Written by: Hannah Lazere, CNP
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An estimated 500,000 to 1 million Americans work as unpaid interns every year. Though paid internships are becoming more popular, unpaid internships are still a reality for many. Without any wages to shoulder the cost of living, an unpaid internship ends up deepening the existing social divide. The road to making unpaid internships a thing of the past isn’t a smooth one. In some cases, organizations simply don’t have the financial means to pay their interns. 

In 2021, the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance strove to help make these unpaid internships more accessible by offering the Career Development Award. This Award program is designed to eliminate the barrier of an unpaid internship (in-person or virtual) and increase the diversity of the nonprofit workforce by providing $2,000 internship stipends for students like Hannah completing their Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) credential. 

One of my main takeaways I learned from my internship was the importance of being dynamic and adaptable. Working with a small and growing organization has taught me that situations and tasks may always change and to be ready for those changes to be able to act on them in an efficient and timely manner.  

I have also learned the importance of organization and effective project management. I would consider myself a fairly organized person, but through my internship experience, I learned how to use project management software and techniques that have helped me not only stay organized in my day-to-day tasks, but also in moving the needle forward in larger tasks that I work on little by little.  

Lastly, a key takeaway from my experience is that confidence is key! Even if I am not super skilled in a certain area, going into projects/ tasks with confidence and the belief that you can do something has allowed me to take on more tasks that I would have never done before and has given me more knowledge and skills in a plethora of areas! In addition to gaining confidence in my work, this internship experience has given me more confidence in my career direction and has helped me solidify the type of work I want to do in the sector. I am so grateful that I was able to complete my internship at GreenLight Solutions and work with such an amazing team! 

Hannah Lazere, CNPHannah Lazere is a recent graduate of Arizona State University where she received a Bachelors of Science in Nonprofit Leadership and Management and certificates in Cross-Sector Leadership and Special Events Management. She is passionate about creating and fostering sustainable and equitable communities where everyone and everything has the ability to thrive.

Hannah is excited to start her career in the nonprofit sector and learn from others who have paved the way and done the work to address complex issues in our communities.


“The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance.”