Internships

As an intern, you will have the chance to work with professionals across the Institution.

Office of Advancement: Internships

The Office of Advancement accepts applications on a rolling basis year-round, but we typically fill internships for the summer, fall semester and winter/spring semester.

All internships are unpaid. We are willing to work with your educational institution to provide academic credit, if requested. All Internships are located in or near the Smithsonian Castle on the National Mall, Washington, DC.

All candidates should have an interest in fundraising and a development-oriented career with a particular interest in the area selected. The ideal candidate should be able to commit a minimum of 20 hours per week for a period of 8 weeks or more, will be someone who can take initiative and work independently, and will require limited supervision. Familiarity with Excel, Word and databases is very helpful. Specific skills are required for the Communications Internship and the Online Marketing Fundraising Internship, as listed below.

To Apply
The fall/spring/summer sessions run from Septepmber to December/January to May/June to August. We are currently accepting applications. To apply, submit an application through the Smithsonian internship online system. Once you've completed your application, Emily Mann in the Office of Advancement will receive it and share it with the communications team.

Emily Mann
Intern Coordinator
Office of Advancement, Smithsonian Institution
MannE@si.edu
Phone: 202.633.5078

Internship Opportunities

Campaign Communications - Editorial

The Communications Editorial intern will undertake a practical, hands-on learning experience in a small, busy, agency-like environment, coordinating and producing a wide range of projects in support of the Smithsonian’s Office of Advancement strategic fundraising communications efforts. These include:

  • Print and online materials, including the Smithsonian Annual Report, the IMPACT campaign newsletter, proposals, fundraising case statements, brochures, event materials, invitations, programs, presentations, remarks, and reports for Smithsonian boards and leadership;
  • Research, photo research, and other content preparation; social media;
  • Join a collaborative team consisting of the Communications director, manager, 2 writers, 2 graphic designers, working on projects across the entire Smithsonian.

There are no pre-requistites, but the preferred candidate will be able to strengthen her/his skills in the following areas:

  • Undergraduate or graduate student in communications, nonprofit management, and/or a related field with a demonstrated interest in communications and/or fundraising activities;
  • Strong writing and editing (include 3 writing samples), research, and photo research, demonstrated with writing samples, etc.
  • Strong organizational skills, attention to detail and interpersonal skills;
  • Self-starter, able to work with limited supervision;
  • Strong computer skills and knowledge of Microsoft Office and Adobe; pluses are proficiency in using Powerpoint/Keynote, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign;
  • Interest in learning to work in a large organization, and assist with the management of a complex flow of documents that require collaboration and multiple approvals;
  • Ability to exercise discretion and maintain confidentiality;
  • Familiarity with AP and Chicago style a plus;
  • Interest in communications design, photography a plus;
  • Starbucks coffee delivery at 3pm (just kidding)

This internship requires a commitment of 10-20 hours, and may be up to 40 per week. 

To Apply
The fall/spring/summer session runs from September to December/January to May/June-August. We are currently accepting applications. To apply, submit an application for the Office of Advancement Communications Editorial Intern through the Smithsonian internship online system. Once you’ve completed your application, Emily Mann in the Office of Advancement will receive it and share it with the communications team.
 

Emily Mann
Intern Coordinator
Office of Advancement, Smithsonian Institution
MannE@si.edu
Phone: 202.633.5078

Campaign Communications - Graphic Design

The Communications Graphic Design intern will support the Smithsonian’s Office of Advancement Communications team in creating a variety of strategic fundraising communications in print, online, PowerPoint, video, and other media. The Office of Advancement Communications team functions as a “creative agency” inside the Smithsonian, helping leadership shape and disseminate the Institution’s fundraising messages by creating a wide range of award-winning fundraising materials. Our clients are the leadership of the Smithsonian’s advancement office and fundraisers in every one of the Smithsonian’s 19 museums, 9 research centers and the National Zoo. The team consists of the Communications Director, the Communications Manager, two writers and two graphic designers.

