A Day in the Life of a Development Intern

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July 1, 2019

Development Intern Moria McDermott at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. 

This summer, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago welcomed Moira McDermott as their Development Intern. Moira is from Western Springs, Illinois and is a rising senior at The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia majoring in Biology and minoring in Dance. This summer, Moira will be working under Julia Mendelsohn, Development Coordinator for Hubbard Street.  We asked Moira about her experience as the Development Intern, why she chose to spend her summer at Hubbard Street and her background in Development. 

How did you find this internship and what led you to Hubbard Street?

I took classes at Hubbard Street throughout high school, because I grew up in the Chicago suburbs. I’ve known about the internship for a little bit because I was floating around Hubbard Street’s website and I was thought Development would be interesting to intern in because it’s very applicable to a lot of things I’m interested in, like nonprofit organizations.

What days do you work and how do you commute to Hubbard Street?

I work on Mondays from 12:00-4:00 and Tuesday - Friday from 10:00-5:00. I take the train, which is about a block from my house. I get off at Union Station and then walk about a mile to Hubbard Street.

How does a typical day at work go?

Once I get to the office, I usually check my email and settle in. Then I’ll check in with Julia to see if there’s a project for the day or if she needs help with something that she’s working on. Sometimes I’ll attend the Development Meetings or External Affairs Meetings. For lunch, I usually bring my own and eat while I work because otherwise I just feel like I’m sitting there forever. I’m a really slow eater so lunch to me is just more snacking and on the go. The afternoons depend on the day, sometimes I’ll be checking in more because it’s smaller projects, like organizing physical and e-files of donors or individual giving and other times we’ll work on more ongoing projects, like prospect research for bigger donors and companies that require a lot of steps. It’s usually a mix between those and checking in with Julia to see if anyone else in the department needs my help. When the day is done, I’ll head back home on the BNSF Railway Line.

The Development team hosting HSDC dancers and board members at The Auditorium Theatre in Chicago. Photo by Cheryl Mann. 

What do your weekends look like?

It kind of depends. I work at a yoga studio on Friday mornings by my house called Core Power, they actually have them all around Chicago. I really like hot yoga and the cardio yoga class, which is great because it’s upbeat and they play really fun music. Then the rest of the weekend I’ll either visit friends or just hang out.

What has been something you really loved working on as a Development Intern?

Working on acknowledgment letters to recognize those who have given to the organization have been interesting because I’ve gotten to work with almost everyone in the department on different aspects of them. For grants, I’ll work with the Grants Coordinator, Nikki Horwitz. For big gifts, I'll work with the Manager of Donor Engagement and Development Operations, Dexter Carlson. Lastly, for individual gifts, I’ll work with the Individual Giving Coordinator, Ryn Osbourne. The acknowledgement letters basically thank people for being a sponsor, a subscriber, purchasing tickets, and contributing to the paddle raise. It’s important to let them know where their money is going and how they’re going to see it used in action. We let them know that we couldn’t function without their donations or support, and that we are able to run different programs because of their contributions.

Is there something you didn’t expect to learn?

I loved learning about the different roles the company dancers take on. They’re performing and touring, but in the summer, there are dancers who are teaching and choreographing at the summer intensives. We also have intern meetings every week with different staff members, like Glenn Edgerton (Artistic Director), David McDermott (Executive Director) and Jessica Tong (Rehearsal Director). I’m so glad we get to meet them and have really enjoyed learning about everyone's roles, I find it super interesting and informative.

What have been your favorite part about working as an intern for Hubbard Street?

I got to attend and work at the annual Gala or Spotlight Ball. It was super cool to attend and see what goes into creating this special night, how it influences Hubbard Street, and how beneficial it is to us. I think I  just really enjoyed seeing how everything functions. I feel like I’ve never been this immersed in a nonprofit organization. I’ve definitely been involved in dance, but nothing to this magnitude.

Spotlight Ball cocktail hour and gala dinner. Photos by  Stacey Rupolo. 

This internship has given me a really big appreciation for Hubbard Street and I think I’ll always be engaged with Hubbard Street from now on. I think it would be really cool to work here, but regardless of whether that opportunity would present itself, I think it’s given me a really solid working knowledge of a nonprofit organization. Development and Fundraising has been something I’ve always been interested in, but now that I’m practicing it and involved in it, I'm fairly positive I want to work for a nonprofit organization like Hubbard Street.

Learn more about all the internship programs Hubbard Street has to offer and how you can apply here.

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