INFOGRAPHIC TIME

What is an infographic?!

For a classic definition we can take from the blog post, What Is an Infographic: Types, Examples, Tips: “An infographic (information graphic) is a visual representation of information which aims to make the data easily understandable at a first glance.” The post also gives some great examples and tips if you’re needing help making one of your own!

Infographics are a great, more engaging way to show data and statistics. They’re more appealing and fun to look at, compared to a piece of work full of written statistics.

In my time in college, I have made a few of my own infographics and more recently I made one that I think turned out pretty well! (I’m not great at creativity stuff like infographics)

I want to take you through my infographic step by step and see what exactly I was trying to convey to my audience.

my infographic

I chose to make my infographic centered around the foster care system and why we need more foster parents in our country. To keep my work on theme, my infographic asks you to learn more about becoming a foster parent and points you toward a nonprofit that can help along the process. Check them out here!

I haven’t talked about foster care at all in any of my posts so this may seem like a random choice. But, I actually have expressed my want to foster at some point in my life, to people close to me. So I thought to look into it and see the kind of statistics surrounding the system, and there was plenty to work with.

I got most of my statistics through nonprofit organizations and then followed their sources to the original. Most being reports each year on children and the system. I chose my statistics with my target audience in mind. My audience would be young parents who have looked into fostering before and who have the want to do it. The statistics could give them that extra push they may need to make the decision final.

final work

I am not the most creative, so starting from scratch is where I ran into some problems. I searched examples of good infographics to help give me ideas and point me towards a direction. My advice to anyone making their own infographic is to give yourself enough time and break up the time you work on it. If you spend too much time staring at your work you may start to change things that don’t need it. Break up your work time and allow fresh eyes to see your work. This will help so you don’t get overwhelmed or too knit-picky.

What it Takes to get into Event Coordinating

As I’ve mentioned before, I am a senior in college, and as I’m writing this I have about seven months left until I graduate. That’s crazy to even say!

Now let’s imagine you’re in the same boat and also want to pursue nonprofit work, specifically event coordinating. This is the route that I plan to pursue and I want to share what it takes to work as an event coordinator with you. Let’s jump right into it!

GIPHY from reactiongiphs.com

what it takes

This kind of job will involve a lot of planning and behind the scenes work, along with a level of passion; which at this point you know I believe strongly in.

Have passion in the nonprofit you’re working for, so that when it comes to planning these fundraising events; you’ll have a greater want to do the tasks at hand. Planning and executing events take a lot of work and you don’t want to lack the passion because you don’t support the organization. If you fully support the work the organization does, when the work gets tough and you’re working long hours, you’ll be able to keep going and not want to throw in the towel.

I have also mentioned before the importance of networking and it applies to event coordinating as well. Stacey Smith writes in her WHAT IT TAKES TO BECOME A NON-PROFIT EVENT PLANNER, post that having connections is important because you never know when you may need “…24-hour IT professional, power generator services, or a tractor trailer.”

In my experience; organization is key. The women that I interned under was the event coordinator and she took great lengths to be very organized in each fundraising event we held. She kept thorough notes and notebooks full of tasks we did. She expressed that by doing so, it would be easier each year to do the same event by going off of things done previously. It was also important in keeping these notes so that we understood what worked well and what did not.

GIPHY from thehills

Smith’s other key advice was to always keep a smile and never forget to say thank you! To execute an event well there is plenty of moving parts and help from others. Food, music, lights, decorations and so forth are all apart of an event. Behind those are other companies and employees that help your event go smoothly. Always remember a sincere thank you and gratitude for their help is important. 

final thoughts

Finding a career that you actually enjoy is something I believe is key in remaining happy. I have found that event coordinating in nonprofits is something I would love to pursue and hope I get the chance to!

11 Days Later…

Yet another shooting wrecks the lives of families and friends. I just wrote to you about the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and just 11 days later we hear news of another fatal shooting.

