What is the Borgen Project and Why Should You be Involved?

Hailey Lanari, Managing Editor

I have spent the past three months volunteering for a nonprofit organization called The Borgen Project. The Borgen Project is an organization dedicated to alleviating global poverty and spreading awareness about humanitarian issues. 

The Borgen Project was founded in 2003 by Clint Borgen, a former refugee camp volunteer and UN intern. The organization is based in the state of Washington, but operates in 911 U.S. cities and  has volunteers and employees in the U.K.. Members of this organization meet with congressional leaders to secure support for poverty-reducing legislation, teach advocacy skills, and fund raise for poverty-relief programs.  

What drew me to this organization was its practical approach to poverty alleviation and humanitarian aid. Although philanthropists and the U.S. government have tried to help impoverished countries, there are still so many places in need and much of our foreign aid is given in the form of military support. The Borgen Project advocates for immediate improvement of quality of life, such as water purification or education resources. They also prioritize political activism and lobbying, which helps to guarantee aid to those in need and solidify the U.S. as a positive foreign influence. Especially now with famine and disease in Africa, conflict in the Middle East, and war in Ukraine, being globally civic minded is important to better our world. 

There is no deadline to apply for intern or volunteer positions and once accepted they allow you to choose your starting month. They are also completely remote, although they may ask if you are available to attend local events. I applied to be an advocate in February and they asked for my resume and a cover letter to explain my previous experience and why I wanted to work for the organization. I heard back from the chief of staff within the next week and set up an interview with their HR department. By the next day I had received an email that I had gotten the position and was asked to choose my start date and various meetings to attend. 

There are multiple positions available such as the Nonprofit Leadership Internship/Regional Director, the Political Affairs Internship, the Public Relations/Marketing Internship, the Writer/Journalist Internship, Guest Contributor to the Borgen Project Blog, Volunteer Editor, and the Advocate. All positions are unpaid and last between 3-6 months depending on the role. You can find more information on how to apply here.

I chose the Advocate role, because it is recommended for high school students or anyone with less experience with non-profit work, The Advocate role is based around research and outreach.   I was tasked with fundraising, representing the organization at local events, reaching the foreign policy positions of my congressional representatives, and reaching out to news outlets to share information about the Borgen Project and humanitarian aid. This opportunity pushed me to learn more about global issues and political lobbying. After my three months as an Advocate, I was asked to stay with the organization as a Regional Director. I am thrilled to continue my time with the Borgen Project and would urge anyone interested in global issues, or in search of an internship, to apply. 

Although it may seem intimidating to apply to such a large organization, the Borgen Project has a great team that will guide you through your internship. They are great for anyone interested in humanitarian aid or simply looking for a summer internship.