Bisman Sethi ’22, the communications chair for the Internship Fund, describes taking the annual Internship Fund Week online this year. The events raised $7,000 to support students in the nonprofit and social impact sectors.
The Internship Fund is one of Yale SOM’s most historic traditions. It’s a student-run club and initiative, tasked with raising money to support classmates who plan to intern in the nonprofit and social impact sectors. Many of these organizations cannot afford to pay SOM students a fair wage, so the Internship Fund has a commitment to ensure that students who wish to apply their skills in public and nonprofit organizations for the summer can do so, without fear of financial constraints. Typically, the IF supports 20% of the Yale SOM class.
When I first came to SOM, the Internship Fund was one of the initiatives I was most excited to join, as it embodies Yale SOM’s commitment to educating leaders for business and society.
In a normal year, IF is responsible for throwing some of the community’s biggest fundraising events, including Star Search and the IF auction. As COVID-19 upended all our lives, we had to get creative this year to create engaging programming and encourage donations and community building, all while staying safe and adhering to public health guidelines.
Fundraising Week traditionally is a weeklong event, aimed at introducing students to IF and encouraging donations. This year we took the spirit of this event and adapted it to our new normal, with a theme for 2021 of “What IF.” We kicked the week off with a huge social media blast, taking over the Yale SOM Instagram account and encouraging our classmates to share their “What IFs” via their own personal Instagrams and other social media accounts to get the word out.
We continued this momentum and had a week of fun (virtual) programming, including a paint-and-sip event, jack box game night, movie viewing, and an auction of student artwork. Although the programming was virtual, we still had a great turnout, and students were excited to support IF and engage with their classmates. We also hosted a cohort competition that let students gain points for their cohorts by attending IF events and by donating. The competition fueled the competitive fire of our business school peers and made for a very friendly, fun, competitive week.
In addition to our week’s programming, we partnered with local restaurant Haven Hot Chicken, which agreed to donate 15% of each meal purchased with the referral “Internship Fund.” We also introduced merchandise tiers to encourage donations (i.e., a donation of $150 will get you a hat). Last, through Slack, which serves as a cultural hub for the SOM community, we engaged with the class all week to help drum up participation.
By the end of the week, we raised about $7,000, which will go to helping our classmates!
Our next big event is the IF Auction on Friday, April 9, and while we’re sad it won’t be in person, we’re excited and optimistic we will be able to put on a great event similar to Fundraising Week.
Interested in donating to IF? See here for more information.