Looking ahead, once your internship is complete

Towards the end of every semester, I often get messages from interns asking “now what?” Usually, the context for these messages is that the intern enjoyed the internship and wants to continue the activity—either at the site, or on their own—and would like some direction on how to proceed.

For those interns that are graduating, or are thinking ahead to life after graduation, a frequent question is, “How will I get paid (or be paid) for the kind of teaching work I want to do?”

If the intern is starting a private studio, then usually I suggest they start a website and link to their digital portfolio (or draw content from it). Most interns’ digital portfolios include some sort of Rationale Statement that introduces themselves as a teacher and how their approach to teaching is specific to them. Usually, these digital portfolios also have good quality media that shows them teaching, interacting with students, and reflecting on their work. These kinds of artifacts are just as important as videos or recordings of them playing, because it will give prospective students (and/or the students’ parents) some perspective on that person’s teaching style.

But for interns who are developing residency-type programs, workshops, or community programs, the path to self-sustenance may not be as clear. Those types of programs will need to be funded by grants, corporate sponsorships, or private donors—and often, a mix of sources!

In that case, I suggest learning about fund development. A good place to start is with some basic books—also available as iBooks or Kindle books—used by organizations like AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals) or CFRE International (Certified Fund-Raising Executive). Not only do these books provide a great overview of the types of fund-development strategies that are out there, but they outline basic (but important) elements of non-profit organizations that aren’t necessarily obvious unless you’ve read or studied about them. In fact, even though practically all trained musicians will work for dozens of non-profits throughout their lives/careers, it could take years to learn what makes a non-profit “tick” from a business/organizational standpoint.

The following books are a good place to get started:

  • Fundraising Basics: A Complete Guide. By Barbara L. Ciconte, Jeanne Jacob [Amazon]
  • Fundraising Fundamentals: A Guide to Annual Giving for Professionals and Volunteers. By James M. Greenfield [Amazon]
  • Strategic Communications for Nonprofits: A Step-by-Step Guide to Working with the Media. By Kathy Bonk, Henry Griggs, Emily Tynes, Phil Sparks [Amazon]

This isn’t an end-all, be-all list, but a point of departure! I’ll be posting more on the topic of Fund Development later.

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