Insights into a remote internship with Developing Radio Partners
If you’re a communications major, or if you’re planning to venture into the communications field in your career, it makes sense to look for a suitable communications internship to get some practical experience. During your search for the right internship, make sure to consider joining a nonprofit organization, as this might just offer the perfect balance of variety, responsibility, and rewards. At Roots, we offer a number of nonprofit communications internships, and one of them is with Developing Radio Partners, a media-focused organization that uses the medium of radio to disseminate important information to rural communities in Africa. We had a chat with the DRP team and one of their current interns to offer some insights into the internship experience they offer.
Nonprofit work requires strong communication
Telling the right story, and using the right channels to do this, is key for any nonprofit organization. Without the right communications strategy, potential donors won’t be reached, existing donors won’t get their ROI, and awareness won’t be spread in an effective way. For Developing Radio Partners (DRP), a US-based nonprofit, the importance of effective communications is elevated further because of the nature of their work; they make their impact by spreading important information to rural African communities. Communication is the principal component of the positive change they generate.
“Our mission is about helping some of the hardest to reach people – those living in rural and sometimes deeply remote areas,” explains Charles Rice, DRP’s CEO. “Accurate, engaging and compelling content is essential. In October, we produced a series of three TV and radio programs that used data and graphics produced by our interns. These programs reached virtually the entire country of Malawi.”
The role of a nonprofit communications intern
Creating this content – and managing other channels – for DRP is partly done by interns. “Our interns have been terrific in helping gather and analyze data about our projects,” says Charles. “Their material is then used in our reports to donors as well as in proposals for new projects. Our interns are also involved in creating and posting compelling data graphics on our social media sites. This lets our donors and potential donors know what we are doing. Additionally, we create regular newsletters that are emailed to donors – yet another way we take materials that our interns help research and write and engage with those interested in our work.”
A current communications intern at DRP is Noah Doty, a Media & Screens Studies student from Northeastern University in Boston, who has had a diverse portfolio so far. “I’ve been in charge of social media, Google Ads, data, graphics, and creating a Wikipedia page,” says Noah. “The experience has been very enjoyable and I’ve gotten to do a lot of work. Probably the biggest project I’ve gotten to work on is their national television campaign in Malawi, which used graphics I created as part of the programs.”
What makes a nonprofit communications internship different
The diverse nature of Noah’s work is representative of internships with small nonprofits. Being part of a small team of passionate people, as opposed to a larger corporate company, is that you get to play a large part in the overall mission. Your work actually matters. “Working for an organization like Developing Radio Partners makes the work feel important because you can see how much your work is needed and appreciated,” explains Noah.
“We promise a very hands-on opportunity,” confirms Charles. “Our interns are part of our staff meetings and work directly with our staff on everything from content development to proposal writing. We are a small organization, as a result, our interns get to be involved in virtually all aspects of our operation – interacting with our team in the U.S. and those in the field – in places like Malawi, Ghana and Burkina Faso.”
There are plenty of examples of tangible impact interns have made, according to Charles. “Our interns have been able to help us deliver more impact to donors due to their collecting and analyzing of data,” he explains. “This is something DRP was unable to do until we partnered with Roots Interns. We simply didn’t have the bandwidth. Our interns also helped us create our website. We have had numerous positive comments about the site and, again, we would not have been able to create the site without our interns!”
What you’ll learn during your internship
Given the depth and diversity of these communications internships, you can expect to learn a lot. Anything related to media development, according to Charles. “As mentioned, because we are small, our interns get to do a lot. We help interns improve their writing, understand what donors expect in reports and proposals, how to take complex information and boil it down to something easy to understand, help develop websites, work together as a team, work directly with our partners in the field and gain a greater understanding of how to listen and help others – whether it is helping to reduce child marriages or teen pregnancies – two areas DRP is sharply focused on in Malawi.”
A great springboard for any career in communications, whether it’s in the nonprofit sector or any other field. “Through this internship I’ve gained a huge amount of experience in digital communications and how non-profits operate,” says Noah, “and I could easily see myself going into this as a career.”
Applications for communications internships with DRP are now open!
If, after getting an idea of what to expect, you’re interested in applying for an internship with DRP, we’d love to hear from you, as we’re now recruiting interns for 2022. And apart from the above mentioned work, you’ll have a chance to get involved in some exciting new projects; “In 2022, we will be implementing a climate change podcast series targeting indigenous peoples around the world,” explains Charles. “It is a World Bank contract and for anyone looking to work in the world of media development, it will be a great opportunity to be directly involved in implementing this project.”