External Relations Intern


External Relations Intern – Fall 2021




WITNESS helps people use video and technology to protect and defend human rights. With a cellphone camera, anyone can become a human rights defender and expose injustice, making it harder for perpetrators to hide or for systems of oppression to remain invisible.  But using video for community organizing or justice and accountability can be dangerous – videos can put defenders (or those they film) at risk, can be used against communities in court or deceitfully discredited by tired old power narratives.  Filming is almost never enough – for videos to make a difference they need to work alongside strong advocacy or legal strategies; they also need to be created, preserved and shared in ways that avoid creating more harm or trauma.  And the actions of courageous individuals and communities at a grassroots level are conditioned by the structures and decisions of global technology platforms and emerging technologies that are distant and unaccountable to their needs. New threats to human rights are emerging at the intersection of artificial intelligence, misinformation and disinformation and a global wave of rising authoritarianism.


WITNESS pairs grassroots community support, and broad learning and sharing of tips and guidance to activists, with advocacy at a systems level on challenges. Our team works holistically on a global scale to understand how communities are using and want to use video and technology for human rights. When it comes to systemic challenges we are on the watch for both existing problems – like how large amounts of critical human rights footage are lost because of the arbitrary decisions of platforms – but also emerging threats and opportunities, such as those posed by ‘deepfakes’, new ways to manipulate media to make it look like someone said or did something they never did, or an event happened that never occurred.




WITNESS’ External Relations department is committed to growing revenue globally and raising the organization’s profile, helping to expand our reach and drive greater impact at the intersection of video, technology, and human rights. This is a unique opportunity for a highly motivated, enthusiastic, and intelligent individual to join the team, honing their research and writing skills while building a strong understanding of donor landscapes and fundraising at an international nonprofit. The External Relations department consists of Institutional Giving (foundations and governments), Individual Philanthropy, and Video Production. 




The External Relations Intern will work closely with the Institutional Giving Associate and Philanthropy Coordinator. 


The External Relations Intern will play a key role in helping to build, cultivate, and communicate with WITNESS’ network and pipeline of supporters. This position will require the ability to think creatively and strategically and apply those skills to conceptualizing donor outreach through external communications and donor events. 




Tasks will include:

  • Conducting research on foundations, governments, corporations, and individual donors, helping to maintain a solid list of giving prospects that align with WITNESS’ work. 
  • Drafting and editing content including, but not limited to, social media posts, blogging contributions, and donor email updates. 
  • Researching fundraising strategies to expand WITNESS’ donor base through social media and email channels.
  • Supporting the planning and implementation of donor events and identifying virtual and hybrid event best practices.
  • Identifying success stories from our programmatic work that can be used to communicate impact to funders and in other external fundraising messaging.
  • Helping to update and refine our departmental systems, including our Salesforce database.
  • Attending relevant webinars to build a stronger understanding of the philanthropic landscape and reporting back to the team any new learnings.



All interns are expected to spend between 20-30% of their time engaged in administrative support.


Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the internship, the intern will:

  • Learn how to devise donor cultivation strategies and communicate with supporters in a compelling manner;
  • Deepen skills on how to research individuals, foundations, governments, corporations, and organizations;
  • Understand the lifecycle of a grant and macro grants management;
  • Understand how to coordinate a successful donor cultivation event;
  • Learn how to effectively use customer relationship management (CRM) databases (e.g. Salesforce) and external online platforms (e.g. Classy, Network for Good, Benevity) to support donor stewardship;
  • Gain an understanding of the global landscape of human rights and technology work 




Currently we are seeking individuals who are enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program related to Nonprofit Management, Communications, Human Rights, International Relations, Political Science, History, or other interdisciplinary studies that align with the responsibilities and learning outcomes of this position. We also review applicants of recent graduates who may be seeking the same type of mentorship.


The following skills and interests would be a great fit for this position:

  • Excellent research skills;
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills and attention to detail;
  • Ability to work independently and multitask effectively in a fast paced environment;
  • Capacity to brainstorm creatively; 
  • Strong interest in development and fundraising and/or nonprofits;
  • Passionate about human rights or social justice;
  • Knowledge of MS Office and Google applications a must; experience with Client Relationship Management tools (CRM) like Salesforce preferred.




To apply, send a resume, cover letter, contact information for 1 reference, and a brief writing sample (no longer than 2 pages) to with the subject line “External Relations Intern ” [Your name]”. Applications must include a cover letter –we are interested in hearing about what you’ve done, what you can do, and what you want to do at WITNESS.


Duration: We require a minimum commitment of 3 months, for approximately 20 hours a week.

Start Date: September 7th 2021- December 3rd 2021

Compensation: For this position, interns will be paid at a gross minimum wage level relevant to the internship level, which wage will be calculated using the NYC base minimum wage value which is then put through an internationally accepted localization multiplier to create a locally fair compensation for the internship, in order to ensure globally equitable remuneration for internships.

Location: Applicants from anywhere in the world will be considered. The successful candidate must have the legal right-to-work in the location in which they will be based. We are unable to sponsor visas or relocations for this role.

Application Deadline: August 23rd 2021 



WITNESS is an equal opportunity employer. People of all ages, races, ethnicities, national origins, religions, genders, gender identities and expressions, sexual orientations, and individuals protected by any other statuses under federal, state or local laws, including but not limited to, disability, marital, domestic partnership, familial, caregiver, transgender, military or veteran statuses, are encouraged to apply.  


Thank you.


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