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Monday, July 27, 2020

2020 and the Year of Virtual Internships: Meet the Charity Navigator Interns

This Thursday, July 30th is National Intern Day. It’s a day to celebrate and recognize our future leaders. This year’s intern class has arguably faced obstacles and challenges no other cohort has endured. 

While internships this year are virtual, the virtual work experience truly mirrors real-life scenarios that no one could have predicted. And just because this year is a virtual experience, that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate our Charity Navigator interns. Our team has worked hard to give our interns projects that help make a difference, while also giving them a taste of the real world. Continue reading to learn more about each intern and how they’re making a difference at Charity Navigator!

Sam Bezilla

I just completed my first year at Yale, but this summer, I’ve been a part of Charity Navigator’s rockstar Development & Communications team. My focus for this internship has been on grants management and mass appeal campaign creation, as well as the day-to-day tasks that keep Charity Navigator humming. This team is the perfect place to develop high-level fundraising skills. It’s a challenge to show donors the myriad of ways our data-focused work empowers nonprofits across the sector. So, it has been fascinating to see how my team meticulously crafts its messaging to attract donors to our cause. Entering a new workplace without stepping foot in an office has presented difficulties, especially as I’ve sought to understand and help improve our existing fundraising strategies. However, that experience of quickly analyzing an organization’s processes will apply to all my future endeavors; I’ve learned how to become a useful part of the team as fast as possible. 

Elizabeth Haines

As the Advisory System Intern, I've had the responsibility of researching nonprofits that may be engaging in misconduct or fraudulent activities, and subsequently presenting information to the Charity Navigator Advisory Issuance Committee. I've also had the opportunity to research and develop Charity Navigator's taxonomy and nonprofit classification system. I am fortunate enough to say that I am in the midst of  my third internship at Charity Navigator, and I have most definitely learned something new each and every day. The transition from an in-person internship to virtual has presented its challenges, but it also presented opportunities to adapt and be creative in problem-solving. I'm thankful for the opportunities I've had to intern with Charity Navigator!

Jasper Caballero
As one of two Web Development interns that Charity Navigator’s tech-team has taken under their wing for this summer, I’m responsible for creating a web page that provides charities additional information about their scores based on the new rating system that Charity Navigator is implementing and releasing soon. Every day has been a learning experience, from being taught new software, best coding practices, and participating in debugging sessions with the tech-team, to asking other people outside the tech-team for explanations and feedback for my project. I was a little hesitant to ask questions since I didn’t want to impose on other people’s responsibilities, but something I learned from this small team is that EVERYONE is willing to help each other. Being virtual did not stop them from coming to the rescue whenever we hit a block. It was up to me to take that step and ask. Communicating problems is just as important a skill as coding a solution, something that I would have only learned in this environment. My only regret is not being able to meet this amazing team in person!

Derrick Chow

As a web development intern along with Jasper, I’m also responsible for creating a “details” page that charities can use to see how exactly their rating was calculated based on Charity Navigator’s new rating system. Despite the lack of face-to-face communication with my peers due to the complicated times that we live in, they all have taken huge strides to ensure that my experience working here is as painless, productive, and enjoyable as possible. Everyone on the engineering team has at some point taken time out of their busy schedules to either help on what Jasper and I are working on or even show us what they are working on so we can learn from them! Furthermore, they always answer our questions promptly whenever we have them. I’m sure that the experience I’ve gained from working here will apply to my career in the future and I’m truly grateful that I was given the opportunity to work for this company during these extraordinary times. 

A message from Julia Bieniek, our Human Resources and Operations Manager:

Every summer, we look forward to having interns join our team, and this summer was no different. Our goal for our internship program is to focus on helping interns learn and develop their skills through tangible projects that help our organization. In the midst of current events, we were fortunate enough to provide remote internships with this same goal. For many businesses like us, they have seen it can work, albeit with more effort. We are incredibly thankful for the patience and dedication our interns have shown while working within the remote learning environment. This inaugural class of virtual internships is an indication that this format is successful, and may impact the future of all internships. 


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