One of the best internships I’ve ever had is coming to a close, and it’s amazing looking back at what I’ve learned this semester. I am the PR intern for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), a nonprofit organization that organizes the Philadelphia Flower Show each year. Being hired for spring semester meant all the work I did made a direct impact on the Flower Show. My tasks always varied and I got a ton of hands on experience. From those tasks, I learned a few things I learned that might help you in the future.
How to Manage Volunteers
This was unexpectedly one of the hardest parts of my internship. People are very difficult to manage at best, and when they aren’t being paid it’s nearly impossible. One of my tasks at PHS was to organize volunteers for a media tent set up during the week of the Flower Show. I contacted everyone I knew, filled every shift, and then when the show began to approach, people began dropping like flies. Naturally, I panicked, but continued to recruit volunteers by reaching out to people outside my network. Luckily, I figured things out and, despite the mess, learned few tips for the future.
Make sure to stay on top of volunteers by sending them reminders. You should also recruit more volunteers than you actually need as a back up when people decide to back out. This back up list will come in handy and help you when you’re feeling as desperate as I was.
How to Effectively Interview Someone
Another task I had at PHS was interviewing a variety of people for blog content. I did in-person, over the phone and email interviews, and each time I did one, I got better at it. In the beginning I was a little rusty. A majority of the interviews were on the phone and I couldn’t take notes fast enough, I wasn’t articulating my questions the way I wanted to and I was a little lost.
Eventually, I got much better and felt like a veteran. I had all of my planned questions written down, along with the purpose for speaking with this person. I kept the conversation from straying too far from the topic by asking them to refer back to the original question when things began to drift. I also took much shorter notes, only writing complete phrases that I knew would be a great quote to include in my blog. When doing in-person interviews, I’d always ask to record them because then I wouldn’t have to worry so much about catching every detail.
Writing Blog Posts
Weekly, I was asked to write a blog post for the Flower Show’s website. I struggled assignment because these weren’t blogs for my personal website, these were blogs that were coming from PHS, and although I may have been the author, it was not my voice I had to portray. I realized I was using my voice through the edits my advisor gave me for my first few posts. To get away from that, I read through a lot of the PHS blogs that had already been written, along with the PHS website in general. From there, I was able to match the voice PHS wanted its audience to hear, while still putting my own creativity in the post.
By: Erin Quiles