Skip to main content

The Advantages of Working for a Nonprofit as a Design Intern

Media design is already an exciting career path for you to explore. One thing that can make it even more exciting is becoming a design intern with a nonprofit.

Why do a design internship with a nonprofit? Internships for design with nonprofits are a profound choice for young people, as they offer the chance to meet design intern responsibilities and apply design skills to projects with real, meaningful impact. Working on diverse initiatives, from healthcare to environmental conservation, not only develops a broad skill set but also provides a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

So, you can do what you love, get better at it, and help make the world a better place as you do.

In this article, we’ll explore the best reasons to do a design internship with a nonprofit. You’ll find tips on what to look for in a nonprofit design internship, what design jobs with NGOs you might do, and some suggestions for our best design internships with nonprofits.

Being (or Becoming) a Design Intern

Becoming a design intern with a nonprofit is largely the same as being a design intern anywhere else. You’ll help to come up with and execute various design projects alongside experienced professionals. You may be tasked with creating visual content, developing user interfaces, writing content, and collaborating with cross-functional teams to bring design concepts to life.

The benefits of this kind of experience are many. Here are just a few answers to the question, ‘Why do a design internship with a nonprofit?’:

  • Firstly, it provides hands-on experience and the opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge in a real-world setting.
  • Secondly, interns gain exposure to industry-standard tools and workflows, reading them for design jobs with NGOs or otherwise.
  • The experience also allows interns to build a network of industry contacts.
  • Lastly, being a design intern offers a chance to develop and diversify a portfolio showcasing your design expertise. This is a significant advantage when entering the job market.

What sets a nonprofit design internship apart from others is the cause your work will help. You’ll be helping organizations communicate the importance and impact of their work. This is a critical step in securing funding and support so they can keep doing the vital work they do.

Why Should You Consider Doing a Design Internship with a Nonprofit?

Opportunity for Meaningful Impact

Becoming a design intern with a nonprofit offers a chance to use your skills to help make a positive difference in the world. This is at the top of every list of the best reasons to do a design internship with a nonprofit.

Design can play a powerful role in the work of a nonprofit. Whether graphic design, web development, or content writing, you’ll help nonprofits effectively communicate their mission, tell their story, and engage with their audience. You’ll make the first steps on your career path while giving your work a profound sense of purpose.

a laptop, coffee mug, notepad and a phone on top of a table

Diverse Project Portfolio

Internships for design with nonprofits let you take on exciting work. Nonprofits often tackle a broad spectrum of issues, offering interns the opportunity to work on diverse and meaningful projects and to fulfill design intern responsibilities.

From designing promotional materials to developing user interfaces for web platforms, the variety of tasks allows you to hone your design skills across different mediums and contexts. What’s more, your work could communicate important messages about environmental conservation, female empowerment, or public health.

A portfolio filled with designs that have made a positive impact demonstrates your ability to use design for meaningful change, making you a standout candidate in a competitive job market.

Networking in a Values-Driven Environment

Unsurprisingly, design internships with nonprofits can be a great place to network for design jobs with NGOs, but not just with NGOs.

Collaborating with nonprofits exposes you to a network of like-minded individuals who share a passion for social causes. This can lead to long-lasting professional relationships and open doors to future opportunities. It can also help to build a supportive community as you progress in your design career.

Skill Development Through Resourcefulness

Why do a design internship with a nonprofit specifically? Because the nonprofit sector is filled with unique challenges that will give you a competitive edge in the skills you develop,

Nonprofits often operate with limited resources, requiring interns to exercise resourcefulness and creativity. This challenges you to think outside the box, fostering problem-solving skills and adaptability. Learning to create impactful designs with constrained resources is a valuable skill set that will set you apart in the job market.

a man using his desktop computer

Personal Growth and Global Awareness

One of the best reasons to do a design internship with a nonprofit is the personal growth experience. Whether working remotely or traveling to another country for it, design internships with nonprofits expose you to different cultures, perspectives, and global challenges.

The chance to broaden your understanding of societal issues and deepen your empathy should not be overlooked. The global awareness gained through these internships contributes not only to your professional development but also to your ability to create designs that resonate with diverse audiences.

