VOLs Remote Internship Program
CCI’s annual virtual internship program focuses on recruiting rising seniors and recent graduates to intern in nonprofit social media and digital communication settings to gain hands-on skills and experience.
We are especially emphasizing recruitment of first-generation college students and/or students from low-income communities who are interested in working in a metropolitan area.
50 UT Seniors
applied in the first three years, many noting that their original internship plans were canceled due to COVID-19.
25 National & Global Nonprofits
were willing to host students.
10 Alumni Mentors
were involved in providing advice and professional development seminars for interns over the course of the program.
As the world transitions to new ways of working post-pandemic, this remote internship is part of the solution, providing students critical opportunities they need to succeed in today’s challenging job market and offering organizations structure and support to new digital challenges.
The program provides students with the experience and opportunities they need to bolster their resumes, grow their professional networks, and hopefully land their dream job.
We are now accepting applications from:
Nonprofits: Hosts from small-sized 501(c)(3) organizations, ideally members of a nonprofit’s communications team with time to provide weekly intern guidance and feedback and based in NYC, LA, DC, Chicago, or another metro-area in the US. Apply here by April 1.
Interns: University of Tennessee College of Communications & Information rising seniors or May graduates, ideally interested in social good. Apply here by April 28.
Mentors: University of Tennessee College of Communications & Information alumni, ideally working in marketing or communications for the private sector with a strong understanding of digital media. Register here.
Supporters: The College of Communication & Information is committed to providing students with experiential learning opportunities, and recognizes the barriers to entry for some of our students. With investments from donors like you, students can earn a wage for their work over the summer, and support a non-profit in their mission to make our world a better place.
The internship program takes place during an 8-10 week period this summer, beginning in late May/early June.
|April 1||Nonprofit interest Deadline|
|April 28||Student Application Deadline|
|June||Internship begins (dates vary by nonprofit)|
|July||Internship ends (dates vary by nonprofit)|
The remote internship program focuses around a set of weekly projects that could be tailored or adapted by each nonprofit host as needed. The time commitments and tasks are tailored for each nonprofit’s needs, but we aim to provide each intern with a similar experience. For example, last year’s weekly schedule for each stakeholder looked like the following:
Nonprofits: ~2 hours per week providing background, direction, and feedback on social media content and related projects carried out by the intern
Interns: ~8-10 hours per week creating social media content and other related projects
Mentors: ~1 hour per week providing advice on working remotely and digital communications best practices
Students will also receive additional support and opportunities for professional development from UTK alumni mentors each week, including training on work-from-home foundations and nonprofit digital communication best practices.
How can I help?
Volunteer to be an alumni mentor.If you are a UT alumnus currently working in social media or a similar communications role, we need alumni mentors to spend ~1/hour a week giving students feedback or advice.
Donate to the scholarship fund. We aim to raise $5,500-$10,000 that will go directly to the student interns to compensate them for their hard work. Visit giving.utk.edu/volsremoteinternship to donate to the Vols Remote Internship Scholarship.
Spread the word. If you are or know any nonprofits who would be interested, please share this page or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What type of nonprofit will participate?
Small nonprofits are defined as having less than 20 employees.
Located in a metropolitan area such as NYC, LA, Chicago, DC, etc.
Organizations that have at least one full-time communications team member available to provide 1-2 hours worth of weekly training, guidance, and feedback each week for approximately 8-10 weeks.
What are the benefits for hosting nonprofits?
Content: Interns will help increase the volume of your social media content, which can help overall reach and engagement.
Training: Alumni mentors will conduct the initial social media best practice training and remote work onboarding, reducing the time investment of hosting nonprofits compared to building a remote internship program completely in-house.
Analytics: Part of the tentative alumni-led training will focus on quantitative and qualitative analysis of the hosting nonprofit’s recent social media performance, which will provide valuable insights to inform the nonprofits’ future social media strategy.
Learning: As nonprofits return to new ways of working, this program will allow hosting nonprofits to experiment with this already-tested online internship model (including an already drafted weekly schedule, intern activities, and evaluation for the program).
Networking: The nonprofit leaders will have the optional opportunity to network with other nonprofit hosts and alumni mentors to share learnings and best practices.
Contribution: COVID-19 has had a significant impact on both internship and full-time job opportunities, so your organization is helping develop new solutions to the longterm economic impact of the pandemic by participating in the program.
What are the benefits for the students?
Opportunities to bolster their resumes, grow their professional network, and set them on a path to eventually land their dream job. During this internship, they will:
Learn social media best practices from alumni mentors working in communications
Develop a portfolio of engaging social media content
Understand life in the nonprofit sector
Practice working effectively and efficiently online
How will students be selected?
Students will be initially vetted by a committee of University-affiliated professionals for academic performance, need, and answers to simple application questions.
We are open to additional criteria requested by the hosting nonprofits and encourage a student screening interview with the hosting nonprofit.
Will the students be paid?
The U.S. Department of Labor states unpaid internships are generally permissible for nonprofit charitable organizations. We believe rising seniors and recent grads will gain invaluable experience and bolster their resumes by working with one of our hosting nonprofit partners. The limited, flexible weekly hours also allow flexibility for students who need to pursue other paid opportunities to do so.
At the same time, we think it is important to find additional ways to compensate students for their hard work. We are working to crowdfund donations to provide student stipends for their hard work.
We want all students to be compensated at least $15/hour for 10 hours/week for 8 weeks for a minimum total of $1,200.
Therefore, we are looking for a mix of nonprofits who can pay students directly and those who are interested to apply for our new “Nonprofit Internship Grant” where students are paid via a donor-funded scholarship resulting in no cost to the hosting nonprofit eligible for the grant. Please complete this initial internship interest form to receive more details on the nonprofit host grant.
How can I get more information?
If you have any questions or wish to learn more, email us: email@example.com