Repairing the World, One Click at a Time:
A Young Intern Reflects on Her Semester at EHL Consulting
by Elizabeth Schrott
I often find myself asking the question of how I can find meaning in my work. How can I, a young Jewish woman, make an impact in the Jewish community?
Interning with the EHL Consulting Group has enabled me to begin to answer this thought-provoking question. EHL Consulting is a firm dedicated to advancing a culture of giving, with an expertise in working with nonprofits that serve the Jewish community. Its team members collaborate with a multitude of synagogues, schools, federations and Israel-based nonprofits to help these organizations take strategic steps to bring their vision to fruition and achieve their mission. Interning at EHL Consulting, I constantly find myself inspired by the team’s dedication, commitment, and drive to make a positive and sustainable impact in the Jewish world.
There are three core aspects that have been instrumental in shaping my experience at EHL Consulting: the firm’s dedication to the Jewish and nonprofit communities, the projects I have been assigned, and the collaborative work environment that I participate in. These uniquely valuable characteristics have enabled me to see various parts of the Jewish community that I otherwise would have never been unexposed to.
I have had myriad experiences working in the Jewish community through fellowships and leadership opportunities with organizations such as American Jewish Committee, the Joint Distribution Committee, and Hillel. I have visited Israel and several Jewish communities in diverse countries from Belgium to India. I have always been passionate about Jewish culture and education, and knew that I wanted to dedicate my professional career to enhancing, advancing, and supporting these communities and Jewish life in general.
However, as I was previously engaged in direct service or ground-level work, I lacked exposure to the “behind the scenes” functions of fundraising and development, work that is critical to these organizations. This all changed when I commenced my internship at EHL Consulting in October.
I am currently a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania pursuing my Masters Degree in Nonprofit Leadership. My courses have provided the forum for me to delve deeply into critical areas such as strategic thinking and planning, fundraising and philanthropy, and management and conscientious leadership. A significant component of this program is the completion of an internship with a regional nonprofit organization or an organization that collaborates with nonprofits. The internship allows me to execute the skills I have developed through my rigorous coursework in a professional setting.
At EHL Consulting, I became exposed to the demanding process of fundraising. I value the opportunity to take a step back from direct service and delve into the consulting arena. Partaking in client conference calls and staff meetings, I learn about the time- intensive and challenging development process. I am motivated by the dedication of the consultants and clients to commit themselves wholeheartedly to this work, knowing that it is a core tenant of organizational and operational planning.
The EHL Consulting team members travel across the country and around the world to guide meetings with potential philanthropic investors and inspire them to connect with causes close to their hearts and communities. In face-to-face meetings, critical questions are raised, innovative ideas are developed, and partnerships are formed with the goal of garnering support for capital, annual, and endowment campaigns for so many worthy organizations.
Not only do I witness the meaningful projects that the consultants complete, but I personally feel that the projects I work on further the mission and goals of EHL Consulting. Whether I am researching emerging trends in Jewish philanthropy, formatting reports for pre-campaign assessments, or compiling spreadsheets of prospective investors/donors and Board members, I am ultimately helping the firm achieve its mission of advancing a culture of giving. I view my work as small steps necessary to achieve the larger goal.
Furthermore, each step comes with valuable lessons. My research on emerging trends in Jewish philanthropy has elucidated critical challenges that the Jewish community faces, whether these challenges are decreased financial support for Israel-based organizations, or increased Jewish support for secular causes. My work aiding the pre-campaign assessment process has highlighted the necessary steps to accomplish the renovation of a library or the expansion of a synagogue. The donor management work I complete explores the critical role philanthropists play in sustaining many projects, programs, and initiatives developed by Jewish organizations. Ultimately, with each project come new lessons that enhance my current perspective and appreciation of Jewish philanthropy and fundraising.
Finally, I feel fortunate that my first consulting experience is at EHL Consulting, given their positive, collaborative, and inclusive office environment. At our weekly staff meetings, I am amazed at the number of projects that are in progress and the passion that resonates with individuals as they share their client updates and accomplishments. Since my first day at EHL Consulting three months ago, I have been welcomed and included as part of the team, and this has compelled me to work diligently, ask relevant questions, and offer support in any way I can.
My internship experience at EHL Consulting has unequivocally enhanced my understanding and appreciation of the Jewish community. I will carry the valuable lessons I have learned and will continue to learn throughout my personal and professional career, with the understanding that with these lessons I, too, can make a positive impact in the Jewish world.
Elizabeth Schrott is a Graduate Student Practicum Associate at The EHL Consulting Group, a leading fundraising consulting firm located in suburban Philadelphia that serves the Jewish community. Team members at EHL Consulting are frequent contributors to eJewishPhilanthropy.com. The EHL Consulting Group is one of only 38 member firms of The Giving Institute. EHL Consulting works with dozens of nonprofits on fundraising, strategic planning, and nonprofit business practices and strategies. Learn more at ehlconsulting.com
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