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Communication Insights

Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Brian Williams, and Steven Spielberg. They all have a lot in
common with one another. They are hardworing, brilliant, and e!ceptional at their pro"essions.
They all will go down in history as some o" the most in"luential people o" our time. They also all
started o"" as interns. Internships are the "irst stepping stone "or a career to be passionate about
and to "lourish in. This past spring #$%& semester, I had the ama'ing opportunity and privilege to
intern with the (elmarva )oological Society.
The (elmarva )oological Society is located in the Chamber o" Commerce building in
downtown Salisbury. I en*oyed being able to go to the commerce building every day, because it
was a very pro"essional setting and environment. Throughout this internship, I had the pleasure
to wor with Stacey Weisner, who was my supervisor. She is the e!ecutive director o" the
(elmarva )oological Society, and has been since the society was incorporated in #$$+. The
(elmarva )oological Society is a non, pro"it organi'ation that promotes, supports, publici'es,
and raises "unds "or the Salisbury 'oo through a variety o" "undraising endeavors. The Salisbury
)oo is one o" the "ew 'oos in the country that is completely "ree, so it is important "or it to
receive as much help and "unds as it can to eep it a sa"e environment "or ids o" all ages to have
"un. These "undraisers include )oobilation, which is the annual "undraising party held at the 'oo.
This year it is e!tra special because it is the 'oos -$
th
year anniversary. .nother "undraising
activity that ()S coordinates is /enew the )oo, and Just )oo It. /enew the )oo is a campaign to
build three new pro*ects "or the 'oo. They are the new animal health clinic, the William 0.
1organ 0nvironmental Center, and the new (iscover .ustralia 0!hibit. They raised over 2
million dollars to go towards the pro*ects. ()S also coordinates Just )oo It, which involves
elementary school students. 3articipating schools in the surrounding counties collect coins in the
custom made ()S soda cans. The students raised more than 425,$$$ dollars this past year, and
all proceeds to the 'oo.
.n internship is a chance "or young students, lie mysel" to get a taste o" the real world
be"ore getting thrown into it a day a"ter graduation. It gives us an opportunity to get the
e!perience, and so we have a slight sense o" what to e!pect in the real world. That lesson and
e!perience is more valuable than any lesson taught in the traditional classroom setting.
Traditional classrooms have been the bac bone o" our education "or as long as we can
remember, and no college student would be where they are today without them. Saying that, an
internship provides college students an opportunity that no classroom can give us, and that is a
real world e!perience in a environment that is sa"e to mae mistaes in, and even "ail.
Throughout my internship, I learned a great deal. I learned about event planning in the
communication "ield. I also learned about mareting and advertising in the communication "ield,
which was interesting because I am a mareting management minor. I also learned about non,
pro"it organi'ations, which I did not now anything about. That really spared an interest in me,
and broadened my hori'ons o" another communication "ield I could get into. 6ot only did I learn
about the organi'ation itsel", but I learned about the communication within the organi'ation. I
got to apply the concepts, theories, and the variety o" communication that I have learned over the
course o" studying communications, and apply them to a real li"e situation. 7or e!ample, I was
cable to observe the di""erent types o" nonverbal communication within the o""ice.
Communication was occurring every second o" the day in the o""ice o" all di""erent inds.
0verything involves communication. It was interesting being able to connect everything that I
have been learning in my past & years o" studying human communications and apply it to my
communications internship. There were e!ample o" nonverbal communications, interpersonal,
small group, even gender.
The goal "or writing this insight, is to loo bac and re"lect on everything that I learned
over the course o" my internship. This is a chance to loo bac on what I have learned in that
career "ield, and to see what valuable lessons and moments I too away "rom the e!perience,
.lso, to how how the communication nowledge I have ac8uired over my "our years o" studies
was applied in my internship.
Starting my internship, I did not have a direct, clear vision o" which communication "ield
I wanted to begin my career in. I piced the internship based o"" o" which one I "elt would give
me the most e!perience in all o" the di""erent aspects o" communications. ."ter researching ()S
and speaing with the e!ecutive director, I "elt I would wal away "rom this internship with the
most valuable e!perience. I new that this internship involved event planning, and mareting, all
while being a non, pro"it organi'ation. Going in, I had a mareting bacground, and I new a
little bit about event planning, but I did not now about non,pro"it organi'ations. The
communication that I learned that came with a non, pro"it organi'ation and with event planning,
was all about reaching out to the public, and promoting the ()S brand name and their e""orts.
To be in event planning, and to be able to raise money, it is all about communicating with the
community, local business owners, and being able to e""ectively communicate with one another
in the o""ice environment.
