• Project With Nonprofit Helps Interns Connect With Community

    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals
    August 6, 2014

    Rosetta’s pro-bono internship project is a way for the company to give back to its community while providing its interns with an experience that allows them to use their skills in a project-based setting outside of their day-to-day project teams.

    “We pride ourselves on making sure interns get real world work experience,” says Halley Rosetta’s director of talent acquisition. “When they start, each intern is assigned to a team and spends a majority of his or her time supporting that team with client projects. Those projects are often already in process or just kicking off which means they never get to see it from start to finish.”

    Meanwhile, the internship project is broken out into a 10-week period, allowing interns to use and develop their skills while taking the lead on similar work Rosetta completes for its clients and to see it through from beginning to end.

    “Historically, we always had an intern project that would help to fill any ‘extra’ time they had believing that in order to give them a positive experience we had to keep them busy,” Marsh says. “A few years ago, we decided to use that ‘bench’ project as a way to also teach them about more of Rosetta and help the community.”

    She points out that Rosetta hires interns into 40-plus unique positions and much of their focus is directed at their respective skill set.

    “We wanted to give them a comprehensive understanding of everything we’re able to do for our clients, and that’s where the internship project comes in,” Marsh says. “It allows them to work in cross-functional teams outside the scope of their normal roles, giving them insight into the breadth of solutions Rosetta offers. We see it as a great selling point for students interested in gaining some real hands-on experience. It allows them to essentially take the lead on a project throughout the summer while working with interns in different locations and providing solutions to organizations that can really benefit from them.”

    Rosetta’s senior leaders help determine the right nonprofits to work with.

    “The executive support has made this project work,” Marsh says. “We have been focused on nonprofits that our executives are heavily involved with, as it helps to get in contact with the right people at the nonprofit to execute on a marketing initiative effectively.”

    Rosetta trains its interns before they begin work with the nonprofits during an Internship Project Kickoff, when the nonprofit provides in-depth background on its organization and where Rosetta’s internal stakeholders break down the different deliverables the interns will be working on throughout the summer.

    Rosetta also provides training to help the interns understand the nonprofit’s clients. This has included participating in a poverty simulation where interns learn what it is like to live on $400 per month, viewing a video simulating the experience of a patient struggling with schizophrenia, and spending a day at early childhood centers to understand the programs available to the children enrolled in those programs.

    “For example, there are four key deliverables this summer: a website, training and knowledge transfer, a launch plan, and marketing collateral,” Marsh explains. “For each of these, we had training as needed to make sure the interns were able to deliver quickly and to the Rosetta standard. We have a number of full-time Rosetta team members who act as subject matter experts for each area, providing guidance and support to interns as they complete the project throughout the summer.”

    She recommends that organizations considering a similar program start small and give it time to grow.

    “A big part of the project for us is to allow the interns to see their work from start to finish,” she says. “Going too big too soon might compromise that. When looking for a nonprofit to partner with, it also helps to look internally for team members who already have strong ties to one they’re passionate about. Having an executive sponsor or leader with an existing relationship can be a huge help.”