How do you market nature? My internship with the philanthropy and marketing team
My experience as an intern in with the philanthropy and marketing department at the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) far exceeded any expectations I had going in. Coming from a charity I had been working at for nearly three years in North Bay, a city with a population of approximately 52,000, moving to a national charity (in Toronto!) ranked as one of the largest in Canada was intimidating! I was skeptical that I would learn anything that could be applied on a smaller/more realistic scale, but was excited to have the opportunity to see how the fundraising process worked in such a large organization, and in a city that seems to have an abundance of wealth. We’re essentially comparing a steak dinner with all the fixings to a cheeseburger. Don’t get me wrong, I love cheeseburgers, but sometimes, you just want/need a steak.
NCC is an organization with a 50 year history of raising funds for land conservation in Canada. They have had time to develop and refine their processes, impact and efficiency. This means the philanthropy and marketing department is fully equipped with fundraising specialists — prospect research, annual giving, planned giving, major and corporate giving, event coordinators, social media managers, writers and communications officers. I expected my exposure to NCC’s fundraising practices to reflect the siloed nature that accompanies specialized fundraising, but this was not the case. My supervisor and all the department staff ensured I had exposure to all aspects of their fundraising program as they related to the learning outcomes of my internship, as well as those which I had expressed special interest in.
In addition to meeting the learning objectives of the internship program, I also gained training and exposure to select areas of fundraising in which I had expressed interest, specifically e-marketing. With the postage hikes we are currently undergoing, developing electronic materials is of increasing importance to help non-profits keep costs low. NCC runs very effective e-marketing through emails and social media. Through one-on-one training, I learned the value and importance of these tools in the non-profit world and explored ways to utilize them moving forward.
In summary, my experience at NCC was invaluable. Exposure to a different organization and processes opened my mind to new ways of creatively and effectively raising funds and keeping an engaged audience. I was extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to work with an organization with a mission I firmly believe in — a charity that happens to be one of Canada’s leading non-profit agencies.