All these shootings in our country affect us all on different levels. This most recent one hit me hard.

All my facts are retrieved from CNN, by Faith Karimi, Jason Hanna, Joe Sutton, and Steve Almasy.

Thousand Oaks, California

At the Borderline Bar and Grill Wednesday, November 7th, a shooter walked into the bar and began shooting innocent people. The bar was hosting a western themed night, along with college night, allowing students 18 and older. Students were dancing and enjoying their night, just like any college student around the country. He took young adults from their parents, fathers from children, loved ones from friends, and changed their lives forever.

Multiple people who survived this shooting also survived the Las Vegas shooting. This is not okay. No one should have to survive multiple mass shootings in their lives. 

this needs to end

My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. I along with friends, attend college bars with “themed nights,” almost weekly. I have been in a countless number of bars packed with college students and I cannot imagine this happening to me.

It’s not fair, it’s not right and I don’t want to live my life in fear. We have to come together and make a change for future generations. We cannot live our lives scared to drop children off at school, scared to enjoy a night with friends at a bar, scared to go to a movie theater, scared to go to church, scared to enjoy a concert, or scared to walk down the street.

We can continue to support and send our thoughts and prayers, but we have to start to change policies and begin to take our lives back from the fear of mass shootings.

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sandy hook promise

The Sandy Hook Promise is a nonprofit which formed after the 2012 school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. It is led and founded by many families and loved ones affected by the shooting.

Their mission is to educate and prevent gun violence in schools and communities. As well as build and better state and national mental health and gun safety laws. To mobilize making a difference these kinds of nonprofits are vital. These shootings may never stop if something doesn’t change.

I don’t by any means say I have the number one solution to change it all, but I am dedicated to voting and making sure my voice is heard.

Sandy Hook Promise has made two strong videos showing the impacts of gun violence, along with steps to prevention. Take some time to watch: Tomorrows NewsDo you know the signs?

WOMEN

 “Who run the world? Girls!” -Beyonce

This midterm election was important in probably a hundred different ways, but what stood out to me the most, was the women involved in this race. Win or lose; women made an impact in this election.

“More women will be serving in Congress than ever before after the 2018 midterms.”

HELL YEAH is all I have to say. History has shown that being a woman in politics is not easy and there is an overwhelming amount of men than there are women. Now I may be basis because I’m a woman, but we should be proud of ourselves. We’re making history and it’s about time for that change.

GIPHY from betawards

Not only are they all women, but they come from a variety of different backgrounds; making themselves heard and involved as minorities. Too many minorities are looked down upon in our country and I will always stand behind changing that.

Reported by Vox, after this midterm we gain our first Native American women elected into legislative, the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress, the first black women in Massachusetts to represent the House and the first female governor in South Dakota’s history.

This election showed the strength and power of women in not only politics but across the country as voters. But as women, our fight will never be over. We fight against sexual and physical abuse,  unequal pay, harassment, and the list goes on…

Across the country and world, there are nonprofits who dedicate their work to empowering and helping women. Their missions range and their work may be different, but in the end, they all have the same goal. This article highlights some of the best nonprofits around the world, that support women.

GIPHY from hellogiggles

These kinds of nonprofits are important in showing women all across the world that there are people in their corner. You are not alone. 

To all my women out there. Love yourself and continue to chase your dreams; we’re all behind you.

 

 

The Hate Continues

As the violence continues in our world, we watch as people come together.

On Saturday, October 27, a shooter entered the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue, leaving 11 dead and others injured-being the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history. (Retrieved from The Washington Post.)

As the shooter’s actions brought great pain and loss, people were able to find strength and compassion to come together. Multiple funds have been set up to help the families and victims involved in the shooting. In the article by Ruth McCambridge and Steve Dubb, they talk particularly about the fund set up on LaunchGood supported by the Muslim community.

The campaign surpassed their initial goal and at the moment stands at $232,291, with two days left to donate.

