Organization: Direct Relief
Direct Relief is a humanitarian nonprofit agency working to improve the health and lives of people around the world without regard to politics, religion, ethnicity, gender, or ability to pay. Active in all 50 states and over 100 countries, the organization is equally committed to providing aid to a Santa Barbara street clinic and a Bangladesh hospital serving Rohingya refugees. Direct Relief responds to national disasters and humanitarian crises; works to reduce the global burden of both chronic and infectious disease; and strives to create better outcomes for mothers and children, among many other goals.
The organization works primarily by delivering medications, supplies, and funding to health centers, clinics, hospitals, public agencies, and organizations serving a particular locality. Local clinicians and organizations know best the unique needs of the communities they serve; Direct Relief’s goal is to understand, respect, and help meet those needs.
While the organization’s response to a destructive hurricane or devastating conflict is more likely to draw media attention, Direct Relief also works over the long term with healthcare providers and communities to improve health outcomes and enhance disaster recovery and resiliency. You’re equally likely to see Direct Relief staff members delivering an emergency shipment to the Bahamas, coordinating solar power installation on a clinic roof in Puerto Rico, or working to provide family planning options to displaced people in Syria.
Direct Relief will host one or both of the following internship positions. Please indicate in your cover letter which position(s) you are interested in.
Position 1: Communications Fellow
In order to inform the general public and existing and potential donors about Direct Relief’s local and global impact, Direct Relief would like to begin producing and disseminating a newsletter. Direct Relief’s new Communications Fellow will be responsible for developing and producing the first few installments of this newsletter, which will use an engaging, lively voice to inform readers about the organization’s activities and programs. No design skills are necessary, although you are welcome to bring a design sensibility to the position if you wish. Instead, the focus will be on reviewing other newsletters from across the nonprofit sector to discern and recommend best practices and choosing the best way to bring Direct Relief’s mission and work to life.
The Communications staff will be there to help you strategize and provide guidance, but the project will be fundamentally yours.
The internship is an ideal fit for a graduate student interested in nonprofit work, communications, or marketing. You’ll develop a valuable project for a professional portfolio – precisely the kind of work companies and organizations are likely to need. Along the way, you’ll learn organizational storytelling, interviewing, and research skills in a supportive, lively environment.
Working with Direct Relief’s Communications Director, you’ll learn to develop an audience for your newsletter, and use analytics tools to measure engagement. Because the organization is focused on advancing global health and reducing inequality, you’ll also gain broad knowledge about larger humanitarian, health, and environmental issues.
The Fellow will work in the Direct Relief headquarters alongside Direct Relief’s Communications team, but will also receive input and guidance from staff members who implement the organization’s programs and work closely with its donors. The internship will start in June 2020 and will tentatively take place over 20 weeks, for 10 hours per week.
Position 2: Archival Fellow
Founded by two Eastern European immigrants who fled Hitler’s regime, Direct Relief started providing aid to war refugees in 1948. Since then, the organization has had a long and complex history, becoming involved in disaster response, humanitarian conflict, disease outbreaks, and social justice issues.
Direct Relief’s Archival Fellow will be responsible for drawing on archival materials (many of which are housed at the UCSB Library), existing historical information, interviews with emeritus board members, and other sources to create a fresh, compelling history of the organization.
Depending on the story that emerges, and the Fellow’s vision and skill set, this history could take the form of a written narrative, a multimedia project, or even a physical timeline to be displayed on a wall in the Direct Relief headquarters.
This internship would be ideal for a graduate student with some experience in archival research and a strong interest in nonprofit work, communications, or marketing. You’ll learn organizational storytelling and brand development, and develop an essential project for your portfolio. You’ll learn (more) about 70 years of humanitarian and social issues. And you’ll play a vital role in helping Direct Relief tell its own story in a way that engages a larger public.
While you’ll have whatever guidance you need from the Communications team, this project should ultimately reflect your unique ideas, research skills, and approach to storytelling.
The Fellow will work in the Direct Relief headquarters alongside Direct Relief’s Communications team, but will also receive input and guidance from staff members who implement the organization’s programs and work closely with its donors. The internship will start in June 2020 and tentatively will take place over 20 weeks, for 10 hours per week.