I had been involved in Girl Scouts since third grade, earning different badges, selling Thin Mint cookies, camping and traveling, and participating in service projects. I had even earned my Girl Scouts Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn. Girl Scouts has always provided me with valuable experiences which built my courage, confidence, and character. Before this summer, I never really thought about the force behind the organization or what made all my experiences possible.
This summer, I worked as a Fund Development and Communications intern at Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey, which serves more than 31,000 girls and 16,000 adult volunteers throughout five counties in New Jersey. GSNNJ’s many departments – from Fund Development to Communications, from Volunteer Services to Finance – are the gears that together operate the Girl Scout machine. Throughout my internship, as I learned about corporate partnerships, departmental responsibilities, company branding, and more, I gained a better understanding of nonprofit organizations.
Working in the Fund Development department, I learned about the various methods of soliciting contributed funds for the benefit of Girl Scouting. I worked on a variety of tasks, and every day was different. A large portion of my job involved researching. I did due diligence on possible grants, potential donors, and corporate prospects. I also conducted research for fundraising events and alumnae networking activities. Additionally, I helped produce marketing materials for different campaigns. Through the Fund Development department, I learned about the importance of building relationships with individuals, foundations and corporations. I even enhanced my personal network by working directly with the Chief Development Officer, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, and Director of Special Events & Alumnae Relations at GSNNJ.
In the Communications department, I developed my writing skills and analytical skills. I helped write press releases, volunteer profiles, and internal newsletters. One of the most difficult aspects of my job was learning to write in the correct tone. Sometimes, I had to convey a more serious and formal tone; at other times, the message needed to be more fun, inviting, and casual. Most importantly, the writing needed to reflect Girl Scout’s brand. Working at a respectable organization, I had to ensure that my writing also created a positive opinion of Girl Scouts. Additionally, I analyzed GSNNJ’s press coverage, internet marketing, email campaigns, and social media presence. Throughout my internship, I learned more about Girl Scout’s internal and external communications.
My summer internship gave me insight into nonprofit organizations, in general, and Girl Scouts, in specific. I learned that behind every Girl Scout, there is a powerful managerial team. Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey has dedicated employees and volunteers who work diligently to provide meaningful and exciting experiences to inspire and encourage every girl. Through my internship at Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey, I was able to give back to an organization that has had a positive impact on my life.
Sandie Xu is a rising sophomore majoring in Economics. She is part of the Summer Internship Grant Program.