It is these kinds of moments that show that people are able to come together and support those who endured an awful experience.

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We have to come together in these times of crisis, to show that there is not just hate and violence in this world, and that’s exactly what these campaigns are doing. The fund itself is set up on a crowdfunding site called LaunchGood. They are a nonprofit who gives Muslims a platform to raise funds for a campaign. (check out their “about us” section for more information)

By having this kind of platform the Muslim community was able to support the shooting victims and their families. The site helps the campaign gain attention and in return gain donations. When there is little hope left, the donations of strangers from around the world can make even the smallest bit of difference.

This is just a glimpse of what some nonprofits can achieve. They can do such amazing work, that may seem small to others, but changes the lives of some. In the times that we’re in now, there is plenty of nonprofits doing the work to support victims of hate crimes and anti-semitic crimes, like the synagogue shooting.

We should take the time to remember the lives lost on Saturday and other victims of countless-heartless shootings all over the world.

How to Prepare for the Nonprofit Job Market

There are many different ways to prepare for a career in nonprofit during college aside from courses and your major. Your degree will be important in obtaining a job after college, but employers are starting to look for more. They want to see your experiences and what kinds of hands-on work you have to show.

As a current college student, I have some of my own advice to give, but I also did some research to show you some other things people think you should be doing. This post from Allison Fine gives great advice and I agree with a lot of what she has to say! By merging her ideas and some of my own, I hope to give you useful advice on what you should be doing to prepare!

GIPHY from teendotcom.tumblr

finding an internship

I have mentioned the importance of finding an internship many times on my blog. Now you can take the advice from someone else and not just me!

In Fine’s article, she writes about how when obtaining an internship you should try and be apart of some kind of event or project the organization is working on. This is exactly what I did during my internship. My key role was to help the planning of their main event during the summer. I was there during the whole process and that experience was very rewarding. I was able to see how events come together and how much work it is behind the scenes. This allows you the opportunity to watch how an organization works from beginning to end.

Portfolio building

As a quick side note, I wanted to share the importance of portfolio building. In our field, the importance of visual work is more important than ever. Start saving all the work you do in a file on your laptop. Small or large-anything is better than nothing. If you start this early on, you won’t be scrambling before graduation to get your portfolio ready.

volunteer

I believe that volunteering can be just as important as an internship. (This may be easier at a smaller nonprofit) Before my internship, I volunteered in a different role in my organization. By doing so, you may have the chance to see the kind of work the nonprofit does day to day. In my experience, I was able to work with the kids that the organization was benefiting.  In return, this gave me the compassion and drive I needed.

informational interviews

Sit down and ask questions. Find someone in the field and ask them how they got into nonprofit work and what kind of work they did to prepare. Fine mentions to find an alumn, but I believe speaking to anyone in the field can be just as helpful.

 

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This will also allow you to network yourself before entering the career world. Having connections before you find a job is so important. My professor and I chatted about this and she also gave the advice to start doing informational interviews. This article gives awesome advice on how to land an informational interview!

familiarize yourself

You may think nonprofit is exactly what you want to do, but you have little knowledge on the field itself. Read up! In Fine’s article, she mentions how you should begin to follow nonprofit blogs. I started to do this in addition to listening to multiple different PR focused podcasts. The popularity of Podcasts has risen tremendously in the last couple of years and there is plenty of great ones out there! It’s a fun and great way to learn more about the PR world today.
Never be afraid to get a head start and use your time in college wisely!

Corporate What?

So today we are straying a bit from what you may expect from my posts. We’ll be focusing on a subgroup of the communications field called, Corporate Social Responsibility; or CSR.

Now you’re probably reading the word “corporate,” and feeling a bit confused. Corporate and nonprofit are not two terms you’ll see together often. Many people see nonprofits as the opposite of corporations and that is a lot of what attracts people to them.

GIPHY from bubly.com

So why are we seeing these two terms together?

