Make-A-Wish Brand Advancement Internship

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Through the efforts of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, kids with life-threatening illnesses can request to be granted “wishes” to bring some positivity into their lives. These wishes range from meeting hockey great Alex Ovechkin and practicing with him on the ice to rummaging through Best Buy on a paid-for shopping spree. Though there are some limitations, Make-A-Wish will do everything in its power to work some magic. Obviously magic requires manpower, and Make-A-Wish’s Brand Advancement department is a great way for passionate communicators to sprinkle their pixie dust.


Any Make-A-Wish employee will tell you that their job is sometimes difficult. It’s not easy opening your eyes to the harsh reality that many children in the world don’t get normal childhoods. Despite the somber nature of the work, it is incredibly rewarding. According to Richard Kelly, executive vice president of Brand Advancement and Chapter Operations at Make-A-Wish Southern Florida, every day on the job is different. “Responsibilities, depending on the time of year and the different workflows, include story writing, social media research, event social media production, video production and interviews with wish families, donors and volunteers,” said Kelly. Every new intern in the department is given the same title, but tasks are geared toward the intern’s strong suits. Whether you’re assisting the department through social media campaigns or event planning, you’ll spend your time with Make-A-Wish contributing your knowledge to the team and ensuring that the foundation operates smoothly.


If jumping right into work on day one sounds sweet, then cool won’t even begin to describe this internship. New interns will quickly receive important tasks upon arrival. No two interns will walk away with the same experience; Make-A-Wish does a fantastic job at letting their interns take on personalized projects that are related to their media and marketing strategies. Because Brand Advancement is in charge of promoting all of the organization’s programs, and because there are limited human resources, Brand Advancement interns play a very valuable role in each office. “They help us reach new audiences in new ways using the most modern technology and ideas,” said Kelly.


Caroline Kaplan

Brand Advancement Intern Caroline Kaplan feels fortunate that she worked with Make-A-Wish. The special projects that she was assigned, ranging from social media blasts to designing flyers, expanded her knowledge of branding and gave her a confidence boost that she believes will help her in future endeavors. “Regardless of the quality professional skills I learned at my internship,” Kaplan said, “the most valuable thing Make-A-Wish taught me is in the very words of its mission: ‘to enrich the human experience through hope, strength and joy.’” Internship opportunities vary depending on need, but positions are typically available throughout the year. If Brand Advancement isn’t your thing, check out one of the other departments: Development, Corporate Alliances, Chapter Support, Finance and Operations, Human Resources, Information Technology and Learning and Development.


Make-A-Wish looks for upperclassmen college students in undergraduate programs that are relevant to the department they are applying for. Once you find an open intern position that fits your skillset, you will fill out an eight-step application on their website. Not bad, right? The application site requests a resume or CV, so polish that sucker up before you send it their way. It also gives the option to sync to your LinkedIn account, meaning you’ll want to get your profile to All-Star status prior to this process. If your resume and LinkedIn are up to date, applying will be smooth sailing; it’s just a matter of finding the right position for you!


As with most nonprofits, Make-A-Wish is in the business of caring for people. The organization looks for big hearts and familiarity with the community you’ll be serving. A year of experience in a related field is recommended, but showing a strong passion for people will set you ahead of the pack. Brand Advancement interns that have taken communications and marketing-related courses will excel on the job, but all majors are considered. Nichoel Menicucci, volunteer manager at Make-A-Wish Northeastern California and Northern Nevada, seeks students that are “passionate about the mission, creative, hardworking and fun” when sorting through potential interns.


Because Make-A-Wish is a nonprofit organization, its financial priorities lie in serving the community, not themselves. While interns don’t receive an excess of tangible gifts during their internship, they won’t walk away with nothing. “I helped spread awareness about a mission that is so selfless and inspiring that it not only fueled me to work harder, but it made me want to be a better person,” Kaplan said. “A perk that this internship provided me includes hearing stories of wishes, whether from the families, coworkers or even the wish children themselves.” Fancy offices and free baseball caps are fun, but going home at the end of the day and feeling inspired by the things you accomplished at work feels much more rewarding. “I am positive that throughout my whole career, I will never work at a place again that has the same unique benefit as Make-A-Wish. The benefit I am referring to is the pure joy you feel that comes from seeing magic happen,” said Kaplan.


The best part of Make-A-Wish is that their internships cater to almost anyone’s needs. While many internships are simply the span of a summer, Make-A-Wish offers internships throughout the year. If you’re looking to spend your summers under the sun rather than in the office—that just might work! Make-A-Wish hires interns during the spring and fall semesters, allowing you to soak up the summer without forfeiting an opportunity to change lives. The organization also works with your school schedule to decide your hours. In addition, interns can be considered for permanent positions following their contract. “Once a staff position opens up, we encourage our interns to apply if they feel the position requirements align with their skills, talents and goals,” Menicucci said. “We have been successful in finding the right fit for a number of interns who are able to bring their skills, along with their comprehensive training, to the new position.”

Kyler is a junior communication major at Walla Walla University in Washington state. He enjoys scary movies, afternoon naps and the occasional outdoor adventure.

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