How To Recruit and Hire for Nonprofit Internships

Nonprofit organizations improve communities by providing impactful services, including everything from educating, sheltering, healing, nurturing and so much more. Nearly everyone in the United States has benefited from a nonprofit organization in one way or another. The roughly 1.3 million nonprofit organizations in the U.S. need assistance to operate and help as many people as possible.

Internship programs offer numerous benefits to nonprofit organizations. Interns provide much-needed assistance, unique skill sets and fresh ideas. Internships can also lead to new hires that help the organization operate and grow for years to come. Even interns who do not become full-time employees often remain proponents of the organization.

There’s no denying that nonprofit internships are valuable, but finding the right interns can be a challenge. Discover how you can recruit and hire interns who will have a positive impact on your organization through their hard work and unique skills:

Where to Locate Your Nonprofit Interns

Nonprofit internships offer many benefits to the organization, as well as to the interns themselves. However, locating the right recruits may feel like finding a needle in a haystack at times. The following are several places to find quality recruits, so you can spend less time searching and more time offering your much-needed services.

College Career Offices

College students make excellent interns, as they’re often eager to learn about the industry they study. University career centers often have partnerships with businesses and nonprofit organizations and counselors can connect interested students with your nonprofit. This option often results in quality interns, as the students enter the career office seeking such opportunities.

Online Platforms

Online job listings are becoming some of the most popular places for potential interns and employees to find work. Sites such as SimplyHired and Indeed[BM1]  allow you to post your internship opportunity and review candidates online. Many online job platforms offer special rates or free listings to registered nonprofits.

Social Media

A strong social media presence is essential to the success of a nonprofit organization. It’s also one of the best ways to reach Gen Z, millennials, and older demographics. Use Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and other social media outlets to launch campaigns and sponsored posts advertising your nonprofit organization internships.

Word of Mouth

Word of mouth is one of the easiest and most effective ways to get the news out about your available nonprofit organization internships. Let current employees and your community know about available opportunities. Your organization’s positive reputation will help the word travel fast. Someone on your current team may already have a friend or acquaintance in mind.

6 Tips for Hiring Interns

How you hire interns can have a significant impact on their experience at your nonprofit organization. The following are a few effective tips to help ensure your potential interns understand what the position entails and how the internship can be mutually beneficial.

1. Explain the Internship Requirements Thoroughly

A key factor in finding the right interns and better ensuring they meet your expectations is being transparent. Interns should fully understand the responsibilities of the position, their expected schedule, and how you’ll measure their performance.

Many interns are juggling internships with school and or jobs. It’s important for them and the organization to know if the role is something they can handle. Now is also the time to explain what an ideal candidate looks like and the specific skills and characteristics you expect the intern to have.

2. Establish a Consistent Screening Process

A screening process narrows your list of potential candidates which helps you avoid hiring individuals who do not fit your organization’s needs. Your screening process may include the following methods and any others that are more specific to your nonprofit.

  • Review the intern’s application
  • Check references
  • Verify their skillset
  • Perform an online or phone interview
  • Perform a background check

3. Ensure Each Intern Has a Supervisor

Interns are typically seeking work experience or looking to fulfill requirements for a specific qualification. Assigning a supervisor to new interns throughout the hiring process and beyond will help ensure they understand their responsibilities. The supervisor is also the first person an intern can consult with questions or concerns.  

4. Emphasize the Organization’s Impact

Individuals seeking nonprofit internships are often looking for meaningful work that has a positive societal impact. Ensure that potential interns understand the cause the organization supports, how they’re increasing awareness, and how the intern’s position will help the organization achieve its goals.

5. Reflect and Offer Feedback Often

Interns are often eager to learn and advance in their careers. Establish time for interns to discuss the position and their experience as new recruits with their supervisors. While this may include reflecting on their goals or feelings about the organization, it’s also a time for interns to provide feedback.

Nonprofit internships are designed to benefit the intern and the organization. Interns can offer valuable insight into the pros and cons of the organization’s operations, scheduling demands, the recruitment process and more. 

6. Remain Adaptive

Being able to adapt is essential to an organization’s success. Remember that not all interns will become full-time employees and that your internship program may change as your organization grows or develops.

Keep an open mind when assessing potential interns, as some may prove to be greater assets than their resumes can express. An intern you thought was an ideal hire may not work out, while a less-qualified intern exceeds your expectations.

UST offers virtual HR solutions for organizations that don’t have full-time HR departments. We provide a complete range of HR resources to resolve HR issues quickly and smoothly. Our solutions support the unique needs of nonprofits, so you can stop worrying about HR concerns and focus on extending your organization’s positive impact.

For more insight into human resource best practices for nonprofits, join our newsletter.

Sources:

https://www.chooseust.org/ust-hr-workplace

https://www.chooseust.org/solutions-overview

https://www.volgistics.com/blog/how-to-recruit-nonprofit-interns/

https://www.wholewhale.com/tips/where-to-look-for-nonprofit-interns/

https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/about-americas-nonprofits/nonprofit-impact-communities

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/benefits-internships-nonprofits-students-scott-wylie#:~:text=By%20offering%20internships%2C%20nonprofits%20can,them%20in%20their%20future%20careers.

https://www.chooseust.org/


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12/21/23 10:54 AM

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UST maintains a secure site. This means that information we obtain from you in the process of enrolling is protected and cannot be viewed by others. Information about your agency is provided to our various service providers once you enroll in UST for the purpose of providing you with the best possible service. Your information will never be sold or rented to other entities that are not affiliated with UST. Agencies that are actively enrolled in UST are listed for review by other agencies, UST’s sponsors and potential participants, but no information specific to your agency can be reviewed by anyone not affiliated with UST and not otherwise engaged in providing services to you except as required by law or valid legal process.

Your use of this site and the provision of basic information constitute your consent for UST to use the information supplied.

UST may collect generic information about overall website traffic, and use other analytical information and tools to help us improve our website and provide the best possible information and service. As you browse UST’s website, cookies may also be placed on your computer so that we can better understand what information our visitors are most interested in, and to help direct you to other relevant information. These cookies do not collect personal information such as your name, email, postal address or phone number. To opt out of some of these cookies, click here. If you are a Twitter user, and prefer not to have Twitter ad content tailored to you, learn more here.

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