We recently said goodbye to our wonderful Fall 2021-Spring 2022 interns and hello to our summer 2022 interns, and we are so grateful for everything they accomplish in their short time on our team. If you’re interested in an internship with us, check out our careers page to see what we have available! Here’s a reflection from our Donor Relations and Communications intern, Jake.
Blood:Water is a special organization. I thought it might be when I applied, and I am sure of it as my internship draws to a close. It isn’t often you have the opportunity to affect change and experience personal growth over an eight to nine month period, but Blood:Water moves fast. And slow, as it turns out, but in important ways.
Even at this point in my life, I have had the experience of working at a variety of excellent places, aiming for change in others’ lives. But I was still blown away by the mission, execution, and culture of Blood:Water.
Like many Americans, I have not had much experience with African countries. B:W represented a chance to be in contact with people who are creating lasting change, in places I didn’t know. But more than that, Blood:Water approaches the goal of ending these crises by making it about the people that are experiencing problems. It is a focused initiative, working with unsung heroes in communities that are often overlooked.
But these people are our partners, not simply beneficiaries of some monetary or physical gift. And it is the beauty of these purposeful relationships that I see as the power of Blood:Water’s mission. We are working to create lasting change, not slapping a band-aid on a problem that is in need of shifting solutions.
One of my favorite responsibilities at Blood:Water was updating partner grants and profiles. As someone who primarily worked with donors, this gave me an opportunity to look at all the amazing things our partners are doing, PER QUARTER. Condensing 20 page reports to a digestible form had its challenges, but was also incredibly rewarding. Despite being a literal ocean away, I felt a deeper connection with the amazing heroes we work with.
Being primarily on the donor side, I also had the opportunity to work directly with people wanting to use their finances for something more. I loved this part. I didn’t have to sell anything, because these discussions were a chance to show someone else the importance of the work our partners are doing. And that sells itself, very quickly, because we didn’t approach potential donors as demanding consumers, but as an opportunity to bring more people into the Blood:Water family.
Charities need money to function, but solicitation doesn’t create deep relationships. Our goal is always to increase awareness, and work with well-intentioned individuals who believe in our mission. And that shift in mindset is extremely rewarding.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my incredible co-workers. I had the unique position of being the first remote intern at Blood:Water, a position that was typically (and necessarily) in-person. Even in initial interviews, the term “guinea pig” came up a few times. But despite the distance, the culture of Blood:Water is infectious, and it is a culture of community.
We have a truly incredible team, in every division and facet. And these team members welcomed me with open arms, physical and digital. So thank you to Aaron, Liz, Jake, Caitlyn, Mindy, Dan, Nadia, Amanda, Lindsey, Michael, James, and my fellow intern Ryan. Gonna miss y’all.
I have truly loved and cherished my time at Blood:Water. The skills and knowledge that I have gained will definitely stay with me for the rest of my life. I have also found new perspectives that I can use to reshape my worldview. For example, I had previously had the notion that the main recourse that Africa was lacking in was education or perhaps modern medicine. Now I realize that the main recourse that Africa needs is proper funding.
There are plenty of competent individuals and companies that can exact change on rural Africa, however they lack the funding to bring their plans to fruition. This is part of the reason I love and respect Blood:Water so much; they fund these local organizations that know not only the land, but the needs of the people better than we could.
Working for an organization like Blood:Water has had pretty big implications for my future and career. I will make a concerted effort to work for a company that has a mission that coincides with my morals and or values. Pursuing this will not only improve my work-ethic, as I work harder when I care about the goal or mission on a personal level, but also fulfill the part of me that needs and longs to make a difference in the world.
Working for B:W has also brought me closer to God and made me want to involve myself with communities in need both here in Nashville and around the world. I had previously only been involved in community service around north Nashville, but I believe I can see mission trips and other forms of giving back in my future.
I had many preconceived notions about internships and the workplace in general that were, in a way, debunked by my experience at B:W. For starters, I was under the impression that interns typically just get coffee for other workers, file papers, and do other mundane tasks around the office. I personally can’t speak for other internships, but Blood:Water definitely took the time to help me grow as a designer.
While I learned a lot about the workplace and internships, I learned a lot about myself as well. I learned many new skills as well as strengthened skills I already had, and that I can create and design whatever I put my mind to. Before this internship, I had only touched the surface of motion graphic animation. By the end of my internship, I could confidently call myself intermediate. Without a doubt interning with Blood:Water has made me a much more well-rounded graphic designer.
I also realized that work spaces don’t have to be serious and competitive all the time. At Blood:Water, when people are in the office, many light hearted conversations are had. People can joke and talk pretty often and still get a lot done in a day. I’m not quite sure how Blood:Water found this balance, but I’m sure it has a lot to do with why the work environment feels like a family.
While I did learn a ton from the Blood:Water team, it didn’t come without a price. Along with the steep learning curve that comes with any good internship came the necessity of being able to take constructive criticism. When you finish college and get your degree, you think you’re unstoppable. However, no one tells you that you’ll be entering a new learning curve once you begin working in a real scenario. It can be a rude awakening to a young professional, but also a powerful opportunity for healthy growth.
On the topic of critiques, I have none. BW already has a good way of keeping the intern busy with work that doesn’t stress while also providing projects that push the skill of the intern. If I had to give a critical statement it would be to continue this practice and further improve it for the next generation of interns. To be honest, now that it’s my last day it feels like I’m waking up from a dream; you don’t want it to end, but you awaken anyway. All you can do is try to remember as many of your favorite details as you can, but in times like these my mother would always say, “Don’t be sad that it’s over, be glad that it happened.”
If you’re interested in our internships, check out our careers page!