Final Journal: My Portfolio

During this internship, I faced a lot of challenges. One of the most prevalent challenges that I faced was doing assignments with other interns and dealing with changing wants from my supervisors. I was made to work with other interns on Fridays to create videos to send to donors when they gave money. Several times that we created these videos, our supervisor would change what she wanted in the video and would make us restart on filming. These was done in the Day of Giving Thank You Video and in the Birthday Video. These videos were both recorded at least twice because our supervisor changed what she wanted.

During my performance evaluation, I made the goal of wanting to take more of an initiate to be helpful around the office. I have achieved this goal throughout my time as a the Office of Institutional Advancement Intern. I have volunteered for different events, such as the Richmond Symphony. At this event, I was responsible for assisting Judith Campbell, the Director of Conference and Event Services, set up Chichester for 120 donors that have achieved Citizen Leader Status, which means that they give over $1,500 annually, to come, eat a catered dinner, and enjoy the beautiful sounds of the prestigious Richmond Symphony. Setting up for this event including clearing and cleaning the lobby of Chichester, so that Armark could set up their bar and food tables. We had to set up tables and chairs, as well as decorations, such as candles, banners, tablecloths, and goodie bags that had personalized Longwood M&Ms. I was in charge of the coat closet at this event, as well as passing out programs and making sure that all the donors sat in the VIP area. When I was not working the coat closet, I was to talk to and mingle with donors, so that they could talk to a student that attends the school that they are giving so much money to. This was to try to persuade donors to keep donating as well as to keep them connecting with students in the Longwood community. The event went on perfectly and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves a lot!








This internship has really helped me with my job search. Through helping Katherine Bulifant, the Director of Annual Giving, with reunion committee meetings, I was able to realize that I have enjoyed working with and planning meetings for people. To prepare for these meetings, I was in charge of requesting reserved parking spots, compiling and updating each class’s list of students in that year, and distributing them to each member of the reunion committee. At the meetings, we talked to the committees about deciding what they want their class gift to be. We spoke to the class of 1969 about either doing a class scholarship or giving a class gift to improve the sunken garden. The sunken garden, which is found between the colonnades and  Tabb Hall was a popular vote because the women on the committee remember how beautiful the garden was when they attended this school. The bulk of my time prepping for this meeting is spent updating the list of people in the class. I cannot add a copy of the spreadsheet to this document because there is sensitive information, such as addresses, phone numbers and email addresses. The purpose of these spreadsheets were to give the reunion committee members the contact information of their classmates while they attended Longwood University. This way, the committee members can get in contact with their former classmates to let them know about their upcoming 50th reunion and to allow their classmates the chance to help them meet their donation and participation goals. Each committee makes two goals when they begin to plan and recruit members to come to their 50th reunion. At the meeting, we tour Longwood campus and at the last meeting, we toured the new Brock Building, which one of the committee members of 1970 had tried to get Longwood to build 20 years prior! Everyone enjoyed the tour and a lot of ideas on how to engage their other classmates in donation giving and getting excited about the reunion were passed around from all who attended. 

Another thing that I really enjoyed doing that I think will affect my future career was thanking the donors and interacting with them. I spoke to a lot of donors at the Scholarship Dinner, when I golf carted them from their cars to the dinner. I also really loved creating Thank You videos for them. The statistics for the Love Your Longwood Day video  was especially exciting to create because it was such a historic day at Longwood. We broke previous records and came together to raise a lot of money! This was so exciting for me to create, because I knew that those who donated would really enjoy seeing students personally thank them for all that they have done and given to Longwood! We had to rush to complete this video so that we could ensure that it would be uploaded to ThankView, a site so that fundraisers can email videos to their donors quickly, and send it out so that donors can get it quickly.

If you look at the photos below, you can see two pictures of me working to make the Love Your Longwood Day promotional video:

I feel that during my time as the Office of Institutional Advancement Intern, I was mentored pretty well, but I think that I could have been given more responsibility. I would have loved to sit in on more meetings, or assist others in the office instead of writing Thank You notes. I think that if I shadowed or assisted others in the office, I feel like I could have been given a better sense of the office and different careers. There were also several times that I went into the office and there was no work for the interns to complete. This was a little frustrating because I wanted to complete my hours and learn more about this career.

I would recommend this intern to Communication Studies majors, who are skilled in making and editing videos. This was a big part of my duties as an intern. These majors would really excel in this internship and would really help the Office of Institutional Advancement and possibly the Office of Alumni Services as well. I would also recommend this internship to people who want to work in higher education because this internship is exactly that. You can learn how to talk to donors and fund raise for an institution.

