On Alumni Day, my cohort of Futures in Advancement Interns had the opportunity to meet with interns from the previous two cohorts. We all enjoyed breakfast and coffee as we got to know one another. Through activities and anecdotes, the alumni were able to offer valuable advice to me and the other interns. This provided us a new perspective while helping us better understand our roles at the Rutgers University Foundation.
The alumni that we got to meet gave us valuable information that will help us throughout the rest of this internship, and in our professional careers. Each alumnus shared advice regarding the program, development as an industry, and life in general. Many of the alumni talked about the value of the final cohort project. The project is not just about delivering a finished product, but learning to work in groups with different people. This process instills a strong work ethic that is important in the professional field. Some other lessons that were shared with us by the alumni was to keep things professional and build your network because you never know when you may need it. Another alumnus talked about the importance of fundraising and the role it plays in a student’s everyday life. Donors are the inciting force that help push university programs towards excellence. Another alumnus took a different spin on what they learned about development during their time as an intern. She stressed the importance of understanding development, because as interns we are actually given a chance to immerse ourselves in it. Many other students will never learn the complex nature of development, which is so integral to many professional career paths.
The opportunity to hear the stories of past alumni was invaluable and helped me realize the true value of fundraising. Development is about much more than just reaching a dollar amount. It is about fostering relationships, funding ground-breaking research, building scholarship funds that change student lives, engaging people of all age groups, and advancing the future of an organization or institution. Thank you to all the alumni for helping me realize this.