That is because nonprofits need to be socially responsible, just like any for-profit business. Many people believe that CSR is not apart of nonprofits because they have a charitable cause. However, that is not the case and we’re going to explore some top reasons why!

(I couldn’t do this all on my own and I had some help from this awesome article!)

ethics

I believe ethics ties in well with social responsibility and a huge part of nonprofit work. Karin Bloomquist gives the many different ethical issues nonprofits can run into, including: “compensation; conflicts of interest; publications and solicitation; financial integrity; investment policies; and accountability and strategic management.”

All of these factors play a huge role in decision making at nonprofits, especially any finical issues. Nonprofits rely on donations to continue their work. A big ethical barrier is making sure that all donations end up in the correct area of nonprofit financials. Your donors donate so that they can help the cause, their money needs to then end up there and not towards an employees paycheck.

Bloomquist also stresses that ethics are vital in creating trust and credibility within your community. I believe in this strongly. Relationships and trust are so important to nonprofits so they can build and help those involved in their organization. Donors need to trust you, as well as, your community!

communication

Communication is key to any business; profit or not. As an organization, by improving your CSR you can expect positive outcomes. By communicating your organization’s mission and thoughtfully conveying messages, you can improve the quality of your organization overall. Nonprofits have their own set of rules and regulations to follow, but also should adhere to what other for-profit businesses are doing. Nonprofits alike should practice environmentally friendly practices, decreasing their footprint, practicing what they preach and continuing to be credible.

steps forward

By taking these into consideration, any nonprofit who starts to practice more socially responsible techniques will portray themselves better to the outside world. Not all nonprofits think CSR involves them, but in reality, it does.

Don’t be afraid of the “corporate” term because nonprofits are different in their own ways. We seek change and spend our careers doing so. By tackling social responsibility we’re not conforming, but bettering our organization’s creditability and quality of work.

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Meet a Nonprofit Expert

Meet Morgan Christiansen!

She is a young professional, animal lover and my older sister! My sister has inspired me professionally for years. With our six-year age difference, I have always looked up to her. I have watched as she graduated from college, moved back home and jumped around the job field.

Morgan played a role in first introducing me to jobs in the nonprofit industry. A couple of years ago I watched as she had some of her highest moments, as well as, some of her lowest at her nonprofit job.

We took some time to sit down and talk about her experiences in her previous job. Here are some of the highlights of our conversation:

What nonprofit did you work at and what did you do?

  • Luthern Community Services Northwest (Tacoma, Washington)
  • Refugee Resettlement Program Manager
  • Managing all pre-arrival activities for newly arriving refugees.

her experience

“Very rewarding, impactful, but also draining.”

In our conversation, I asked my sister what her favorite success story was while she worked at the organization. She explained how there was a lot of different stories. Her favorite was seeing how previous refugees ended up as case managers for new refugees arriving. She remembers those former refugees always being so “passionate and invested,” in their work. The organization allowed the refugees to then come full circle and help others. I could feel the compassion in her voice as she spoke.

Why did she leave?

My sister left her nonprofit and now works for a technology company, as a Renewals Manager.

Morgan left mainly because she saw no room for growth at her point in the organization. She also expressed some emotions about the difficulty of working in the nonprofit sector; “hard field to work in, lack of money, lack of resources, one person can only do so much, and takes a toll on you.”

Throughout our conversation, I was able to see that my sister saw both the strengths and weaknesses of nonprofits.

General nonprofit opinion

“Met some of the most incredible people I’ll ever meet in my nonprofit work.”

do it all over again?

When our conversation was coming to an end, I was dying to ask her if she would ever go back to nonprofit work. Her answer surprised me. She immediately answered, “Yes!” In previous years I had watched as the stress of her nonprofit job consumed her and broke her down. You could say I was shocked when she had no hesitation to my question.