Journal 5: COMM Studies in Action

Through my internship, I have not been thinking much about Communication Studies theories if I am being honest. Looking back on different interactions and experiences throughout the semester, I have realized that Communication Studies theories are everywhere! The top theories that I have noticed at play over the duration of my last couple of months as an intern are Social Penetration Theory and Social Learning Theory.

The Institutional Advancement Office is all about fundraising. Fundraising for scholarships, for infrastructure programs, program funding, athletic teams, and so much more. To get those big gifts, we have several gift officers, who meet with our more well-off alumni. These gift officers will meet with wealthier alumni countless times to build a relationship before asking for the bigger gifts. Several gift officers have talked about their job as just an excuse to “make friends.” These relationships are started through superficial means at first. It is started to eventually get a large gift from the alum. As time passes on, these relationships evolve so much so, that both parties become very invested in the others life. They soon are meeting for lunch more, or spending time with each other’s families. These friendships evolve from superficial relationships to intimate friendships. The alumni are vulnerable because they are open to being solicited for a large gift to be donated to the university and the gift officer is vulnerable because these alumni tend to be higher in age, so they usually end up passing. This describes the Social Penetration Theory, which examines how superficial relationships evolve into more intimate relationships.

The next theory that I see evident in my internship is the Social Learning theory, that states that we learn through observing, imitating, and modeling the behaviors, attitudes and emotional reactions of others. This is exemplified through my time as an intern. I have never worked in higher education before and truly did not know what the Office of Institutional Advancement did on campus. I have learned through doing as my coworkers have done. I have learned through imitating the work that has been done on spreadsheets and to use the templates from previous events. I have learned how to use several different online resources, such as Raiser’s Edge, through watching others use it. I have learned how to communicate with donors through watching my coworkers communicate with them. I have learned how to behave in the world of higher education through watching others.

Journal 4: Throwback to the Journey

During my 2.5 years as a Communication Studies major, I have taken many helpful and influential courses. From Public Speaking all the way up to Senior Seminar, I have learned so much about the Communications world and how to thrive in it. When looking back at which courses most heavily prepared me for this internship, though it is a hard to narrow down to just 3, I would have to say that Public Speaking, Social Media Marketing, and Public Relations Research have had the most impact.
I have always grown up somewhat shy. I do not speak much unless spoken to or if I am with someone that I am very comfortable with, like my friends and family. During Public Speaking, I was forced to stand up and speak in front of people that I did not know at all. Whether speaking about things that I knew a lot about, or topics that I did not fully understand, I had to stand in front of my peers and talk. This has come in handy so much in this internship because I am constantly being thrown in to helping whoever needs me in the office. I have used my public speaking skills to speak professionally and clearly, so that my coworkers, or anyone that I am trying to communicate with, understands me.
Social Media Marketing was one of my favorite courses that I have taken here at Longwood. Writing has always been a strong point of mine and I enjoyed writing and marketing a blog that I had created. My internship at the Institutional Advancement Office is all about marketing. Marketing The Day of Giving, a huge day where we try to get the most donations possible for the University and Departments, I had to use my marketing skills. Interns had to market and post about the day days before it arrived to get students and alumni involved. Using Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other social media sites were so important during this time because it was how we connected with our donors! We had to decide what content would attract people to donate, and which wouldn’t. I had to use my trial and errors that I experienced during my time in Social Media Marketing to help me determine what I think would work and what would not.
Lastly, Public Relations Research prepared me for prospectus research. A big part of the Advancement Office is finding potential donors, whether big or small. Going on Twitter and other social media sites to see who loves Longwood and talks about the school highly, is something that I have been tasked with as well. I look at is as an almost Content Analysis study. Examining what people are saying about the university and what role it had in their life. this information is so important because it is then passed off to gift officers, who then talk to the potential donors and build a relationship. This can potentially result in lifetime donors, scholarship donors, and connections with other donors that may love Longwood even more!
My time in the Communication Studies program has prepared me for not only my internship, but a future career as well. Sitting down and applying my knowledge has really given me perspective on what I want to do in my future career and how this knowledge will impact me in the future. I can’t wait to get started!

Journal 3: Tackling My First Event

Since my last journal, I have participated in the prep and execution hosting an event. It is no easy task, that is for sure! The Office of Institutional Advancement hosted the Scholarship Dinner, an event for both donors and student scholarship recipients to be recognized and meet. For preparation, I was in charge of creating name tags for all attending the event. This included name tags for students, faculty, staff and donors. I was in charge of creating the name tag template (since we changed our scholarship logo this year) and making sure there were name tags for everyone that included where they were sitting at the dinner. After creating the name tags, I was in charge of organizing the Place cards and making sure that those names were spelled correctly and in the correct order. The day of the event, I had to make a key and label place cards for those with special dietary requests for the caterers, such as vegetarians or food allergies. During the event, I golf carted donors from the parking garage to Blackwell Ballroom and then back to the parking garage at the end of the dinner.

