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Thursday, August 5, 2021

Meet the Charity Navigator 2021 Summer Interns: Micalah Collins

Hello! My name is Micalah Collins, and I am the Advisory Research and Development Intern at Charity Navigator this summer. In my role, I assist the Advisory System Manager, Zachary Weinsteiger, in all things related to Charity Navigator’s Advisory System. This means that I help produce Advisories, which alert donors to relevant information about an organization not captured by ratings, and contribute to the day-to-day operations that keep the system running. On a given day, I may be checking various media monitoring tools for news that may warrant an Advisory for an organization; researching updated news and financial information about organizations already in the Advisory System; and recommending appropriate next steps (e.g., issuing an Advisory, removing an Advisory, keeping an Advisory posted, etc.) for the Charity Navigator Advisory Issuance Committee (CNAIC) to consider regarding the information I find. 

As an intern, I’ve also had the unique opportunity to support the development of the Advisory System at an exciting stage. As with Charity Navigator organization-wide, many improvements and changes have been in the works for the Advisory System over the past year and a half, and it has been a privilege to see some of those changes begin to take shape and to contribute to that process behind the scenes. These improvements and changes will strengthen Charity Navigator’s capacity to lead with fairness and trust toward organizations so that giving is freely directed to wherever there is need. They are also rooted in Charity Navigator’s commitment to providing fair evaluations and valuable tools that enable donors to find and support nonprofits they can trust. 

On that note, I am excited to share that I have been conducting a project that will directly contribute to incorporating the voice of Charity Navigator donors and site users into the process of improving the Advisory System. Early this year, Charity Navigator distributed a survey to donors and site users in order to collect feedback about the Advisory System (in addition to the Encompass Rating System). Though some broad takeaways had been developed from the survey results, I realized there was an opportunity to more deeply analyze the data. Thus, I have chosen to take on the project of analyzing the survey data from Charity Navigator donors and site users in order to develop insights that could aid in the process of improving the Advisory System.

As an undergraduate, I have conducted many projects involving survey research, and those experiences have given me a passion for data analysis and a solid foundation for the task at hand. As one might imagine, I am both excited and challenged by this project I’m undertaking, as I’m jumping from small-scale surveys of college students into large-scale data analysis for the professional world. Yet as I reflect on my experience thus far and what is still to come, I am most of all grateful for the opportunity to contribute what I can to such a great organization through this virtual internship, and all from my home in central North Carolina. 

Written by Micalah Collins. Micalah is a senior at Elon University, majoring in Sociology and graduating in 2021. Most recently, she was a virtual Program Intern with The Phi Beta Kappa Society in Fall 2020. Micalah has a variety of experience volunteering with nonprofits, and looks forward to working in the nonprofit sector in the future. 

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