Kennari Consulting’s Internship Program is designed to inspire the next generation of nonprofit development professionals, by engaging participants in various steps of the nonprofit fundraising process. Main tasks involve directly shadowing our consultants as they work within various components of client development departments, planning educational Roundtable Events for Kennari clients, and providing essential support to the Kennari team and our clients.
The program seeks a diverse student pool from a variety of local colleges and programs, who indicate interest in developing an understanding of the nonprofit sector. Participants leave the program feeling empowered about their personal career journeys, and excited to actively engage with the community.
After welcoming more than a dozen interns to our program, we thought we would check in with a few past interns to see where they are now and what advice they have for future applicants. Quinn Kendra, Sarah Mariuz, Daniel Rivera, and Hanna Werner are all graduates of the Kennari Internship Program and offered the following insight into their experiences.
When did you intern at Kennari?
QK: Fall 2018
SM: Summer and Fall 2015
DR: Summer 2018
HW: Fall 2017
What made you decide to participate in the Kennari Consulting Internship Program?
QK: I wanted to participate in the Internship Program because I was curious about careers in consulting, and nonprofit/community-focused organizations are areas that I am passionate about. Reading through the description of the internship further intrigued me and, after meeting some of the team and interviewing, I knew that Kennari would be a place that I could learn a lot.
SM: I met Kennari Consulting when I was a Junior at Grand Valley State University. Kirstin and Laura (Kennari consultants) came to talk to one of my nonprofit classes. One message was clear: Kennari Consulting was very well-involved in the nonprofit sector. In fact, Kirstin and Laura encouraged us to intern with one of their clients. Like any student, I needed an internship, but I liked the idea of working from their angle. So, I approached both ladies after class and asked, “how can I intern with YOU?” I ended up applying for their internship that spring and by summer I was interning at Kennari Consulting (back in my day – Parrish Consulting).
DR: I decided to participate in the Kennari Internship program because I was struggling with the idea of what kind of career I wanted to pursue. I’m an advocate for the Latinx community, so giving back to my community has always been ingrained in my mind. Therefore, when I found the opportunity at Kennari, I knew that it would be the perfect exposure for not only building my social capital but also to see what kind of opportunities are available for individuals who want to give back and make a career out of it.
How has Kennari helped shape your work?
QK: Interning at Kennari has taught me to be self-motivated. The team trusted me with tasks that I could complete independently and in a method that complements my work style. I have gained confidence in myself that has allowed me to work with less direction than before, making me much more confident to eventually immerse myself in the workforce.
SM: This internship solidified my passion to work in the nonprofit field. Formerly an Accounting major, I switched my major half way through college to Public and Nonprofit Administration. You never know what you truly want to be when you grow up though, until you experience it. Experiencing a nonprofit world through my Kennari Consulting internship was just want I needed to feel confident going out into the “real world.”
HW: One thing that I learned while interning with Kennari is how every nonprofit organization is unique and there is no “one-size fits all” solution. Yes, there are best practices and solutions that have worked for others that you can learn from, but ultimately, it takes a combination of big picture data, knowing your donors, and knowing your industry to talk through the best solution for your organization.
What was your favorite thing about the program?
QK: My favorite aspect of the internship program was the shadowing experience. I loved being able to understand and witness workplace interactions between different positions while also networking with directors of multiple organizations.
SM: What was great about working with Kennari Consulting was that they knew the barriers nonprofits faced – which is often more than one. Their job is to educate and encourage their clients to make changes that allow them to advance their missions. I was able to see the inside challenges and opportunities nonprofits faced and work closely on several internal campaigns, such as a capital campaign, gala, table-hosted event, and the day-to-day work of development professionals.
DR: I enjoyed the staff the most. One thing that greatly helped me during my time at Kennari was the team. Every day was a joy working with them and they were very open and willing to help with any questions I had. I learned a great amount from the team members and they gave me insight into the world of fundraising.
Where are you in your career now?
QK: I just graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public and Nonprofit Administration from Grand Valley State University! I plan to continue my studies in graduate school at Michigan State University as a part of their Urban and Regional Planning program.
SM: For the past 3+ years I have continued my journey in the nonprofit sector. I now work as a Community Development Manager for the American Cancer Society (ACS). I have the privilege of working with countless volunteers on events that are making a difference in the lives of those battling cancer. Together, volunteers and myself, are hosting successful Relay For Life events, as well as other fundraisers that raise needed dollars to support the fight against cancer.
DR: I am currently finishing my undergraduate degrees at Ferris State University. I plan to complete my undergrad experience in the Fall of 2019. This summer, I will be studying abroad in Costa Rica and, upon my return, I will be working at the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Through this office, I will be working for the Building Bridges through Education Program, which helps bridge the gap between Latinx college students and employers to connect them with internships, employment, and professional networks.
HW: Right now, I am still in the beginning stages of my career. I was able to land a full-time position as a Development Coordinator right after graduation and am working daily on fundraising initiatives and strategies, as well as marketing. I get to write, plan and be a part of events, and work on various communications such as email marketing and printed materials.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about applying for the Internship Program?
QK: I would tell anyone who is interested to apply for an internship at Kennari! I truly think that all types of workers and learners could thrive at an organization like Kennari. If one were to apply, I would advise them to be open, honest, and humble themselves. Applicants do not need to know everything about nonprofits, consulting, or fundraising when applying or interviewing for an internship at Kennari. It is a learning experience!
SM: Even four years after my internship, I can still say that I consider those at Kennari Consulting friends and mentors. I truly feel that my internship all those years ago shaped me into the development professional I am today.
DR: Be open to new ideas. In this position, you will be able to meet several people, research many organizations, and do unique work. Coming into the office with an open mind is the best tip to make the best out of this experience.
HW: Stay connected. One of the most valuable things I have found is to stay connected with people along your journey – internship supervisors, professors, bosses, etc. Build relationships and leave great impressions. These connections provide mentorship, network, and various opportunities (and a great reference)!