Through hosting this event, I have learned many things. First, I have learned how hard it is to host an event. It requires so much planning and organization to make it successful. You have to think of the little things, such as making signs to point to the restroom or signs to remind guests to silence their cells phones. Second, I have learned that though you are not given the most glamorous job sometimes, it is still an important job to do and do well because it still makes an impact. And lastly, I have learned how much donors truly love and cherish Longwood, not only through their monetary donations, but their complete awe and interest in new changes and students that was demonstrated during a short ride through campus.

I was challenged this week by having to keep my cool, while everyone around me was stressed and frantic trying to get ready for the dinner. Even when I was feeling stressed, I tried to stay calm so that my work would not be affected and that others around me could also stay calm. I was also challenged when I was golf carting donors back to their cars because it was freezing cold, but I had to stay upbeat and cheery.

This experience has definitely given me a quick glimpse into the world of Event Planning. If that is the career path that I choose to explore, I now have some experience on what went right and what went wrong in order to host a successful event in the future.

Journal 2: Internship Take 2

Through the course of this internship, I have learned a lot about the giving societies that donors can fall into here at Longwood. Depending on how much money you give, you are placed in different giving societies, such as the Citizen Leadership Society, or the 1839 Giving Society. The more money someone gives, the more prestegious and exclusive the giving society is. I have also been meeting more people in the office and recently met Nicole Perkins, who is the Director of Alumni Engagement. She describes her job as essentially an event planner on a very large scale. She showed me how she plans out her events and her planning binders in detail. This has heightened my interest in event planning because I now have networked with someone in the field and have gotten a chance to take an insiders look at all the planning that goes into events. We discussed the Mega Reunion, which is coming up on May 11th, and all of the planning, descions and time that have gone into it so far.

Some challenges that I have faced so far are that my supervisor did not like the initial Thank You video that another intern and I shot to send to donors. We did not clearly understand her vision for the video, so we shot what we thought would be nice to receive. We also have not had a chance to put all of our videos together yet. They are still individual short shots that we were hoping to combine into one video. We have not gotten access to the software program that our supervisor wants us to use to put the videos together, so we are somewhat stuck in a rut until we get access.

I think that both the negative a positive experiences are going to have a big impact in my future career. Connecting with Nicole Perkins will impact my career greatly because she is in a position that I have considered for my future career. This will allow me to explore that option to determine if it is a path that I would like to follow or not. The negative experiences, such as not creating a video that my supervisor wanted me to, is also going to impact my future career. It will motivate me to learn what my client truly wants so that I can attempt to get it right on the first try. I have also learned how to be patient and keep myself busy as I await for access to ThankView, the software that I am to use to put together the Thank You video.

Journal 1: Internship At A Glance

Starting a new internship can be tricky, and I have definitely learned that through my start as an intern for the Office of Development at Longwood University. Transfering from being solely a student to also being an inern has proven to be a balancing act, yet very rewarding so far.

For the durastion of this internship, I will be assisting several different people in the office with various projects. I am assisting Ms. Bulifant by helping the class of 1969 narrow down ideas on their class gift that will follow their 50th reunion next spring. I am also helping the committee members reach out to their classmates to invite them to the reunion and help them encourage donations. I am assisting Mrs. Pairet with Donor Relations and have been tasked with thank donors via thank you note and phone calls, and also producing Thank You videos to email out to donors. I will assist other people in the office with updating our data base that contains everyone who is affiliated with Longwood, including alumni, faculty, staff, students and parents. I am also to assist with posting on social media accoounts to promote different events or new developments, including the Day of Giving, the Scholarship Dinner, The Richmond Symphony, and the launch of AcademicWorks, a new scholarship program that will be launching this semester.

My teamwork and communication skills are constantly being envoked at my internship. I am tasked with helping others achieve their goals to meet the end goal, so I need to use my teamwork skills a lot to get things done. My communication skills are constantly being tested because I am constantly contacting donors. I have to tailor my message to properly converse with them in a way that will make them want to continue to give donations to Longwood.

During my internship, I hope to strengthen my speaking ability. Through talking to donors, committee members, coworkers, and others about various different topics, I will be contiually practing my speaking ability so that I can appear to be more confident in the work environment. This will help transfer to other work environments in the future because I will have practiced throughout my internship.

I am confident that this internship will provide me with a lot of new knowledge on new topics. I will gain a new comfort in the workplace and will have experience to draw on. I am also hoping that I will gain some insight into the worlds of Social Media Marketing and Event Planning through various projects that I have coming up. I am really looking forward what will come through this internship this semester!