She is at a time in her life where she is trying to build a life for herself. She is building her career and setting herself up finically. When she reaches her goals, she expressed she would love to go back to nonprofit work.

all in all

I absolutely loved having this conversation with my sister. We never have taken the time to sit down and talk about her experience, so this was a lot of fun! I saw first hand how hard it had been on her, but I now see how rewarding it really was.

The organization she worked at does amazing work. If your interested in nonprofit refugee work, or just kick ass nonprofits-check them out here!

So You’re in College and Want to Intern?

So classes are coming to an end and you’re wondering how you’ll spend your summer. Will you work, hang out with friends or catch up on sleep? There is one key option missing; getting an internship!

GIPHY from waitkirstenwho.tumblr

There are many different reasons why as a college student you should get an internship, but I also know there are many different reasons why you’re scared. Many college students fear to be the least experienced in the room, I know I was. It’s also uncomfortable to come into a workplace where most of the employees have worked there for yearsHere are some tips on surviving your first day at your internship!

All these fears are valid, but this is exactly why we are encouraged to do internships. By being the least experienced, you have plenty of room to grow and so many different people to learn from! My advice to any college student beginning an internship is to have confidence in themselves and their abilities. Confidence is where I lacked and  I was too timid and afraid to chime in. I would leave at the end of the day and feel like I was no help to anyone.

In return, I felt myself holding back. I was scared to speak up and this is my biggest regret. I wish I would have spoken up and involved myself sooner. So when you’re afraid to chime in, just remember, that is why you’re there! Your peers at your internship want to hear your fresh ideas and differing outlook.

At the end of my internship, I realized my fears, in the beginning, were wrong. Everyone appreciated my work and loved my ideas. I was apart of the team and I had no reason to be afraid. If you can fight through your insecurities, I promise you an internship can be a very awarding experience. No college lecture can allow as much hands-on experience like an internship can and that is why they’re so important. In my opinion, learning through experience is one of the best ways to learn.

What I want you to take from this post is that getting an internship is as important as your professors make it out to be. I didn’t prioritize seeking out an internship until later in college and I regret that. Find a local nonprofit that interests you and see if they have any listings up for internship positions.

Check out this website that shares some more great reasons to get an internship.

Happy internship searching, I wish you luck!

My Experience…

I have briefly touched on why I want to pursue a career in nonprofit work, but I would like to explore that topic in more detail, as well as, share a bit more about who I am.

We can begin a few years back when I first started college at the University of Oregon. I began college with the intentions of pursuing a degree in psychology. I wanted to work as a counselor for kids who suffered from drug/alcohol abuse in their homes. Alcoholism has affected my family for many years, and I know what it can to do the children in the homes, this was my main reason for wanting to pursue a career in counseling. It then became my college plan, and I had every intention of following it.

Like most may agree, we change a lot throughout college; I know I did. I began disliking the psychology major and sought out a different route. My biggest fear leaving the psychology major was that I would no longer be able to follow my career goals. I was set on counseling children, but I quickly knew it was not going to be the right fit for me.

 

Fast forward a few terms and I became a Public Relations major. I had no previous intentions of wanting to get into nonprofit work, but it somehow started to peak my interest. I then landed an internship at a local nonprofit on their development team, after I previously volunteered with them. With that experience, I learned more than I could have ever imagined.

During my internship, I realized that nonprofits were the perfect place to adhere to my original plan. I could easily work with kids in homes with alcoholic parents, without having to be a counselor. There are thousands of nonprofits whose main mission is to protect kids in those exact situations. I saw that I would be able to take my interests in public relations and merge them with my love and passion for helping kids. I realized I didn’t have to be hands-on, but I could still have that feeling of helping, and playing a part.

When my internship was coming to an end one of the directors shared a small, but impactful comment with me. She simply told me that she knew in her heart that I would end up working for a nonprofit. I smiled and thanked her, but kept my true emotions hidden. She didn’t know at the time how much that meant to me, but I knew I would remember that for years to come.

I will talk a lot about my internship on my page, so you should take a quick look at their website.

They do amazing work in the community!