ASU Lodestar Center Blog

Current nonprofit sector research and recommendations for effective day-to-day practice from ASU faculty, staff, students, and the nonprofit and philanthropic community.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012 - 8:32am


posted by
Brittany Miner

Internships are a great way for organizations to find human capital to address urgent needs at very little cost. Nevertheless, most organizations have much larger objectives in mind with internship programs. Oftentimes, internship programs provide a great way to find future employees by test-driving the talent first.

Internships often result in job offers

Obviously, many interns are motivated to do an internship in hopes of having the experience evolve into a full-time job. Some studies indicate that nearly 70% of
interns are offered full-time jobs as a result of the internship, with over 80% of the interns accepting the employment offer. There are however, other reasons why people get involved in internships. Some of these reasons are listed below:

  • They desire to gain more work experience and build their resume
  • They are fulfilling graduation requirements
  • They are exploring new career options in different industries

Finding interns

In the past, finding interns could be a tedious process. Organizations used to post ads in classifieds and work through employees using word of mouth. Although these methods are still employed and still work, in the internet age the process is incredibly easier and much more targeted through the use of websites. Listed below is just a sampling of internship matching sites that specialize in helping companies find interns. These sites help both the company and the intern find the right internship match:

Training interns
The success of an internship program has a lot to do with how effectively the intern is trained. Many experts suggest that you have a live telephone training "kick start" session. During this introduction you will provide a brief overview of the organization and give the intern the "big picture" of what they will be doing and what their objectives will be. When done properly, this can get the intern off to a great start.

Audio, video, written instructions and checklists
Once the initial overview has been accomplished, there are numerous ways to provide greater detail in the various training phases. One is to provide written instructions on how to complete the specific tasks they will be performing. Audio instruction and video training have also been used very successfully to train interns on how to perform the tasks they have been given. Checklists are extremely helpful for an intern during the initial phases of their experience.

Utilizing interns
There are countless ways internships can be used to benefit the overall goals of the organization. One of them is in finding the right people to hire. Internships are an effective recruiting and hiring tool. They enable you to find the right employee by trying them out in the position first. This results in greater employee retention.

Numerous ways to benefit from internship programs
Another advantage is that internships enable an organization to increase productivity at low costs. Organizations that desire to give back to the community find internship programs to be a great way to do it. Paid internship programs provide a great way to help economically disadvantaged youth to excel. Regardless of what your particular objectives are, there is a good chance that an internship program can benefit your company and the community.

Brittany Miner is a writer and volunteer for When she isn’t writing she enjoys spending time helping out in her local community. is a leading online portal for both companies seeking interns and prospective interns seeking companies offering internships of all types including nonprofit, for-profit, volunteer, paid, etc. Find more information on

Like this article? Get another!

Click here to read Sentari Minor's "Engaging and Retaining Skilled (and Key) Volunteers."


Thank you for writing such an informative post Brittany. It is a relief to read that 70% of interns are offered full time positions as a result of internship completion. Additionally, I agree that internships can and should be used as a tool for nonprofits to find/build human capital and to “test-drive” talent.

I am a student at Arizona State University and my degree (Nonprofit Leadership Management) requires students to complete a 600 hour internship their final semester. The idea behind the internship requirement is to allow students the opportunity to acquire hands on experience in the nonprofit sector, while applying the theories and practices learned in classes to a real nonprofit setting. Other motivations of the internship requirement include the opportunity to create a network in the nonprofit community, enhance resumes, and ideally lead to an offer of full time employment through the organization interned at. The program is a great asset to the nonprofit community in Phoenix because students are looking for full time internship opportunities every semester.

I recently secured my internship, and let me tell you it wasn't easy. Many organizations weren't interested in a full time intern, even when I was willing to work for no compensation. I understand interns require supervision and training but I do not understand why an organization would turn down the offer of a full time worker that doesn't require pay, especially in vital areas such as development and volunteer management.

During my internship search I utilized many of the resources Arizona State University provides to their students, as well as other resources such as and In the end it was my personal network in the nonprofit community in my hometown (Tucson) that led me to a great internship. I am excited for my internship and look forward to working as a development intern for an organization that strengthens families. The work outlined in the job description sounds like fun and I hope the organization appreciates my talent and work ethic. It would be wonderful if this experience leads to a full time position at the end of the semester, but I certainly won’t hold my breath.

Blog Archive