()S used many di""erent "orms o" media to communicate with the public. They used
social media, logos, and their website to promote their name, brand, and to help raise awareness
and "unds "or the 'oo. ()S has an o""icial letter head that goes on any o""icial ()S document
that is sent out to the public. This includes donation re8uest letters sent, than you letters, emails,
monthly newsletter posts, and anything else sent out that the public would receive. I got the
opportunity to see how these o""icial ()S documents were made and sent out, and I had the
chance to mae them mysel", and send them out. In"ormation "olders were also created to in"orm
the public about the new pro*ects the 'oo was embaring on. I also had the opportunity to
construct the "olders and the in"ormation inside o" them. These "olders were also given to the
members o" the Big (onor Committee. The individually, handmade constructed "olders sent the
message to the donors that ()S wanted to tae the time to show the donors that their help and
donations are greatly appreciated and do not go unnoticed. ()S also communicated with the
public with the new promotional tool. (uring one o" the )oobilation planning committee
meeting, it was decided a great, "un way to the )oobilation event stirring in the community, and
raise money at the same time would be to 9"loc: people. .nyone could pay to have their
neighbors, "riends, or "amily;s yard covered in plastic "lamingos. It was a great opportunity "or
()S to communicate and get involved in the community.
Sending out letters, "older or "lamingo is not enough communication. It is important "or
().S to mae a personal appearance to the public and get a chance "or some interpersonal
communication with the community and local business owners. .ttending a Business a"ter <ours
is the per"ect way to do so. .ttending a Business a"ter <ours is a great way "or ()S to catch up
with old "riends in the community, see some "aces "rom the local business, and to mae some
new connections. I had the opportunity to attend one, help at one, and start to plan the one ()S
is going to host. It was a great e!perience being able to be a part o" and observe pro"essionals
and having the opportunity to mae great connections.
7rom this internship, I learned that it doesn;t matter what speci"ic communication "ield
one goes into, you will be using all "orms and aspects o" communication. I "ound a part o" all o"
the communication tracs in this internship, "rom public relations to media and human
communications.
Because I did not go into my internship having a "ull sense and having "ull nowledge o"
what responsibilities go into event planning and non, pro"it organi'ations, there were many
things that surprised me. I was mainly surprised by how much wor goes into planning events,
and how much wor goes into non,pro"it organi'ations raising money. It is so much more than
*ust coordinating "undraisers or events. 0verything has to be e!tremely organi'ed and because
there are large amounts o" money involved, everything has to be accounted "or. There were
cabinets "illed with "olders o" every dollar raised by the person or the company who gave the
donation. There were also e!cel sheets "rom all the previous years and this year documenting
which donor had a re8uest letter sent to them, and which ones had not. It was important that no
donor was ased twice because ()S did not want to give the impression o" being rude or pushy,
because they are very grate"ul and appreciative o" any donation, no matter the amount. There was
also documentation in the e!cel sheets o" what companies donated, and i" so, what items were
donated. 0veryone in the o""ice was able to see the status o" the donations, what the donations
were, i" any needed to be piced up, or i" we could e!pect to not see any donations "rom a certain
company. In doing this, we were able to send out than you notes to the donors who gave
donations in a timely manner. This way they new ()S was very grate"ul "or their help. The
than you notes were also documented in the e!cel spread sheets.
6o roc is le"t unturned when it comes to the "undraising o" money to support the 'oo.
Stacey and the rest o" the ()S sta"" thin o" everything, and everything maes a di""erence, even
the smallest o" tass. I was mainly in charge o" the smaller tass that contributed to the o""ice and
to the planning and preparation "or )oobilation. 0ven though the tass were small and simple,
Stacey always reminded me o" how even the smallest tas really helps the event and could mae
or brea it. 7or e!ample, the "olders I put together could be the di""erence o" getting a donation
or not. .nother e!ample is when I was entering community member;s in"ormation into the
mailing data base, Stacey told me to always mae sure I put the people;s "irst name "or the
mailing address. This way, they "eel a more personali'ed connection ()S, and will be more
liely to give a donation.
.nother aspect that I was really surprised about was the si'e o" ()S. 0ven though
physically, ()S is not a large non,pro"it organi'ation, and it is located in a smaller town, the
goals and heights ()S is trying to reach has no limits. I had the opportunity to observe and even
proo" read a 2 million dollar proposal to a ma*or company to help build the new animal health
clinic. It was an ama'ing e!perience being able to witness all the hard wor and e""ort that goes
into a proposal o" that si'e. ()S showed how much they actually help and a""ect the lives o"
many people. They are proo" that i" you put a lot o" time, care, and hard wor into something,
great things will come "rom it and I am very grate"ul I was able to witness it "irsthand.
This internship spared a very big interest and really broadened my hori'ons, but it also
narrowed my "ocus at the same time. I new I was interested into going into a career "ield o"
event planning, because that also incorporates mareting. I am minoring in mareting
management so I also have an interest in the mareting side o" communications as well.
