The Office


The list of nonprofits in the state of Oregon is extensive, but I’m delighted to be interning with the organization I’m at. The nonprofit focuses on fighting inequality around the world, and has a great group of people in its office working towards this goal. Besides the warehouse, where aid donations are compiled and stored, the communications department is the liveliest. Everyone there is a character with an interesting story to tell.

The communications department was pretty empty my first week, because some employees were out doing relief work in other countries. One woman was in Thailand for two weeks and another was in Guatemala helping to build stoves. Upon returning with stories about the locals, zip lining, and insider secrets (like the bioluminescent algae in Thailand); they also brought back items for the October auction, which is the project I’m working on.

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My nonprofit is the 3rd highest grossing in Portland, thanks in part to its successful auctions. This week I researched Classic Wines Auction (CWA), which is the highest grossing nonprofit in Portland. I looked at their online auction and spent some time perusing their fabulous wine packages. I learned that niche online auctions tend to be more successful, which might be one reason CWA has such great success? I also learned art and home décor pieces aren’t popular for online auctions, which did prove true when looking at the CWA auction website. Classic Wines Auction raised $2.48 million dollars for their 2012 auctions, which is a great achievement and sets the bar high for all other nonprofits to try to exceed.

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Kelsey Doherty

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11 Responses to The Office

  1. wilsonemily says:

    Great blog post; it must be great to not only work at such a successful non-profit, but learn their success secrets as well. Learning the strategies to raising money online is an important tool to have too! Plus, your workplace sounds like it’s pretty global; that kind of working environment would make for a great flow of cross-cultural ideas!

    Good luck with the rest of your internship!
    Emily

  2. What a great opportunity to do research about successful non-profits. That’s the kind of information that you can use for the rest of your career. Classic Wines Auction is a great organization. I’ve interacted with them several times from the winery side of things. They are extremely well organized and make it easy for donors to make their contributions. They’re also great about following up and making sure that all the information pertinent to tax deductions is available. Overall, an excellent example of a successful non-profit.

  3. Being able to do research and actively take-away key points that not only better your understanding, but your organization’s as well is an invaluable to skill to have; not to mention a skill that takes a lot of practice (Go you!). I wonder if another reason why CWA is so successful in their fundraising efforts is because they benefit the local Portland-area. Congrats on working for the third largest grossing non-profit in Portland, and I hope that with your efforts towards the October auction that they can move into second place (if not get VERY close to it).

    Best of luck with your efforts!

  4. Sounds like you are all ready getting some solid networking in and getting to know the employees in your department. I’m sure that will come in handy especially working at such a large and successful organization like yours.
    Especially at nonprofits, fundraising is an ever present and important task. It’s great you are involved with such an important event for your organization and all ready learning a lot about what works, and does not, with online auctions as fundraising efforts.

    Good luck with the auction this year!

  5. It must be interesting to work at a place where your co-workers/mentors have traveled all around the world. I would love to hear about some of the things they saw in Thailand! That said, I can see how it might’ve felt weird to be new in the office during an unusual time of activity. When everyone came back I can see how it would’ve been awkward like…”Hey guys…you don’t know me but I’ve been here for a week..so yeah…”
    I’m glad you’re finding joy in your job though. Nonprofits are very important for many communities and working at such an influential one sounds like a great experience. Being a non profit is such an art, especially with fundraising. You need to find what donors will like but else whats affordable and will be the most beneficial to the company.

  6. Allyson Will says:

    Your place of work sounds extremely interesting! I can’t even imagine the types of stories you get to hear from everyone’s travels around the world. I have always wondered how successful nonprofits make the bulk of their money. I have never heard of the CWA, but they seem to really know what they are doing. It must be exciting to work for such a successful nonprofit. It would be really exciting if after a while of interning you were able to go on one of the international trips with your company! Congrats on your internship!

  7. pdxsx says:

    Great post, with great pics, Kelsey!

  8. rkaapu says:

    What a great post!
    There was one line that really stood out in my mind which is that the “communications department is the liveliest.” I have certainly come to find the truth in that statement at my job as well. On my first day here I was given a tour of all the other departments, and since the communications department is where I am stationed, that was our last stop. All the other departments during my office tour were very quiet and kept to themselves but when I arrived to communications everybody was chattering away, yelling across the cubicles and eager to meet me. This is certainly a more upbeat profession and I can’t say I don’t like it.
    Good luck on your internship!

  9. michelletag says:

    I enjoyed your post! What struck me the most was the nonprofit you work for. I have interned at two different nonprofit organizations, but never one that interacted globally. Do you know if you’ll ever want to travel for your work?
    I worked on an auction at one of my past internships and I thought it was awesome! Although, I didn’t attend the auction (thanks to my busy school schedule), one of the most rewarding parts of putting all of your efforts and extra time into an event is watching it successfully come together. Good luck with your internship, sounds like a fun one!

  10. asharonson says:

    It sounds like you are working on some very exciting projects at your internship! Planning a nonprofit event can not only be fun, but rewarding as well. Your communications office sounds like they have also had some great experiences. It is very fulfilling to be able to travel around the world helping others. Hopefully you will be able to join them on a trip sometime soon!

  11. shannonkluss says:

    It sounds like you’ve already done some major networking around the office! Way to go! I’m sure hearing about everyone’s abroad stories is giving you a serious case of the travel bug!
    Being able to successfully pull off a fundraising event will get your far in the non-profit world! Because you are doing research before the event execution, I bet you will be able to make some great suggestions to your supervisors about what has and hasn’t worked for other organizations in the past. You have some really valuable insight and I’m sure they will be impressed!

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