Building Relationships on a Philanthropic Journey

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As is the case for the majority of internships, I really didn’t know what to expect coming into the position as the engagement intern for Blood:Water.  You can read the internship description, but those words often don’t do the actual living experience justice. When I read the engagement internship description and talked with the engagement team, I knew I would be interacting with the Blood:Water donors. However, I didn’t know for certain in what capacity.

When I walked into the Blood:Water office, I was immediately welcomed. Not only is the office space inviting, so is the Blood:Water staff. Whether it’s answering my questions or sharing details about the organization’s history, everyone in the office has been so kind.

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Since beginning my internship, I’ve written numerous thank you cards, worked within Blood:Water’s online donor database, provided logistical support in launching a monthly donor campaign, and more! While some of these tasks seem monotonous at times (writing thank you notes isn’t always the most exciting), these actions are crucial to Blood:Water. To put it simply, without their donors, Blood:Water wouldn’t be able to do the work they do. Donors enable an organization to breathe life into its mission.

Last semester, I was in a class called Philanthropy and Grant Writing where we discussed the philanthropic world and actively participated in the grant making process. One of the books we read was “Imagining Abundance” by Kerry Alys Robinson. Throughout her book, Robinson shares many great principles about philanthropy. One idea that impacted me was the fact that philanthropy centers on relationships.

For example, when I raised support for my internship last summer, the people who gave to me were those who knew me and my parents. If someone gives to Blood:Water in honor of their wife or mother for Mother’s Day, this action is built on a relationship with a loved one. When people are invited to come alongside an organization, they are partners in the organization’s endeavor.

Relationships are fostered throughout the philanthropic journey. Writing thank you cards every week for those who give to Blood:Water is evidence of  this relational aspect. Witnessing and applying what I learned in class is both enriching and encouraging.  Having a small part in continuing the relationships Blood:Water has with its donors is an honor.

Hannah Eland - Engagement Intern
Hannah Eland - Engagement Intern