My Internship with the Red Cross

By Business Operations Summer Intern, Karen Funk

I greatly enjoyed my time interning at the American Red Cross and felt I was able to learn a lot. Working in the Business Operations department taught me the immense value in those who work behind the scenes to help the American Red Cross run more effectively and efficiently to make a real difference in people’s lives. I was able to feel a part of the American Red Cross mission by attending and working at several meetings that were attended by staff, donors, and volunteers—including the Santa Monica Bay Annual Meeting and the Los Angeles Region’s 101st  Annual Meeting—  both of which marked the end of the fiscal year, in June. Through attending these events, I was better able to understand the work the American Red Cross seeks to accomplish through both volunteers and donor support, and how the Red Cross makes an effort to recognize those who donate their time or dollars.

As far as interning in the Business Operations Department, I was able to participate in budget-forecasting training and end-of-year budget analysis meetings across departments. Over the course of my internship, I updated the Front Desk Manual, which is designed to be a guide for volunteers working at the front desk in all offices across the Los Angeles Region. I also assisted in the Business Operation’s vendor project, which is intended to cut costs by utilizing regional vendors. I provided analysis of vendor by category of spending for all departments, in anticipation of negotiating regional contracts.  Interning at the American Red Cross also gave me the opportunity to become more proficient in office programs like Microsoft Excel and Outlook.

In addition to the internship allowing me to complete projects within my own department, it also allowed me to explore other areas of the Red Cross. I appreciated that the people at the American Red Cross really wanted the interns to have a positive experience that was mutually beneficial. I was able to attend an event called “Raid Cross,” which was a hands-on simulation that taught us the basics of International Humanitarian Law. That event was one of the highlights of my internship, and allowed me to explore my interest in International Relations. I was also able to participate in a social media campaign for Sound the Alarm, which is a campaign to install free smoke alarms around the country and educate families about home fire safety.

Interning at the American Red Cross was a wonderful experience and I feel lucky to have worked with such dedicated, intelligent, and warm people to accomplish an important mission and make a real difference in people’s lives.

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