Insider Experience- Melissa Anese UWP Summer Intern!

Reflecting back on my entire internship, I feel like it’s been far more than a summer. Here at United Way of Pennsylvania, I hit the ground running. I remember in my first week going to meetings about community schools and sitting in on UWW webinars. I even made my first guest appearance in the Capitol during week one. I was expose to the budget season and what it takes to advocate on behalf of a cause. Informing legislators about 2-1-1 seemed like a no-brainer until you compile that alongside politics.

Shadowing Maggie in the Capitol really gave me the insider’s view into how successful advocates work. You have to know the lay of the land, all the legislators by face, and their staff. At first, it all was quite overwhelming, but as you get familiar with the whole process, it actually makes you feel like you somewhat know what’s up.

I feel like all of my accomplishments have come within the last month or so. In June, I laid out the conference program, which was really just the practice round for everything else I was going to do. Between legislator list updates and other tedious work, I became ready to devise my own projects. During the internship, I produced three main works which I can proudly call my own:

Advocacy Toolkit—The advocacy toolkit serves as a resource for Local United Way members to aid them in advocacy efforts. Establishing a connection with your local representative up at the state level creates a very smooth connection in times where you need legislative support. This toolkit was designed with tips and tricks in mind alongside what United Way’s expectations for LUWs are and what United Way of Pennsylvania has to offer for its members.

United Way of Pennsylvania Membership Directory for Legislators—This has probably been my favorite project so far. The Membership Directory is for legislators so they can see what their United Way is up to and what types of efforts and programs are being made around the Commonwealth. Each UWP member has their own page explaining their vision, mission, key focuses, programs they support, and what kind of work they are up to. It’s another legislative tool that manifests itself as almost a quick reference guide to PA United Ways. It also features advertisements from local community partners of member United Ways so legislators can see some of the real world impact United Way has had.

UWW Marketing Refresher Webinar—This project demanded a lot of digging from me and brought out my creative mind. Alongside UWW’s 2017 credo update came new marketing strategies and materials. I decided to host a webinar refreshing members on what exactly those changes are, how to readapt to the new messaging, and resources that are out there for them to utilize.

Though these projects feel like a huge part of my internship, they came along swimmingly in the grand scheme of my daily work. There is a lot to say when it comes to non-profit advocacy, especially when you’re heavily into public policy work. My internship here at United Way of Pennsylvania has taught me a lot about the real life way of advocacy and getting things accomplished. The internship has also taught me a lot about my design skills. Mostly, this internship has aided me in professional growth, experience, and has only furthered my pursuit of advocacy work. Thank you, Kristen, Maggie, Lois, and all of those LUW members I met along the way who showed me how cool you cats really are—the faces of non-profit work, the hand-raisers, the game-changers, LIVE UNITED.

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