Meet Hanna Werner, a Senior at Cornerstone University majoring in Communication Studies and minoring in Music. Hanna concluded her internship experience with us before graduating this December.

Everyone is Connected

Over the course of my internship at Kennari Consulting, I have learned some of the best, most effective fundraising tactics and strategies to help organizations, but my biggest takeaway from my experience is the importance of building and cultivating relationships both internally and externally.

The staff at Kennari have brains that are living spider webs of relationships. I’ve had the privilege of shadowing the team in meetings and it seems they know everyone in Grand Rapids. All 196,445 people. Okay, that’s an over exaggeration, but it sure seems like it! Staff often know not only who a donor is, but also who they should sit by at an event. They know who should ask them for support to elicit the best response. They know where the donor went to college and where their interests lie, so an organization can ask for support for the project the individual is most interested in. In Kennari minds, everyone is connected.

Initiating and cultivating relationships is essential to any career, and particularly so for nonprofit development, but you also need the knowledge and wisdom to navigate those relationships. I’ve learned you must take time investing in individuals, not purely to get that major gift, but to get donors engaged in your organization for the right reasons.

Everyone wants to be appreciated and given special attention. Why not give that to your donors?

Not only should you be cultivating your current and new donors, but don’t forget about the person who sits across from you or down the hall in your office. Development and fundraising is impossible to do alone. You need people to support your organization, both externally and internally. You need to have a team that works well together for goals to be met. By being around Kennari’s team, it has affirmed the need to respect and value those around you, ask questions, and encourage those questions to be asked.

I am just graduating from Cornerstone University and the individuals working in Career Services have always drilled networking into our heads. Some fellow students have expressed to me that they feel like it is inappropriate to “use” someone to get a job or ask for support, when in fact, people typically want to help! My dad has always told me, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” In some respects, that is the case. But you must have both. You must have the technical knowledge and wisdom to even utilize those professional relationships appropriately.

Overall, my internship at Kennari Consulting has increased my knowledge of West Michigan’s nonprofit community, given me the opportunity to do impactful work for clients, and connected me to individuals and organizations within the industry. They don’t make you feel like “the intern,” they include you in conversation and make you feel like a part of the team. Even the conversations I have had with the encouraging, passionate, and kind individuals in the office have impacted my life for the better.

If you are a student considering a career in the nonprofit industry, I would highly recommend pursuing an internship with Kennari because you are exposed to such a wide variety of organizations, projects, people, and job opportunities.

Thank you to everyone on the Kennari team for a great internship experience!


Hanna has been an absolute delight to work with during her semester here at Kennari Consulting. We are appreciative of her self-starter attitude, keen ability to take direction, and great sense of humor. We wish her the best as she begins her career in the nonprofit sector next month!

To learn more about Kennari Consulting’s internship program, please email Kim Kvorka at