internship reflections…

The following post was contributed by our intern for the past two semesters, Ben Kuykendall. Ben is studying for his Master of Nonprofit Management Degree at the University of Central Florida and will be graduating in December. We asked Ben to write a reflection on his internship experience and this is what he had to say.

“My internship experience at Valencia Foundation has made a significant contribution to my career development. Before interning with Valencia, my experience working in nonprofit organizations was limited, and my passion to make a difference outweighed my knowledge of how to do so effectively. After spending the last 7 months learning under the staff at Valencia Foundation, I can say with confidence that I am prepared to enter the challenging field of nonprofit management and contribute to an organization’s success.

Our handsome young intern, Ben.

Before interning at Valencia I knew little of how to actually go about raising support for a worthy cause. Sure, I had read about what was expected in my textbooks, but I had no direct experience and, to be honest, the idea of asking for money intimidated me a bit. Taking part in the various aspects of development and donor relations for Valencia Foundation gave me the experience, and with it the confidence, necessary to overcome any hesitation I may have had about developing support.

Whether I was writing letters to donors, organizing information in the Raiser’s Edge database, managing the Wall of Scholars donor recognition program, or even creating my own grant proposal, the foundation staff was there every step of the way; guiding me in my projects, while giving me the freedom to learn and take ownership of my work.

I can’t think of a better introduction to nonprofit management than to have interned with Valencia Foundation for the past two semesters. The work I was given was meaningful and applicable to my degree program and eventual career goals, but the people I was able to work under are who made my time as rewarding as it was. Specifically, Donna Marino, manager of donor stewardship, poured into me her wealth of knowledge and experience. Donna showed me daily how to effectively maintain relationships with donors and, most importantly, how enjoyable and how rewarding working for the benefit of others can be.

Armed with the knowledge and experience passed down to me from Valencia Foundation’s 37 years of success, I’m much more prepared now to begin my career in nonprofit management after graduation this December.

Thanks Valencia Foundation!”

Ben Kuykendall

Master of Nonprofit Management Candidate

University of Central Florida

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