AIF Summer Intern Experience 2013

 Intern Abushale Shakir with CEO M.A. Ravi Kumar

This summer I worked for the American India Foundation (AIF). Working at the main AIF office in New York, NY allowed me to be close to key decision makers in the organization. It is where the Chief Executive Officer works, and a place where board members meet. It is also where the majority of AIF’s US staff work, in departments such as Communications and Development. Everyone at AIF was open and approachable and I felt that I could reach out to anyone.

At AIF, I was a Jeff Metcalf Marketing and Development intern. On a day-to-day basis, I worked closely with the Development and the Communications teams. I assisted both departments with a variety of tasks, including compiling information for AIF’s Annual Report, organizing and analyzing spreadsheets on AIF’s impact, and organizing different files to streamline operations. Working with both departments was very useful because marketing and development go hand in hand yet serve distinct and important functions within any organization.

Along with helping the Communications and Development teams with general work, over the course of my internship I primarily worked on a marketing strategy project. My goal for the summer was to present several marketing strategy recommendations to raise the public’s awareness of AIF. For this project, I based my recommendations on existing research on marketing and nonprofit best practices as well as on a competitive analysis I conducted. I spoke with several employees at AIF and looked through many nonprofits online to narrow down my list of organizations to compare with AIF’s marketing. I measured the ‘competitors’ across a variety of metrics and identified best practices. At the end of my internship, I presented my findings to my colleagues.

Interning at AIF taught me about the work AIF does, about philanthropy and development more generally, about social media and online content marketing, and about the realities of working in an office environment. Colleagues at AIF imparted knowledge to me from their many years of professional experience, giving me much to contemplate in honing my career and personal goals. This summer, I discovered that I enjoy researching and learning, but that I am still unsure where my career interests lay. I would like to be involved with economic development in the future, but am still deciding in what capacity. My internship at AIF has given me much to reflect upon.

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