Keri Albright said that removing funding for early education and shifting into upper-grades of school is pointless because once children fall behind it is more difficult for them to catch up. Only 18 kids of 100 who start 9th grade will obtain an associates degree within three years after high school, or obtain a bachelor’s degree within six years of high school, she said. 

“It can be effectively argued that to take millions from early childhood programs and put it into high education is an investment on the wrong end,” she said. “If we remain committed to our investments in early education, the research has been done and the results are assured – more kids have a greater chance of earning those advanced degrees which increases income and broadens our tax base.  It’s a simple economic argument to make and all the research supports it.”  

More than 10,000 Pennsylvania children—and almost 350,000 children nationwide—received Parents as Teachers services last year, meaning thousands of children were healthy, safe and more ready for school. Why cut what works?

What’s in your tool belt?

One of the pleasures of social media is getting to know new people you would not otherwise connect with. But it’s particularly nice to meet them in person. So when Hildy Gottlieb of Creating the Future came to St. Louis in November to speak to the Parents as Teachers family, we finally met face-to-face.

Wow! I was so impressed by her deep understanding of the nonprofit world and struck by her insight: the reason dramatic social change fails to happen is because people working in this sector don’t know the basics of how to do that work effectively. When they do have those tools, the change happens almost effortlessly.

Suzanne Tucker and Ria Sharon  (aka ZenMommy and PracticalMommy at MyMommyManual) are two more social media connections who’ve become “real” to me since meeting face-to-face.

They’re offering nonprofits like Parents as Teachers programs tools to work more effectively via social media. “For nonprofits and business owners, the power of Facebook offers an opportunity to change the world…to find and engage supporters and customers, conduct ‘friendraising’ campaigns, and spread awareness.”

Do you have the right tools to effect the social change you want?
If not, what will you do differently this year?

Are we a charity or a nonprofit?

Choose your words carefully when it comes to describing yourself. According to Allan Benamer’s blog post in Nonprofit Tech Blog, it could make the difference in how donors perceive you.

Benamer used Google trends to compare the number of online searches for “charities” vs. “nonprofits”. What he found was that after natural disasters like tsunamis or hurricanes, people look for “charities” to support. On the other hand, news coverage trended toward nonprofits rather than charities.

Several years ago, Worth magazine recognized Parents as Teachers as one of the top 10 children’s charities deserving support. Interestingly, many parent educators found the classification unsettling.

Nonprofit or charity? Choose your word wisely.