Resume Differentiation

In a crowded job market, having a nonprofit design internship on your resume makes a difference. It communicates to potential employers that you not only can meet design intern responsibilities but are also committed to using your talents for positive change.

This differentiation can be a significant advantage in securing future opportunities, especially design jobs with NGOs. It demonstrates both your skill and dedication to making a meaningful impact through your work.

Learning Collaborative and Agile Design

Nonprofits often require agile and collaborative design processes due to the dynamic nature of their projects. As an intern, you’ll gain experience working closely with cross-functional teams, adapting to changing priorities, and incorporating feedback from various stakeholders. This collaborative and agile approach to design is a valuable skill that translates well into other professional settings.

Building a Foundation for a Socially Responsible Career

Why do a design internship with a nonprofit? To enter into your career in a globally conscious, socially responsible way. Design internships with nonprofits are a stepping stone to a career in design grounded in social responsibility.

The experience not only shapes your values as a designer but also lays the foundation for a future career path focused on creating positive change. It equips you with the mindset and skills needed to continue contributing to socially impactful projects throughout your professional journey.

colleagues having a meeting and looking at a TV monitor

5 Examples of internships in design with nonprofits

Media Internship in Portugal

Travel to Portugal and join a veterinary hospital and animal sanctuary in Lisbon. This organization offers free veterinary care to animals from low-income houses, runs a sterilization program for street animals, and has successfully homed over 600 rescued animals.

You’ll help them by creating content for their own TV program and social media platforms. This will include capturing images and video footage of the animals at the sanctuary with high-tech camera equipment, including underwater cameras and a drone.

Remote Web Design Internship

Use your web design skills to help several nonprofits create and maintain their websites, all while working from wherever you choose. There are a lot of reasons to apply for a remote internship, and this program exemplifies them all.

This is a unique opportunity to assist a number of our nonprofit partners with project-based web design work. So, you’ll gain versatile experience, build a varied portfolio, and contribute to causes such as human rights, gender equality, animal welfare, climate change, health, and education.

Journalism Internship with Non-Profit in Malawi

This internship offers journalism students or graduates a unique opportunity to gain practical broadcasting experience while providing mentorship to young Malawian journalists. You’ll gain hands-on experience in story development, interviewing, and radio production, offering valuable insights into the power of radio to improve lives in rural African settings.

You’ll help to improve the quality of broadcasting at local radio stations and contribute to the nonprofit’s mission of disseminating important information on issues such as the environment, agriculture, health, and governance to rural communities in Africa.

folded newspaper kept on a glass tabletop

Media Marketing and Content Creation Internship in Zambia

Travel to Livingstone, Zambia, and make a meaningful impact by addressing the issues of street animals and low animal welfare standards through media marketing and content creation. Here’s one of our best internships in Zambia.

You’ll contribute to online campaigns and creative initiatives while gaining valuable work experience in the marketing sector. As a bonus, you’ll only be minutes away from one of the wonders of the world: Victoria Falls.

Media and Design Internship at Environmental NMGO in Cape Town

Join a fast-growing environmental NGO in Cape Town and gain hands-on experience in graphic design, photography, and videography, contributing to impactful tree planting and eco-education projects in Southern Africa. This is one of our best environmental internships for young creatives.

This organization has a strong focus on activating environmentally conscious people and sparking community-based conservation movements. To do this, they create moving, engaging media and broadcast it across a number of channels. As an intern, you’ll help create posters, website elements, video content, and more.

Choosing to do a nonprofit design internship with Roots

So, why do a design internship with a nonprofit? Design internships with nonprofits offer numerous advantages that extend beyond honing technical skills. In fact, there are so many to pick from that it’s hard to pick the best reasons to do a design internship with a nonprofit.

The opportunity to contribute to projects with meaningful impact and a real purpose can have a profound effect on young interns. Internships for design with nonprofits foster personal growth, allow you to take part in meaningful work, and kickstart you on a socially responsible career path.

If you’re interested in becoming a design intern with a nonprofit, then feel free to get in touch with us to learn more. With Roots, you’ll receive the support of an experienced team of nonprofit internship experts and benefit from our expansive Rolodex network of partners. Alternatively, you can explore the opportunities we have available.

Find your design internship with a nonprofit

This blog was written by Tom Rusbridge