The ideal graphic design intern candidate will be a strong collaborator and a pre-requisite is experience in Adobe Creative Cloud, including InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator and Bridge, and Microsoft Office. Experience in web and video platforms is a plus. The candidate should have enthusiasm for design and creating compelling communications materials in all media, and have good knowledge of current trends and design directions. S/he will be able to demonstrate graphic design skills by providing a link to a portfolio. This is a year-round opportunity. We host one intern per semester.  

As a member of a talented and busy team, the graphic design intern’s learning objectives include participating in a wide range of assignments that directly contribute to the Smithsonian’s mission and the team’s high-quality results. Projects in which the intern may be involved include:

  • A wide range of traditional print communications projects in InDesign.
  • Website development/mantainance, develop new web banners and graphic content
  • Presentation slides, infographics and sourcing compelling photography
  • Video projects
  • The intern can anticipate assisting the graphic designers with photo research, organization and securing permissions; under supervision, prepare printing specifications, sending these to printers and organizing estimates for review; readying files for release to outside vendors; create presentation mock ups, including trimming and binding, operating and helping maintain hi-end Epson printer and supplies; updating communication templates
  • Other administrative support such as organizing files and assembling production schedules
  • Starbucks coffee delivery at 3pm (just kidding)

This internship requires a commitment of 10-20 hours, and may be up to 40 per week. 

To Apply
The fall/spring/summer session runs from September to December/January to May/June-August. We are currently accepting applications. To apply, submit an application for the Office of Advancement, Communications Graphic Design Intern through the Smithsonian internship online system. Once you’ve completed your application, Emily Mann in the Office of Advancement will receive it and share it with the communications team.
 

Emily Mann
Intern Coordinator
Office of Advancement, Smithsonian Institution
MannE@si.edu
Phone: 202.633.5078

Campaign Volunteer Management / Smithsonian National Board

The Office of Campaign Volunteer Management is responsible for providing high-level stewardship and engagement for the Smithsonian National Board.

The Smithsonian National Board is a geographically and culturally diverse body of volunteer leaders that brings invaluable counsel to the Smithsonian and its many museums and research centers. Established in 1970, the National Board is the Smithsonian's only pan-Institutional advisory board. It fosters communication between the Institution and its members' communities, advises the Secretary on issues of Institutional advancement, and promotes successful public-private partnerships.

The intern will assist with preparation for National Board meetings and communications, and gain experience in planning high-level, multi-day events for the national board and guests. These events include a Smithsonian-wide New Advisory Board Member Orientation, Fall National Board Meeting, and an Alumni Study Trip. The components of these projects include research, logistical planning, preparing briefing materials, and on-site event management.

Other activities may include archiving, writing and editing, gift tracking (working with report templates), data quality management, tour coordination for National Board members and guests (assist in arranging special tours across Smithsonian, drafting itineraries), and assisting with other National Board-focused activities. Interns may also be called upon to assist with other Office of Advancement programs or projects.

Corporate & Foundation Relations

The intern will be involved with a variety of core corporate and foundation relations (CFR) research and communications related projects and will have the opportunity to engage in significant activity of the CFR department. A few of the many tasks for this internship include researching institutional prospects, helping coordinate corporate membership events, and editing corporate and foundation proposals for a variety of Smithsonian projects. Though working with the CFR team will be the intern’s primary function, the intern may also be called upon to assist with other Office of Advancement programs or projects.

Friends of the Smithsonian

The Friends of the Smithsonian Office (FOS) within the central Office of Advancement is responsible for providing stewardship and engagement for the Friends of the Smithsonian members, including members of the Castle Circle and James Smithson Society - giving circles for members at the $1,000 to $25,000 level. The Friends membership program is the oldest and largest of all donor membership programs within the Smithsonian, with a total membership of over 70,000 households throughout the United States and globally.

