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.