Nonprofit Spotlight

Nonprofit Spotlight

Nonprofit Institute Intern Danielle Barber

In her own words


The Nonprofit Spotlight takes a different approach this month. We put the spotlight on Danielle Barber, a recent College of Southern Maryland (CSM) graduate who has been working with the Nonprofit Institute since February. We hired Barber through CSM's Work-Based Learning (WBL) program, an educational strategy that provides students with real-life work experiences where they can apply academic and technical skills and develop their employability. Barber has been a tremendous help to the Nonprofit Institute staff and we will miss her when her time with us ends at end of the month.

“I was born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland. I live at home with my parents, younger brother, and grandmother. My hobbies include writing, drawing, traveling with family, and going on outdoor walks. I graduated from Chopticon High School in May 2020. In addition to receiving my diploma, I graduated with a Certificate of Merit and an Academy of Finance Endorsement. After this, I attended the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) from September 2020 to May 2022. I graduated with two associate degrees, one in arts and sciences and the other in general studies: communication. I plan to enroll at the University of Maryland Global Campus in the fall, where I will pursue a bachelor’s degree in communication studies. I am currently seeking part-time job opportunities in writing and communications so I can begin my career.

During my last semester at CSM, I became a Work-Based Learning intern. I started interning at the Nonprofit Institute in the winter of 2022. I work alongside my supervisor, Cara Fogarty, as well as fellow employees Michelle Sullivan and Amy Davis.

A routine part of my internship includes attending weekly meetings. Every Monday afternoon, I attend roundtable meetings. During these meetings, my colleagues and I discuss weekly tasks as well as upcoming events. I have also attended annual conference preparation meetings every Wednesday afternoon. These meetings let us keep track of things we must do while organizing the event. I also write social media posts for the Nonprofit Institute. The posts are visible on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Since the platforms are used for different purposes, I must adjust my post length and content for each one. Topics mentioned in posts include monthly classes, affinity group meetings, nonprofit “Spotlight” shout-outs, and more. These posts are sometimes paired with illustrations that I make when using Canva. The images encourage people to view the associated social media posts. Their main purpose is to display content about important information and events. They also upgrade the appearance of the Nonprofit Institute’s social media presence. The tool is simple, easy to use, and widely used within the PR/marketing field. Due to its popularity, I will learn how to use Canva more proficiently in the future.

Another task that I do is writing monthly “Spotlight” passages about nonprofit organizations. Each monthly article details the functions, services, and goals of a local nonprofit. The article spreads awareness about the nonprofit’s existence so more people can support them. Writing these passages has informed me about organizations that seek to benefit people and the environment in Southern Maryland. Additionally, I am helping create the Nonprofit Institute Leadership Development Incubator. The Incubator is a leadership program that will introduce CSM students to the nonprofit world. I am a student-facing representative for the program. So far, my role has involved giving students an online survey to determine which program features would best suit their schedules.

So far, I enjoy my internship at the Nonprofit Institute. Working with my colleagues is a delight. They are friendly, considerate, and always willing to help. My work assignments are simple, straightforward, and a good introduction to tasks that I may encounter during my future work career. I like the flexibility of doing my work and attending meetings online. Since I am not restricted to a specific schedule or work location, I can complete my assignments at any time. Contacting my colleagues is easy since we communicate over the phone, through email, and during Zoom meetings. These mediums let me quickly receive information about assignments and request assistance.

I am very grateful for this job opportunity. This internship has allowed me to establish a direction for the start of my work career. After years of indecision, I have decided to work in the communication field and seek related job opportunities. Future work experiences will let me try more roles and solidify my decision on which specific career subjects I will pursue. If I develop the skills that I acquired during my internship, I may work with electronic media content and in public relations.

My internship let me acquire skills in terms of taking initiative, participating in teamwork, and solving problems. I learned how to take initiative by asking if I had any assignments due each week. For example, I would ask if I needed to write any social media posts each week for upcoming events listed in the monthly newsletter. I would also send emails to my colleagues about any questions I had. These were usually for confirming information about assignments or requesting help with tasks. I became familiar with teamwork participation through participating in weekly meetings and completing my share of the group’s collective tasks. I also collaborated one-on-one with Sullivan since we brainstormed about how to begin creating the Incubator program. One instance where I improved my problem-solving skills was when I had to find and use video editing software for the first time. I found suitable software after researching programs that were recommended for beginners. I then used my chosen software to cut out unnecessary parts of a virtual recording of a monthly class.

I highly recommend other students to intern at the Nonprofit Institute. The staff is excited about helping students like me succeed in their working careers. They have given me learning experiences and practical advice that I can apply in the future. The workload that they assigned me suited my school workload, and they helped me when I had issues with completing assignments. Even if students are not interested in this specific internship, all Work-Based Learning internships at CSM have much to offer. They let interns acquire skills for specific careers and network with colleagues to find more job opportunities. They allow students to enter career fields as well, which is difficult to do when seeking job opportunities on one’s own. The CSM internships also provide students with mentors dedicated to helping them advance in their work life. Since these internships provide so many benefits, they are something that students should take advantage of, whether they are beginning or continuing their career.”

For more information about the Work-Based Learning Program at CSM and how you can hire a student, visit the WBL webpage.

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Nonprofit Institute
College of Southern Maryland
PO Box 910
La Plata, MD 20646-0910

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