The intern will work in the Friends of the Smithsonian team and will provide technical and administrative support to the team of fundraisers, with a specific focus on events and communications both online and offline. The intern will:

  • Conduct online donor surveys on events and communication preferences
  • Research and help implement use of new email marketing platform
  • Help begin planning for 2018's Annual Smithsonian Weekend, to include coordination with museums across Smithsonian, research on upcoming exhibits, analysis of past years tours offered, relationship building
  • Archive donor photos and images for upcoming print newsletter, help with donor bios
  • Write, edit and/or proof read donor communications and membership collatorals such as brochures, letters, invitations, email communications, etc.
  • Create comprehensive lookbook of past events to help inform future planning
  • Draft gift acknowledgments or member queries (writing and editing)
  • Document member service activities and procedures
  • Assist with other administrative or stewardship projects, as needed

The intern will have:

  • Microsoft Office Suite experience
  • Database knowledge (or willingness to learn)
  • Attention to detail
  • Strong writing and editing skills
  • Interest in fundraising
  • Customer service experience

Online Marketing and Fundraising

The intern will support the Smithsonian's Online Fundraising team's online communications and marketing efforts, including opportunities for a content, web development and graphic design focus.

The Online Fundraising team consists of the Associate Director, Online Fundraising Manager, Advancement Associate and Crowdfunding Project Manager. Our goal is to showcase the Smithsonian's national reach and global impact online to inspire confidence and generate online support from audiences at all levels of the constituent and donor ladder. The Online Fundraising team implements communications strategies via online vehicles that motivate mass audiences, specific donor groups and targeted individuals to continuously increase their engagement. The Online Fundraising team consults with fundraising teams and leadership across the Institution to advise on best practices in digital fundraising strategy and impact-oriented communications.

The Online Marketing and Fundraising intern can anticipate being a part of a talented and busy team and undertaking a wide range of assignments that will directly contribute to the Smithsonian's mission and the team's high-quality results, and take away important skills for successful online marketing and fundraising strategy for large cultural institutions and nonprofits, including for e-mail, web, advertising and social media.

The ideal Online Marketing and Fundraising intern candidate will be a strong collaborator and quick learner with a mixture of strong writing skills, design skills and/or technical and front-end development experience. Experience with Microsoft Office necessary. Experience with and understanding of web markup, including HTML5 and CSS3, and design with Adobe Creative Cloud, particularly Photoshop is a plus. The intern will be able to demonstrate skills by providing samples of communications and marketing collateral, web development and/or web design. This is a year-round opportunity for one intern per semester.

Basic duties include:

  • Assist in finding content for monthly e-news and conversion opportunities
  • Assist with building e-mail communications to the Smithsonian central e-mail list
  • Assist with updates to websites and donation forms
  • Assist with testing, optimization, data analysis and reporting
  • Assist with updating content in ongoing cultivation and conversion campaigns
  • Manage outbound email calendar
  • Manage constituent experience through customer service e-mail management

Skill-based opportunities include but are not limited to:

  • Writing marketing copy for e-mails, websites and crowdfunding campaigns
  • Developing websites, e-mail templates and web experiences
  • Designing web-optimized graphics, comprehensive layouts and templates

This internship requires a commitment of 10-20 hours, and may be up to 40 per week.

To Apply
The fall/spring/summer session runs from September to December/January to May/June to August. We are currently accepting applications. To apply, submit an application for the Office of Advancement, Online Marketing and Fundraising Intern through the Smithsonian internship online system. Once you've completed your application, Emily Mann in the Office of Advancement will receive it and share it with the Online Fundraising team.

Emily Mann
Intern Coordinator
Office of Advancement, Smithsonian Institution
MannE@si.edu
Phone: 202.633.5078

Planned Giving

The Office of Advancement oversees and guides the fundraising efforts to the entire Smithsonian and is home to the central development organization for the Institution. In addition to raising significant support for a variety of Smithsonian initiatives, the Office of Advancement provides support services to advancement offices across the Institution. The office engages with staff throughout the Smithsonian in accomplishing their goals.