Throughout this internship, I discovered how much mareting really is involved with event
planning, so that solidi"ied my interest in wanting to "urther e!plore that career option. To be in
event planning, you have to be able to advertise, promote and maret not only yoursel", but the
brand and the event.
This semester I too advertising and promotions, which is a class "or my mareting
minor. In this class, our big assignment was to plan an event, and create and e!ecute an ad
campaign "or a local business. Throughout the assignment, I noticed many similarities between
the wor I was doing "or the class, and the wor I was doing in my internship. I was writing
donation re8uest letters "or my class, while revising and mailing letters out at my internship. I
was also writing press releases and promoting the even through "lyers and 7aceboo posts, while
at my internship, sitting in a planning committee discussing ways to promote the )oobilation
event that is 8uicly approaching. The correlation and similarities between my mareting class
and my communications internship gave me a sense o" security that event planning may be the
right career "it "or me.
While this internship secured my thoughts and decisions about my career decisions, it
also gave me new career decisions to thin about. 0ven though I saw how much wor is involved
with a non,pro"it organi'ation, it made me "eel good about helping a good cause, and helping
others. Woring with a non, pro"it also incorporates mareting, and the reward o" helping people
maes all the hard wor worth it.
There are many aspects o" my e!perience in this internship that I am very proud o". .s I
re"lect bac on my time at ()S, there are two aspects that I am proud o". The "irst is I am very
proud that I spent a lot o" my time, e""ort and hard wor on helping and supporting such a good,
important cause. ()S is one o" the main reasons that the 'oo is able to still be one o" the "ew
completely "ree 'oos in the =nited States. It "elt good woring "or a non,pro"it and helping
people, and not e!pecting anything in return. Salisbury is nown "or not being the best area, so
being able support a cause that gives the Salisbury community a sa"e place "or people o" all ages
to have "un, made me proud to intern with ()S.
.nother aspect o" my e!perience in this internship that I am proud o" is the relationship I
built with my supervisor, Stacey, and the connections that I made. I really valued the time I spent
with Stacey and the relationship that developed "rom it. I" anything ever happened in the o""ice
while I was there that she thought I could use as a lesson or tae something away "rom it, she
would stop what she was doing, and give me a learning moment. >ne e!ample o" this was when
she was having communication di""iculties with one o" the board o" director members "or ()S,
and it was causing issues. Stacey sent a "ew emails, and a"ter, told me to always tae the high
road in those situations, and to not give in to 9caddy: behavior. It is much easier to solve
problems in civil relationships, even i" the situation involves a di""icult person. She also gave me
another learning moment involving *ob interviews. She said it was important to mae a good
impression not only with the person who is interviewing you, but the receptionist scheduling the
interview. She also gave me advice on how to set you apart "rom the other *ob candidates. She
said it is important to send the interviewer a hand written than you note immediate a"ter the
interview, and you will stand out in their eyes. Taing her advice, on my last day at the internship
I gave her a handwritten than you card, and a little toen o" my appreciation. When I le"t, she
told me to call her i" I needed anything, and I now she would always help me or give me a
recommendation Throughout my time interning with ()S, I "eel my relationship with Stacey
really developed and became a very valuable connection that I am very than"ul "or.
It is a very di""icult tas to re"lect bac on yoursel", and try and actually admit that you
made a mistae or disappointed yoursel". ?ooing bac on this internship, I am disappointed in
mysel" that I didn;t as to do more things, and to be more involved. I am disappointed that I
didn;t get more samples o" what I wored on throughout the internship. 7or a lot o" what I was
doing, there was no way to have a sample o" it. ?ooing bac, I should ased to be doing more
things that I could o" gotten a sample o".
I also regret that I will not be around "or the events that I helped plan, I started planning
the Business a"ter <ours that ()S was going to be hosting, but the date got pushed bac. 1y
internship ended be"ore Business a"ter <ours, so I was not able to "inish planning the event, or
attend the event. It is also un"ortunate that )oobilation is taes place June #@th, so I may not be
around "or it. I would lie to see all o" the hard wor that everyone has put in come together.
Interning "or the (elmarva )oological Society has been one o" the best e!periences o" my
college career. This internship "inally gave me the real world e!perience that I have been looing
"or and needing as I graduate and enter into the real world. I am very than"ul and grate"ul to
Stacey, the rest o" the sta"" and to ()S "or the ama'ing opportunity. I will always remember the
relationship I built with Stacey, and I now I will be able to call on it anytime during my
pro"essional career. Anowing that I will use the lessons and learning moments I too away "rom
()S and use them in my pro"essional and personal li"e, maes this e!perience so valuable to
me .