Meet the interns powering grassroots movements

Every academic semester, a team of paid interns jumps on board to join ActBlue in empowering millions of small-dollar donors and gain hands-on professional experience in politics, advocacy, and tech. Many of those interns end up staying with us for multiple semesters, and nine former interns are now staff members! Our incredible interns come from different corners of the country and study different disciplines, but what brings them all to ActBlue is a shared passion for creating positive change. At ActBlue, we’re driven by our mission to make it easy for people to make their voices heard and change our democracy. It’s why we’re always excited to include inspired students in the day-to-day work of serving small-dollar donors and helping groups on the left build people-powered movements.

Interns bring their diverse skills and unique voices to various teams across the organization, and their excitement to make a difference is the kind of electricity that keeps a nonprofit like ActBlue going! From supporting donors with the Customer Service Team to helping groups make contribution forms with the Outreach Team, interns see all the work and people it takes to make democratizing power a reality. As an intern myself, I’ve gotten a firsthand look into the big role interns play at ActBlue.

Natalie
That’s me, Natalie!

As I start my last year at Emerson College and my second semester with ActBlue, I realize how impactful this internship has been. I started this past summer knowing that the next three months would be really important in my career trajectory. After all, this was my first summer away from home — Milwaukee — and my last summer as a college student! I had to start figuring out what I wanted to do after I graduate, and I am so grateful that I spent this time at ActBlue. Through my work with ActBlue’s Communications and Marketing Team, I’ve had incredible opportunities to take on independent projects and be a key part of a nonprofit and larger grassroots movement. I got to face new challenges and learn firsthand how to craft content and engage with different progressive communities taking action! It’s this kind of mission-driven work and mentorship from people in ActBlue that have supported my growth as someone passionate about political communications.

No matter your major, everyone can put their talents and skills to good use in changing our country. I sat down with a few summer interns from different departments to ask about their thoughts on being an intern at ActBlue. I’m excited to share their stories and perspectives from their time powering the small-dollar donor movement!

Daria

Hayes

Daria is a rising senior in justice and peace studies at Georgetown University. She returned home to Boston this past summer as a Customer Service intern at ActBlue to support the millions of small-dollar donors using our platform to give to campaigns and organizations on the left.

I stumbled upon the ActBlue internship online, and the mission of making sure politics doesn’t have to rely on billionaires and corporations made me want to work here! My favorite part of this internship has been helping grassroots campaigns and the donors who support them, as well as the awesome conversations I have every day in the office. If you know you want to do something, but you don’t know what exactly you want to do, this is a great place to learn all of the ways you can participate in the civic process. Even if you may not be interested initially in customer service, you’re doing so much more than just talking to people — you’re helping. When you’re helping that one individual donor, you’re helping the entire grassroots movement.

Hayes is in his fourth year at Northeastern University studying political science and economics (with minors in urban studies, gender studies, and public policy!). Hailing from Charlotte, North Carolina, Hayes is an intern on the State and Local Outreach Team, helping research candidates in crucial down-ballot races who could use ActBlue’s fundraising tools to connect with small-dollar donors and drive winning people-powered campaigns.

I’ve worked on a few state, local, and federal campaigns in the past, but the ActBlue internship gave me a chance to work on the actual infrastructure of campaigns. Campaigns are often sprints, and one election cycle’s lessons can get lost when Election Day is done! I feel with our work at ActBlue, we are able to make that long-term investment in improving the left. We take lessons from past election cycles and create this infrastructure and fundraising tools that any group on the left can use, no matter what level of government. As an intern reaching out to Western and Southern states about grassroots fundraising, I’ve learned how to manage multiple projects and directly communicate with campaign staff or organizers. I get to see firsthand how important down-ballot races are, and as sexy as working on a federal campaign can be, focusing on helping smaller races has given me a new fire.

Bennett

Shalinee

Bennett is a junior from Oakland, California, studying political science at Tufts University. As an intern with the Partnerships Team, she helped ActBlue build collaborations and support groups on the left with our digital fundraising trainings and resources.

Some friends recommended the ActBlue internship to me, and I knew through the people I talked to and from ActBlue’s mission of lifting up small-dollar donors that there was going to be value alignment between the work I was doing, what I really care about, and what I want to have an impact on. As an intern with the Partnerships Team, I research organizations we are interested in partnering with and want to support. I’ve been able to take on responsibility for multiple short-term and long-term projects and learned to build healthy professional relationships based in communication! One of the highlights from my internship was sitting in on a phone conversation between my supervisor and United Working Families (UWF), one of our partner organizations. It was fantastic to see how my background research on the important work UWF does helped my supervisor understand what resources ActBlue could provide to help them achieve their goals.

Shalinee is starting her second year at the University of California, Los Angeles, studying linguistics and computer science. This past summer, she came back home to Boston as a Customer Service intern.

