I was SUPER nervous Friday afternoon. I was about to drive to Durham and have my first informational interview with the director of communications at the Triangle Community Foundation. I spoke with Kelly Harrell for over an hour and had the BEST time, and neither of us noticed how late it was. I am fairly certain that all interviews can NOT be this easy, can they? All my nervousness and changing my clothes sixteen million times was completely unfounded, and I got a great look into the work of a foundation, and an introduction to the nonprofit community in the Triangle.
First off, it truly is a community. Everyone supports each other, and though there is occasionally drama, at the end of the day, everyone who works with nonprofits or the foundation is just trying to do good and make a difference. The organization honestly runs a lot like my sorority, which makes sense since sororities are technically non-profit organizations. TCF has to coordinate its own initiatives (one of which is a program for sending underprivileged kids to camp!) while also managing charitable funds from individual or family donors, and corporate donors and approving grants so all of this money gets to the people who need it. Kelly’s job is to fill in wherever she is needed while overseeing the communications areas. For instance this week she was writing speeches for board members, and recently she worked with designers to create a brochure for their strategic plan (she wrote the majority of this brochure, to boot!). Her role reminded me a lot of being the Vice President of Communications at AOII because I too was always filling in different roles, taking care of whatever needed to be done. This is really exciting, challenging work because it’s different every day, every week, every month! I could really see myself in this kind of position.
The area of her job Kelly said she didn’t like so much was, ironically enough for me, the social media aspects. She said she’s not such a big fan of Twitter, and doesn’t use Facebook so much so she is glad to have an assistant that can handle some of that for her! Kelly’s background is journalism and communications, and she wished she had time to create more multimedia content for the site. For example, she wishes she could have an interactive version of a timeline brochure that the foundation printed during its 25th anniversary. I told her we had just learned how to do that in Flash, and I knew I could find someone to make a really great time line, she was thrilled! Another idea she had was to film short interviews of some of the board members and nonprofit workers who have interesting stories to tell, and then put these up on the website somewhere, probably with a written transcript or blog entry. This is exactly the kind of thing I really enjoyed doing in my journalism classes at Ole Miss and I was so excited when she described the project. I don’t know if it is capstone-worthy, because I want to really stretch myself and do some research for my capstone, but I think it would be a great project for my portfolio. Plus it would be an amazing opportunity to get to know the nonprofit community in the Triangle, and for them to meet me!
I’m looking forward to hopefully meeting a couple other members of the TCF, and working more with Kelly in the future. If this meeting is any indication, I know I’ll have no problems with info. interviews in the future!