Learning and growing at CDP

In October 2023, I joined the Center for Disaster Philanthropy team as the development communications and fundraising strategy intern. As a senior in college entering my first internship position, I was ecstatic to be welcomed into a space where I would have the opportunity to gain valuable work experience and learn from those who have worked in the nonprofit sector for many years.

Now, with my internship nearing completion after an eventful six months, I am filled with a mix of emotions – gratitude, reflection and a profound sense of growth as I think about how being a part of CDP has prepared me for my future journey as a professional.

A unique opportunity

As an undergraduate student, I took an interest in many career paths that I believed would fulfill my aspirations. It wasn’t until after I changed my major, studied abroad and experimented with different courses that I realized how much the nonprofit field aligned with my personal ambitions. I knew that no matter the mission I chose to support, the most important thing driving my decision-making was the certainty that I would work for something much more important than myself.

From the outset, I knew that this internship with CDP would be a unique opportunity to merge my passion for the nonprofit sector with my desire to acquire the skills necessary to become a meaningful contributor to a team. What I didn’t anticipate, however, was the depth and breadth of experiences that awaited me over these past few months.

One of the things I appreciate the most about this internship is the chance to witness firsthand the pivotal role teamwork plays in completing successful projects and forming innovative ideas. Whether crafting compelling narratives, designing engaging content or harnessing the power of social media to amplify our message, every task was an opportunity to weave together the threads of storytelling, inspiring donors and supporters to join us in our mission.

I’ve had the privilege of working alongside a team of dedicated professionals who have mentored me and empowered me to take ownership of my projects and ideas. Their guidance, feedback and encouragement have significantly sharpened my skills and expanded my understanding of the intricate nuances of working in development. With no prior experience in the field, I was extremely fortunate to work under the leadership of Devin, Nevean, Emily and, most importantly, Sonja, who was with me every step of the way.

Learning and growing

Throughout my time at CDP, I’ve been challenged to think creatively, adapt to changing circumstances and approach problems with a solutions-oriented mindset. Whether learning how to maneuver through our constituent database or developing a communication strategy plan for the upcoming year, each task allowed me to push my boundaries and challenge whatever doubts I previously had about myself.

Like any other learning experience, I faced my fair share of hurdles. I struggled with not being confident in the work I produced, coupled with having to divide a large portion of my time to complete mountains of schoolwork, which often left me feeling overwhelmed. Yet, through these challenges, I learned the true value of resilience, self-management and the importance of embracing failure as a catalyst for growth.

Thank you

To my CDP family, thank you for believing in my potential. You have not only shaped my professional journey but have also left an undeniable mark on my personal growth and development.

As I embark on the next phase of my career, I do so with a renewed sense of purpose and passion. While this internship may be ending, the lessons learned, the connections forged and the experiences gained will continue to guide me as I strive to make a meaningful difference in the world around me.

Dajah McCants

Dajah McCants

Development Communications and Fundraising Strategy Intern