The intern will work in the Office of Advancement (OA) and will provide technical and administrative support to the team of planned giving (PG) frontline fundraisers and estate administrator. The intern will:

  • Research and execute donor and internal stewardship projects
  • Compose monthly E-Newsletters to distribute to Smithsonian Legacy Society (SLS) donors
  • Provide event management and logistics support for OA donor events
  • Plan monthly Smithsonian museum/unit excursions for OA team
  • Provide administrative support for multi-unit PG surveys
  • Assist in managing donor inquiry process and direct inquiries to appropriate PG team member
  • Prepare and mail SLS welcome packets and certificates to new qualifying members
  • Compose monthly SLS new member call sheets for SLS co-chairs
  • Prepare acknowledgment letters to estate executors and attorneys
  • Assist with bequest and charitable gift annuity termination process
  • Assist with review of legal documents and prepare estate files for digitization
  • Run gift, mailing and informational reports from database
  • Maintain and update donor records in database
  • Maintain and update filing system and procedures

The intern will have:

  • Microsoft Office experience to include Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint (familiarity in Outlook and Illustrator is desired, but not a requirement)
  • Adobe Software familiarity to include Adobe Acrobat Pro DC and Adobe Photoshop
  • Database knowledge (or willingness to learn)
  • Attention to detail
  • Effective communication skills and professionalism concerning donor information and decedent family members
  • Experience drafting correspondences and blog posts
  • Experience answering and directing phone calls
  • Customer service experience

Programming and Stewardship

“P&S” is responsible for providing appropriate high level stewardship and engagement for the Smithsonian’s most important donors. Specific activities may include assisting with cultivation and engagement events (including logistical planning, on-site support, and follow up), gift acknowledgements (writing and editing), leadership gift stewardship reports (compiling information and photographs, working with designers, writing, and editing), annual endowment reports (working with report templates, collaboration with museum colleagues), tour coordination for VIP visitors (arranging special tours across the Smithsonian, drafting itineraries), and assisting with other stewardship and donor focused activities. 

 

Prospect Development

As an integral part of the Office of the Advancement, the Research department provides leadership and support in the management of individual, corporate, and foundation prospects for the fund-raising initiatives of the Smithsonian Institution by identifying, researching, qualifying and tracking prospective and established donors. 

Projects may include monitoring news sources for information on the Smithsonian’s top prospects and other relevant information and putting together a weekly advancement newsletter; researching contact information for the Washington, DC, offices of major corporations; coding relationships in prospect accounts; working with other development offices to ensure Central Files contain all key prospect information; and researching various lists to identify new prospects.

Prospect Management

The Prospect Management department is primarily responsible for providing a system of prospect coordination to support fundraising initiatives across the Smithsonian Institution. Key functions within the department include: working with each museum and science unit on managing prospect portfolios; creating and upholding policies and procedures related to prospect management; and working to maintain the Institution’s major gift fundraising pipeline. While working closely with Prospect Management staff, the intern will gain knowledge of the prospect management system at the Smithsonian and learn about donors and fundraising activities for various projects across the Smithsonian.


Projects may include:assisting with reports focused onportfolio and pipeline maintenance; preparingfor meetings with units across the Smithsonian; assisting with monthly training sessions on prospect management policies and tracking systems; and maintaining records in the donor database. 

 

Regional Major Gifts

The Regional Major Gifts program, situated in the Office of Individual Giving, works to grow and strengthen our philanthropic relationships across the country with the giving potential of $50,000 to $1 million in support of a wide variety of projects across the Institution. While working closely with the Regional Major Gift team, interns will gain an understanding of the depth and breadth of the Smithsonian while obtaining hands-on experience in regional fundraising practices. The Regional Major Gifts Program staff works collaboratively with other staff in the Office of Advancement and across all units of the Smithsonian.

Projects may include:

  • Conducting research on the philanthropic landscapes of 8 regions of interest (Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, New York, Boston, Atlanta, Southern Florida)
  • Supporting the planning and execution of regional and local fundraising events
  • Coordinating donor mailings and other communications
  • Maintaining comprehensive calendar of the Smithsonian’s regional activities 
  • Assisting with general office support and other projects as they arise

Internship Opportunities Across Smithsonian

Advancement Internships at Smithsonian Museums, Research Centers and Programs

Visit the Smithsonian Office of Fellowships and Internships and choose the unit that interests you to find out if there are any open positions.