November 29th, 2017

I remember the time I first received an email about a new, great internship opportunity within Longwood University’s Office of Institutional Advancement. At first, I was skeptical because this was the first time I had ever been intrigued by an internship opportunity. I was very discouraged this previous summer because I could not seem to secure an internship that met the requirements for my major, nor could I find one that I seemed remotely interested in. I applied as soon as I received the application. Within a few days I had already interviewed with, my current, supervisor Penny Pairet. We interviewed at California Pizza Kitchen and immediately hit it off. She has been a very helpful mentor throughout this internship opportunity, along with the remainder of the Institutional Advancement and Development faculty and staff. They recognize that you are participating in an internship and that you are there to learn and grow as a young professional.

While I was nervous about the  workload of the internship and its overall effect on my senior year, along with the remainder of my academic career, I was surprised to find that COMM 492 would be my favorite class out of all of the classes I had taken at Longwood University. Within a week’s duration, I had already created two pieces of Longwood approved Branding. They included new Alumni Birthday cards and a special Holiday Donor newsletter to accompany a special thank you receipt from the Development office.

This has given me the experience of working in a particular, donor relations centered field. I have a newfound respect for those who work in the field of giving and philanthropy. It is more than asking for donations. Philanthropy is a way of life and supports priceless opportunities for students. There is a lot of valuable work that goes into University giving.This has caused me to reflect on what I want out of a career one day. I will look for a career centered around persuasive client relations, not necessarily donor relations or selling, but something centered around creating original digital content for clients or companies. I am still very interested in social media marketing and marketing campaigns and would love to bring news ideas to the product marketing world.

While I did not gain full knowledge of how to successfully plan and execute an event, as I originally wrote about in my first journal post, I did gain the understanding of the philanthropy and donor relations side of Longwood University and Universities in general; as I had the pleasure of contacting Donor Directors from institutions such as the University of Mary Washington,University of Virginia and a multitude of smaller colleges in order to collect research on new program implementations and structure of existing councils. For instance, I created a National Philanthropy Day write up, after contacting institutions with similar values as Longwood. I presented my supervisor with the idea of creating a Student Philanthropy Council at Longwood. After contacting the Donor Director of The University of Rhode Island, it was clear that the philanthropy should come from both the Institution and the students. This would also be a great new way for students to get involved on campus in a way to give back. This would also be a fantastic way to showcase student giving to donors and alumni. I am happy to say that, as of today, she has informed me that she will be implementing a Student Philanthropy Council at Longwood, come next Spring. It has shown me the steps and research methods necessary to coordinating and eventually creating an event, while allowing me to enhance my creative content skills by graphics, and professional documentation for alumni, parents, donors, and events.

While being here, I unfortunately lost my Granddaddy. This was a very traumatic event, especially during the midst of both my senior year and internship. It was a very difficult time for me but I have managed to makeup all of my hours and maintain good grades. The project I struggled with the most would have to be the creation of the Thanksgiving Thank View. This video took a lot of careful planning and a lot of persuasive communication. I decided to be the spokesperson in the video and it worked out to my advantage. I was able to display my public relations speaking skills along with developing a comfortable speaking pattern when asking for random student participation for the video. This was a challenge and I was afraid of rejection, but rejection is never something to be feared. This internship opportunity, along with a multitude of Communication Studies classes, has taught me that.

Throughout this internship, I have been brilliantly mentored. I adored the office faculty and staff and found guidance and assistance when needed. I highly suggest this internship within the Office of Institutional Advancement to any Communication Studies, Business Marketing, Graphic Design, English, and Rhetoric Majors, remotely interested in client relations should inquire about this beneficial experience. Thanks to this internship, I was able to produce material for the Office of Development and Institutional Advancement that will be used by Longwood University for semesters to come, such as the Alumni and Donor birthday cards, the Giving Society birthday cards for the 1893 Society, the Rotunda Society and the Citizen Leader Society as well as the Upcoming Events Calendar one sided brochure for both donors and/or alumni. This has forever connected me to Longwood University and I will always be grateful for that.

Have a Happy Holidays!!

