At this point I only have a couple weeks left of work and it is starting to stress me out. This summer feels like it’s going by so quickly but at the same time I’m starting to see how much I’ve grown and changed.
Being at EMILY’s List (EL) for this long has made me a lot more comfortable in DC and with the work I’m doing. I’m happy this internship is 10 weeks long. 10 weeks felt excessively long to me when I first heard that but that amount of time has allowed me to learn everything and now I am so comfortable with the work I’m doing on a day-to-day basis. I feel like I’m a productive member of the Major Gifts team at EMILY’s List, and the work I get asked to do is necessary to my team and it helps EMILY’s List as a whole.
Most often at work, I am asked to create and export call sheets. Call sheets involve a lot of work and they can be a bit tedious. Coming into my internship I didn’t even know what a call sheet was. In case you’re like me and didn’t know, a call sheet is a summary of a donor or perspective donor’s giving history, wealth information and a summary of who they are. At EMILY’s List we work to create these call sheets for our President Stephanie Schriock. Stephanie then uses these call sheets to guide her conversations with the donors and potential donors when she has “call time.” Call time a time set aside for Stephanie to make calls to donors in order to ask for contributions.
I recently learned that call time is a huge part of fundraising in the political realm. For example, in most campaigns call time by the candidates constitutes for about 70% of the money raised by campaigns. And that money plays a huge part in running a successful campaign.
Despite the importance, creating call sheets is not that fun. It’s a tedious process that involves many steps. I’ll be honest, the process of doing all this research on people you do not know at all can get a little creepy. It’s incredible what you can find on the internet about people. I’ll walk you through my daily process of creating a call sheet!
So my day will usually start with an email from my supervisor listing the names of 3-5 current EMILY’s List donors or people that EMILY’s List thinks would be interested in donating (such as people who have contributed lots of money to the Clinton campaign or Democratic PAC’s). So, let’s say the first person I look up is named “Joe Miller” If Joe has already donated to EMILY’s List I will pull him up in our database called “Raisor’s Edge” or “RE” for short, and provide a summary of his EL giving based off the information that has been logged in the database. Next, I will go to look up his outside political giving on a website called politicalmoneyline.com. Outside political giving is everything that a person gives to political organizations and campaigns that are not EMILY’s List. So, I’ll write something along the lines of “In the 2016 cycle, Joe’s outside giving totals $20,400. His gifts included $7,000 to the DNC; $5,400 each to Clinton and Duckworth; $3,000 to Priorities USA…”
Learning the importance of call time, and therefor call sheets, has made me feel important at EL. The work I do goes directly to our president and helps earn EL money that is necessary to helping get Pro-Choice Democratic Woman in office! The overall goal of EMILY’s List.
As for my learning goals, I can absolutely see progression. My last learning objective, “develop genuine relationships with the staff members at EMILY’s List in order to gain as much knowledge and experience as possible,” particularly stands out to me because I have managed to form so many incredible relationships with staff members at EL. Throughout this internship I’ve been stepping beyond my comfort zone and asking people at the office out to coffee’s and lunch. At the beginning, I was afraid that people would turn me down or think it was odd that I was asking them but as I quickly learned, everyone who I asked to take some time to meet and talk with me was more than happy to help.
I’m so happy I took the time to meet with so many incredible people because through all those coffee’s and lunches I gained so much knowledge from them and now I have meaningful connections all around D.C. The staff members I spoke to made it clear to reach out to them in the future when I’m looking for another job and told me they would be happy to help me with my career prospects, whether it be in terms of advice or reaching out to their friend for me at a company I may be interested in.
Simply stepping beyond my comfort zone in way’s like this throughout this summer has helped me grow as person and as a young professional. I am much more confident in my professional life and am finally figuring out how the world of politics works.
Although, I am learning so much about myself and how I can be a successful in my future careers I have also learned so much about politics and the political realm while being here. D.C. is the most politically fueled city in the United States, talk of politics is everywhere. Just being here has taught me so much about how politics and legislature works and what everything is. At work, I am expected to be constantly following politics and it was confusing at first as I was not super knowledgeable but now I am proud to say I could hold my own in a conversation with an adult on the hill. In fact, I met Cory Booker’s chief of staff at a healthcare rally and we were able to chat about healthcare and current policy in a professional manner. After that conversation he told me he was impressed by my knowledge of healthcare. So impressed, that he took me and some of my fellow interns to talk to Booker after the rally. Needless to say, I was very proud of myself about that conversation and it resulted in a great new D.C. contact (his chief of staff)!
Usually my summer’s consist of losing knowledge. I come back to school and I feel as though I’ve regressed. But this summer it is the complete opposite. I honestly think I’ve learned more this summer than I did this last year at school. I was thrown into this internship with high expectations for me and I had to learn how to manage all those tasks quickly. I put so much effort into making sure I was doing everything correctly I quickly learned a lot of valuable skills in the process.
I think the most important and transferable skill I gained that I will use forever is my expert knowledge of excel. I know all of the tricks to making accurate and representative excel documents and I know how to make pivot tables and organize data like a pro! This is a skill that I think will be necessary for so many jobs in the future. I have also learned to work with a variety of databases like Raisors Edge, Research Point and Political Money line. These are skills I am proud to now put on my resume.
EMILY’s List does a great job equipping their interns with skills they can take into their futures. At EL resume review’s, brown bag sessions and networking events are organized for the interns. EL makes a point to send their interns out of this internship with professional readiness which I really appreciate. I’m going to come out of this internship with a stronger resume and a variety of incredible professional contacts as well as a plethora of good advice.
The skills I’m building go beyond tangible database and computer skills. I’m learning how to plan my future and how to properly work towards my career goals. Since I’ve talked to so many professionals in D.C. I have learned from their failures and successes and this has shaped how I plan to go about my future. I am also constantly surrounded by likeminded and
successful interns at all times. They all inspire me every day to reach for so much more.
If anything has come out of this internship and this summer so far is that I feel like I can achieve so much more than I used to think I could. My life plans are now bigger and better than I ever imagined, and unlike before I feel like they are actually achievable. Those future plans no longer feel like such a stretch, which is an amazing feeling.