I’m studying computer science, but I’ve always been super interested in politics. Interning at ActBlue, a technology nonprofit, has shown me that I can combine my love for progressive politics with my background in engineering! I’m really passionate about accessibility to education, so it’s cool that even though I’m not a political science major, I can work in politics. This is my first time working in an office setting, and I’ve really honed my email writing skills and learned how to help donors with different questions as much as possible. One of my favorite parts of this internship is the 18 types of loose leaf tea and snacks in the kitchen, but above all, I love working with all the friendly people at ActBlue. They care about the growth of students throughout the internship, and that’s the most valuable type of internship program.

Want to join us in powering grassroots movements across the country as one of our paid interns? While we already completed the intern hiring process for fall 2019, we’ll be looking to welcome some more amazing interns for spring 2020. What better way to close out your school year than an internship that gives you a chance to make a difference, pays you, and gives you mentorship, a public transit pass, and snacks and coffee? If you’d like to be notified when our spring internship application opens — typically at the end of October — fill out this form! We’d love to connect with you then about your passion for changing the future of our country.

Make an impression with strategic social share settings

A fundraising campaign doesn’t end once a supporter makes a donation: It’s important to set up a really great action for donors to take after they’ve given! Chipping in makes folks more connected to a cause, so they’re eager to spread the word by posting about their donations on Twitter and Facebook. Make the most of this energy by creating custom social share settings that show up whenever a link to your contribution form is posted online!

Custom social share settings will make the donors sharing your forms feel like a part of your movement and will help make your brand more recognizable. While your own social media presence is crucial to your success, you have an opportunity to reach an even wider community when your small-dollar donors post about your work. And donors don’t just help you reach a wider audience — they often share their personal connection to the cause, which helps move others to action! Getting your social share perfect isn’t always easy, so here are some tips on how to get the most out of your social share.

First, check out how to use ActBlue’s tools to customize the images, titles, and descriptions for your Twitter and Facebook social shares here (including how to make reusable and default settings!). Once you’re familiar with the basics of social share settings, think critically about your goals. Beyond getting the word out to new audiences about why your mission matters and giving supporters an action to take after donating, you are promoting your professional brand. Your social share is a representation of your campaign or organization that will be seen by many. Your image and text should reflect your values and goals, while empowering people to join you.

1. Keep in mind who your audience is on each of these platforms. Are you targeting the same supporters on both networks? For example, according to Sprout Social, more women than men use Facebook, whereas men and women use Twitter equally. While Facebook is generally used by people of all ages, Twitter is generally used by a younger audience, with 40% of users ranging from 18-29 years old. Once you have an idea of the audiences you might be reaching on each platform, it’s easier to craft your message.

2. Just as Twitter and Facebook’s audiences are different, so are the dimensions for images and graphics. Check this handy guide to ensure that you are uploading the correct size! Make sure the graphic you choose to include is as compelling and thoughtful as your message. Think carefully about whether or not you want the graphic to depict an image, text, a donation button, or a combination of all three. What is most important is that your image reflects your brand. Using the same colors, fonts, logos, and images as your form branding is a great way to build your brand and create continuity across platforms. You can use our easy template to make a simple, professional graphic that matches the rest of your online presence.

3. Keep the custom titles and descriptions for your social shares short, so they don’t get cut off! You can check to see how your text (and graphics) will look on Twitter using this resource and on Facebook using this resource. Always remember to use inclusive language that builds authentic, horizontal relationships with your supporters — this can be as simple as writing “We can win, but only if we do it together” instead of “We have the solution, and we need you to help.”

4. Twitter is all about keeping things short and sweet. Keep your custom tweet text to 71-100 characters for the most retweets. You only have a couple seconds to make an impression while potential supporters are scrolling through their feed. Using action-oriented language that motivates and empowers readers is a great way to engage with people whose values align with yours. Instead of explaining why people should care about your mission, explain why they should act!

5. There are additional best practices to keep in mind when posting links to contribution forms from your own accounts! You can explicitly ask supporters to retweet a post from your Twitter account that features your social share for an increase in retweets. For peak engagement on Facebook posts, you can use up to 100-119 characters. While 19 more characters than a tweet may not seem like a lot, it can add up and allow you to squeeze in a few more words about why it is crucial to make a donation now. And no matter where you’re posting, a call to action is critical in motivating those who come across your social share.

There is no one way to create a compelling social share — just make sure you energize potential supporters and share what makes your campaign or organization worth their donation! If you are looking for more social media strategies for your campaign or organization, there are many different resources to help you hone your message and create a strong social media presence. Sprout Social has a guide for political campaigns looking to improve their digital skills. TechSoup has nine tips for nonprofit organizations that are trying to get a better handle on the growing world of online fundraising.

Your supporters feel a personal connection to the cause when they donate. Giving them an opportunity to share their contribution on social media is just another way to empower and uplift the voices of small-dollar donors, so take a minute and customize your social share today!