Do you believe our government should work harder to combat extreme poverty abroad? If so, then you are like junior Austin Stoltzfus, a communication/journalism major who recently began a 12-week internship with The Borgen Project, a non-profit organization that uses political influence to fight worldwide poverty.
According to its website, The Borgen Project aims to “make poverty a focus of U.S. foreign policy” by employing interns like Stoltzfus to fundraise, contact Congress and write articles on the importance of U.S. aid in impoverished countries.
Although The Borgen Project is based in Seattle, Washington, Stoltzfus is able to do most of his intern duties remotely by using his laptop.
“I have to write two well-researched articles a week,” Stoltzfus said, “and they have a list of topics that need covered.”
Interns may also pitch their own story ideas, Stoltzfus said, who believes the internship has helped better his writing skills.
“I get a lot of feedback from the editors each time I write on how to keep the flow of the story going and ending the story correctly.”
Stoltzfus also emails and calls Congress regularly to voice support for certain bills.
“Instead of putting puts on the ground, The Borgen Project tries to have a political influence because they think getting more foreign aid from the U.S. will have a bigger impact on people overseas.”
The organization holds online meetings with interns to give them tips on fundraising. Each intern is required to fundraise $500 by the end of the internship.
“I’ve been contacting businesses and asking for donations,” Stoltzfus said.
“The donations that they give, I’ll raffle them off, usually about a dollar a ticket, and all of those proceeds go straight to the Borgen Project.”
Stoltzfus has found social media especially helpful, using Facebook and Snapchat to reach a wider audience when fundraising.
“When I had Qdoba tickets I just took a picture of them and put it on my [Snapchat]story. Immediately a bunch of people started messaging me about them. If I wasn’t using social media I would have maybe gotten thirty bucks, but instead I got $115.”