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Career Opportunities in Philanthropy—Internship Program

A critical factor limiting the growth of philanthropy in Adventist institutions is the shortage of qualified professionals. This challenge is not limited to Adventists and extends to thousands of nonprofits throughout the country. As philanthropy programs have grown, the need for senior professionals has risen more quickly than the number of professionals available. Therefore, there is an urgent need for a “fast track” environment, which would produce qualified philanthropy professionals to fill senior level positions.

As a means to address this growing challenge, PSI created the Career Opportunities in Philanthropy internship program. The Career Opportunities in Philanthropy (formerly STEP/UP) program is designed to attract recent college graduates and adult professionals considering a change of career to the field of development. Participants in this internship program are placed at approved organizations within the North American Division where they will receive extensive mentorship and training opportunities as well as exposure to multiple areas of fundraising.

If you are interested in applying for an internship position or would like to have your organization consider to receive an intern, please read on and find out what Career Opportunities in Philanthropy can do for you. For more information about this program, please contact the Associate Director for Program as PSI.

Criteria for Participation:

Post Graduate Mentoring Program: (1 year program)

Any recent colleges graduates seeking a year-long mentoring position in the field of development at an approved Adventist organization are eligible.

Experienced Professionals Mentoring Program: (2 year program)

The object of the new program is to identify seasoned professionals who have a college degree and have been successful in another career field for a minimum of 2 consecutive years and desire a mentorship opportunity in the field of philanthropy. They must be willing to remain at the institution for at least two years. Those candidates who are selected will have demonstrated professional work skills and ethics from prior employment.

Steps to Success:

Professionals entering philanthropy must commit to learning and skill development. Below are some of the requirements that must occur for a successful transition:

  • Applicant must attend the PSI Conference on Philanthropy & Leadership Symposium if it occurs during mentoring process.
  • The Mentor is expected to remain at institution during internship.
  • The PSI board can recommend that an institution be released from the program for noncompliance or for adopting activities and practices that the PSI board finds to be detrimental to the overall success of philanthropy at the institution.
  • Performance-based grants from PSI will be given quarterly. To receive the grant the institution must complete the “Completion of Objectives” requirements and forms and send accompanying materials to PSI.

Guidelines to Programs:

Post Graduates Professionals:

Applications are accepted year-round and may be found at

This program provides institutions with a grant to cover a portion of the salary expenses incurred. Grants awarded as follows:

  • Up to $21,000 or 60% of the salary for a first-year position.
  • Up to $14,000 or 40% of the salary for an optional second-year position.

Experienced Professionals:

This program seeks to place professionals in full-time positions at Adventist institutions. Each institution will interview and hire the professional through regular institutional policy and undertake necessary steps to regularize the position (i.e.- interview processing, relocation, benefits).

There will be a one-year initial agreement of employment with a 2nd year renewal expectation/provision. Grants awarded as follows:

  • Up to 60% (maximum salary of $24,000) for year one.
  • Up to 40% (maximum salary of $16,000) for year two.


Post Graduate Professionals must complete 6 of the 12 categories listed below during the year-long employment.

Experienced Professionals must complete 9 of the 12 categories listed below during the first year and the second year will be individualized:


Below are activities which might be considered as fulfillment of each of the areas. It is expected that a successful intern will complete every bullet point within a chosen category. However exceptions can be made if the individual can show extensive work in other areas of the same criteria. PSI will also consider alternative activities which the organization and intern feel meet a specific criteria. However these alternatives should be discussed with PSI in advance of the submission of a report to ensure a smooth review process.

Professional Growth (Required category):

  • Membership in AFP, AHP or CASE – active and attend meetings regularly.
  • Service club of choice (Lions, Kiwanis, Rotary) or evidence of volunteering in community as representative from your organization
  • Read 2 approved books related to philanthropy and submit book reviews on each (select from CFRE suggested reading list)
  • Write a personal plan for your areas of interest and growth in development incorporating notes from your weekly meeting with mentor.

Major Gifts – Donor Relationships

  • Show active involvement in cultivation process
    • Four cultivation visits
    • Four major gift asks
  • Prepare proposals and needed materials
  • Create a cultivation plan for a specific donor

Annual Giving Program

  • Write a case statement
  • Assist with campaign goals
  • Write two direct mail letters
  • Assist with a phonathon
  • Develop a gift club plan

Special Events

  • Assist with planning for event and event budget
  • Create an event time-line
  • Coordinate an assigned event area
  • Work with volunteers
  • Assist as appropriate in event execution
  • Write event evaluation and identify strengths and weaknesses

Capital Campaigns

  • Attend outside training on capital campaigns
  • Help create, revise, or show your involvement with established institutional plan
  • Attend committee meetings
  • Identify and list strengths and weaknesses of institution’s current plan
  • Assist with development of campaign materials
  • Produce a gift-range chart
  • Create an institutional time-line


  • Write script for phonathon
  • Assist with training of volunteer callers
  • Coordinate a calling session
  • Make 15 calls
  • Write follow-up letters
  • Pledge processing
  • Write plan to handle difficult callers


  • Review and assist with Development Plan of institution
  • mission statement
  • fundraising goals
  • targeted markets
  • needs statement
  • gift vehicles
  • budget
  • timelines
  • individual assignments
  • Attend committee meeting on developing strategic plan
  • Report on progress of assigned areas and variances

Boards & Volunteers

  • Assist with board giving campaign
  • Attend meetings & report on giving as appropriate
  • Assist in material/report preparation
  • Work with board members as assigned
  • Attend member visitation
  • Create or work with a development committee or similar

Database Management

  • Submit the Fundraising Fitness Test
  • Implement/execute policy for special recognition including handwritten thank you notes on receipts over a centain amount, etc.
  • Assist in prospect research
  • Significant responsibility in recordkeeping/file development
  • Attend database training

Grants / Foundations

  • Do research on grant possibilities
  • Identify four potential foundations with matched interest
  • Prepare and submit one grant application
  • Attend training session on grant writing


  • Write two articles for institution’s newsletter
  • Write one article for the Philanthropic Dollar (PSI’s enewsletter)
  • Assist with ongoing development communications (magazine, annual report, etc.)
  • Develop an internal communication plan
  • Create philanthropy-driven marketing materials such as brochures, flyers, etc.

Other / Miscellaneous (PSI approval requires but could include items such as:)

  • Create and present to specific audience on some aspect of Philanthropy
  • Encourage memorial gifts by creating two advertisements for institution’s newsletter
  • Submit two corporate funding proposals
  • Attend training on planned giving
  • Assist with a recognition event

Transforming together.

Training is certainly not cheap. However, this program was designed by PSI to help your organization get the greatest possible impact from your investment in the leaders of tomorrow.

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