Bringing Profits to Non-Profits

Sonia Elizondo

Sonia Elizondo

Staff Writer

This is part of Das Tor’s ongoing Internship Insights series, in which second-year students write about their summer internship experiences.

Those who know me can tell you that I have always been very clear in my direction for the future. From wanting to be a yellow butterfly at the age of three to a genetics counselor during undergrad, there has never been a moment in my life where I couldn’t tell you exactly what plans I had for my future. That’s why, if you ask me today, I can say with 100% confidence that my goal is to not only work in nonprofit management, but to specifically help human trafficking survivors get back on their feet and situated comfortably in society, hopefully somewhere in Europe. Like I said, I’m very clear.

Obviously, though, my plans have changed over the years, and now that my future is getting closer, I figured it was time to be actually sure that this was the choice that would stick. That’s why, this summer, I interned for a nonprofit organization that did exactly what I wanted. For three months, I was the business intern at a 501(c)(3) organization in San Diego called Alabaster Jar Project. The Alabaster Jar Project’s mission is to provide housing and resources to female survivors of human trafficking. In those three months, my job was to help formulate and solidify a social enterprise venture for the organization that would provide jobs for the women we served while bringing in a steady source of income.

I. Loved. It.

I have never been surer of my path in life than I am after this experience, but the reason might surprise you. Yes, I genuinely enjoyed what I was doing and would happily spend my life working at it, but the real reason for my enthusiasm is that I was really good at it. I realized that many nonprofits, particularly small ones, are started by individuals who have drive but don’t always know what they are doing. It became clear to me that many of the amazing individuals I worked with genuinely wanted this business to succeed but had no idea how to even start, and it certainly didn’t help that they were already busy running the organization’s various established programs. I realized that Thunderbird had shown me how to not only help myself career-wise, but also how to help the entire nonprofit sector by simply having more business know-how than the average nonprofit worker. 

I can’t wait to graduate now and get back out to the work that I love in an area that I can do good in and for. The future has never looked so clear.

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