New Birthday Card

Citizen Leader Society Birthday Card Final

Rotunda Society Birthday Card Final

1893 Society Birthday Card Final

Holiday Donor Letter Final

National Philanthropy Day at Longwood University

Events Calendar Nov-Dec 2017


Journal #5

November 22nd, 2017

While I have witnessed multiple communication theories throughout the duration of my internship, two were heavily prevalent during this experience as a whole. The first communication theory that I observed was the expectancy violation theory. This theory analyzes how individuals respond to expectation violations and sudden, unexpected changes in social normalities. I noticed this theory early on during my internship. It occurred most when making donor thank you phone calls. Even though I have made important, professional phone calls during past jobs, this is the first time I have contacted dignitaries and extremely generous donors and thanked them for their participation in making Longwood University a better place. Sometimes, I found myself expecting the phone calls to be mutually energetic and positive. However, occasionally, there were times where my expectation did not match the reality of the situation. While I remained positive on the phone, some individuals are not always as kind on the phone as you expect them to be. I considered these misunderstandings though, because the message along with tone can be easily misinterpreted over the phone. This realization made making phone calls a lot less nerve racking. The second communication theory that I observed was the social identity theory. When making donor thank you phone calls, I always identify myself by my full name, my office title and the office that I am associated with, being the Office of Institutional Advancement. This, in a sense, has brought me closer to Longwood and has allowed me to identify with a new group of individuals. This is my first, on campus, social tie to the University. While working on a Thanksgiving themed Thank View video, I gathered very brief video segments from random students around campus. I greeted each student or group of students in a friendly manner by telling them the office I was associated with and what my goal for them was. I felt proud to represent the Office of Institutional Advancement in such a unique way. My social identity has shifted from student to intern and I am thankful for the opportunities it has brought my way.  


Journal #4

November 1st, 2017

The course COMM 375, formally known as Public Relations Research, has helped me greatly throughout the entirety of my internship. It has specifically taught me how to properly go about gathering information before working on a project. For example, before working on and completing the giving gociety member birthday cards, I contacted the Director of Donors from both the University of Virginia and the University of Mary Washington, via email, and asked them for advice on design and format. Both Directors responded within the week with great advice and a copy of their current birthday card intended for giving society members. While I have applied my new methods of research to my internship in order to complete projects and various assignments, another communication studies course that has assisted me tremendously is COMM 460, known as Communication Research Methods. While I have acquired knowledge of similar methods of research through both research intensive courses, within my Communications Research Methods class, I have specifically learned how to follow through with the completion of my projects in a fully edited and timely manner. While these courses taught me about different research methods and how to following through with deadlines, one other class has allowed me to make a great impression on my supervisor. The course COMM 410, Digital and Social Media Technology, taught me how to market to my audience and consumer needs when creating original content. I have recently created the Events Calendar for the monthly donor newsletter. I first decided on which events to include within the newsletter. I then created a Longwood, brand approved, layout with various Longwood, company and event logos. I finalized the newsletter by including the time and location of the event, contact information and  where to purchase specific tickets for attendance. After the completion of the Events Calendar, my superiors were so impressed with my work that I was assigned to create the webpage layout for the new Day of Giving Campaign that will be located on Longwood University’s main website soon. I am very excited to complete my current projects and I am looking forward to seeing what the remainder of my internship holds in store for me.

