Finishing Up at the German Village Society

Guest Blogger Ellen Fraser ’14

This Friday was the last day of my summer internship at the German Village Society.  This experience ended up not only being surprisingly relevant to my field of study, but it may have also opened my eyes to a great career possibility—nonprofit work and management.  As you know from previous posts, I worked a lot on improving the German Village Society’s social media use, and in all the classes that I went to the instructors always stressed the significance of identifying the specific audience that you are trying to reach with your social media activity on different platforms.  For example, audiences on our TripAdvisor page were most likely visitors of the Village, while activity on our Facebook and Twitter were mostly directed to current residents and Society members.

I have enjoyed the chance this summer to gain a little insight into nonprofit management and all that goes along with it, including event planning, marketing, and using your resources/space to hold events that generate revenue while still maintaining the mission of your organization.

Right at the beginning of my summer here, I had the opportunity to witness the craziness that is the biggest fundraising event for the German Village Society—the 53rd annual German Village Haus und Garten Tour.  It was a lot to prepare for, but the event ended up being outstanding.  It’s amazing how many people look forward to the chance to see some of Columbus’s most historic, unique, and urban homes and gardens each year.

Believe it or not, I didn’t just get to enjoy the events that the Society put on during my time here.   I had to work, too!  In terms of marketing for GVS, I spent most of my summer working on creating both a social media use strategy and a social media management direction document for GVS.  I went to classes taught by strategists and did my own research as well to choose what social media platforms would be best used by the Society and why.  I worked on building up our presence on the sites that we already frequented and creating a presence for GVS on the sites that we didn’t.  Finally, I drafted a management directions document for the benefit of the Society and future volunteers or interns.

The strategy and directions documents will be great for my portfolio and to present to future employers.

I learned a lot this summer, met some great people, and have gained skills that I believe will prepare me for future nonprofit internships and hopefully, eventual employment.

I have lived, worked and played in and around German Village my whole life; however, this summer provided me with a glimpse into how much of a neighborhood—in the most literal sense of the word—German Village actually is.  The positive relationship between the residents and their passionate devotion to the preservation of the area made this an extremely pleasant and inspiring place for me to spend my summer.  One thing I love about nonprofit organizations is that the members of the staff are committed to using their incredible intelligence and creativity to not only make money, but to champion a cause that is greater than themselves.

It was great getting to know everyone in German Village this summer, and I will miss working there while I am away studying abroad in Spain this semester.  Next year, I plan to either return to GVS or seek work at another nonprofit in either the Columbus or the Triad area of North Carolina.

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