A strong command of the English language is the foundation for a career in writing, but Emily Raffensberger, an AFW fellow, knows it can also lay the groundwork for success in other fields that put a premium on using language well.
The York Pa. native is showcasing precisely these skills now in her role at AFW, where she contributes to the grant writing projects for the workforce development nonprofit.
The job has several facets. Cultivating a familiarity with AFW’s core stakeholder groups is one of them.
“My time spent behind the scenes involves analyzing my reading audience as well as communicating with foundations to build relationships,” Raffensberger said. “On the front lines of the nonprofit, I create and revise content for letters of intent and a grant.”
That content, she added, involves outlining project plans, budgeting and evaluating proposals.
Raffensberger, a Towson University Master’s candidate on the professional writing track, completed a similar grant writing internship at a nonprofit in the health care sector.
“Although I had a great experience there, I wasn’t challenged professionally, and I’m the kind of person who likes a challenge,” she said. “AFW was a great experience for me because I had to juggle several schedules and still meet deadlines.”
Though she initially planned to remain in the education sector upon graduation this spring, Raffensberger now sees the possibility of other professional prospects in her future — including nonprofits. She noted that in her next internship, at an insurance company, and she hopes to focus on developing her marketing skills.
But whether Raffensberger ends up as a marketing professional, an educator, a freelance writing coach or a thought leader at a nonprofit, she believes her role will depend, first and foremost, on her proficiency as a communicator. “My job search has led towards other avenues — nonprofits being one of them,” she noted. “My immediate concern is to obtain a full-time job that involves a large writing component.”
She added: “I prefer working on a team of creative, communicative, caring and supportive people who are dedicated to social change.”
Raffensberger said AFW founder and CEO Nate Mauer has been instrumental in making her AFW position — her first official paid writing job — a fruitful one. Mauer, she noted, has also been a valuable resource in terms of helping her locate full-time jobs that suit her strengths.
She characterized the AFW experience as a “huge confidence booster.”
“I got great hands-on experience when handling grants and when working with a team,” Raffensberger said. “AFW has given me an experience I can promote on a résumé or in an interview.”