Journal #3

October 11th, 2017

Since my last journal entry, I have been tasked with many interesting projects. I have been actively editing the Day of Giving (DOG) informational document by including Longwood approved font colors and graphics for staff and university use. I really enjoy working on this project with Longwood alum Katherine Bulifant, the Director of Annual Giving, because she has allowed me to be present when contacting the graphic designer, has trusted me to freely choose colors for the document font, according to the Longwood Branding Guide, and has allowed me to try my hand at creating Day of Giving graphics for specific educational departments. I have also, recently, been tasked with a project in which my supervisor assigned to me. She wants me to create birthday cards for Longwood University’s three giving societies which include the Rotunda Society, the 1839 Society and the Citizen Leader Society. Since being tasked with this assignment, I have contacted Donor Relations Directors from both the University of Mary Washington and the University of Virginia to see what they do for their giving society members on their birthdays. I was very impressed with the information I received from them. The Director of Donor Relations from the University of Virginia emailed me back almost immediately with kind regards and attachments of their most current birthday card and electronic greeting document that they send to giving society members. I am continuing to work on this project throughout the semester, but have already created two rough drafts for the Rotunda Society and the Citizen Leader Society. While my internship continues to be the highlight of my Fall semester, I have had a couple of dilemmas. Sadly, I have faced a few new challenges since working my internship. I fell ill not once but twice this semester, which caused me to miss a few days. Also, this past Monday afternoon, I experienced my first, immediate, family death. My Granddaddy’s dementia sped up more rapidly than my family had anticipated. This will naturally, also effect my hours this coming Friday. Throughout all of this, my supervisor has been very understanding and is confident that I will make up or even still exceed my intended hours. These experiences have taught me that even if life hits me all at once, I am still capable of working through the pain of sickness and losing a close family member with a smile on my face and a dedicated work ethic.

Journal #2

September 20th, 2017

Since the start of my internship, I have learned that things are not always as they appear. Before I started working within the Office of Institutional Advancement, I knew little about donor relations. Now, after being here for a month, I have obtained a firm grasp of what donor relations is and how it is practiced. I have completed several projects for donor relations staff including the editing of the Day of Giving Information Packet, the editing of the Longwood Magazine Donor Relation Project, the editing of the Longwood Virginia Beach Donor Luncheon PowerPoint and I selected the photos for the alumni reunions invitation for the classes of 1968, 1969 and 1970. I have also learned to take initiative. As a young adult, and senior in college, it is up to me and me alone to get the help I need once I obtain a career. I take this internship very seriously and I intend to soak up every bit of knowledge and life experience I can. Even though my internship is going even better than I had hoped, I have experienced a few challenges since the start of my internship. However, I have corrected my mistakes by making minor adjustments to my work ethic, such as utilizing Longwood’s printing services when I have a large number of documents to print (or cut) that require a high scale printer (or cutter), and familiarizing myself with the entire office staff in order to better direct my inquiries.

I must honestly say that I have thoroughly enjoyed my internship within the Office of Institutional Advancement so far. It has already equipped me with certain technological and communication skills that I will be able to use in the future. I am trained and certified to operate the Raiser’s Edge database system, along with the Raiser’s Edge NXT database system. The entire office uses a shared folder online and I have become a master at creating guest lists and invitation spreadsheets within specific staff’s files, to make the process more efficient.

Hello world!

August 28th, 2017

Welcome to Longwood Blogs. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

Journal #1

August 28th, 2017

I have been selected as the Office of Institutional Advancement’s Program Assessment & Planning Intern. As the Program Assessment and Planning Intern I will be responsible for tasks such as assessing current programs and policies regarding donor relationships, sponsors and the Office of Development. I will do this while assisting the directors and staff with the planning and coordinating of events such as scholarship luncheons, donor receptions and other recognition events related to those who support Longwood University through financial and philanthropic means.  I will also be responsible for both collecting and interpreting data to create reports to plan and better enhance advancement initiatives, activities and events.  Along with this, I will be granted access to the Raiser’s Edge data retrieval donor information system in order to call or write Longwood University donors and thank them for their contributions to the school. In addition to these duties, I will also be tasked with promoting philanthropic culture campus-wide through the development of programs and projects.  I will create professional writing and edit professional documents for the Office of Institutional Advancement such as the Advancement Internship Program Handbook, proposal requests for new programs/events, and evaluation pieces for strategies used within the Advancement Office. Lastly, I will be available to assist my internship supervisor, Penny Pairet, with various projects and tasks within the Advancement Office.

I will use my writing skills, my knowledge of communication ethics, and my interpersonal communication skills multiple times throughout this internship. The only skill I feel that I am less confident with is the event planning portion of this position.  While I have experience in customer communication and professional writing, I have never planned an event before aside from a wedding shower, one 50th anniversary vacation and a handful of birthday celebrations.  In order to acquire these skills, I plan to speak with my supervisor about the strategies, steps and requirements behind planning a large scale, professional event.  I hope to gain from this internship the knowledge of how to successfully plan and execute an event.