Make The Connection

August 2, 2022 | By Cole Hatcher

Ohio Wesleyan student Deshawn Rode ’24 is learning about running a successful nonprofit during his summer internship with the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Angelo Merendino)

Nonprofit Knowledge

Ohio Wesleyan Student Helps Cleveland Institute with Marketing, Fundraising Initiatives

Name: Deshawn Rode ’24
Hometown: Lewis Center, Ohio
Major: Communication
Minor: Business
OWU Connection Experience: Summer internship with Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging

Rode is serving as a marketing development and fundraising intern with Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging in Cleveland, Ohio. The nonprofit organization is committed to supporting caregivers and empowering all people to age well.

My Internship Duties

“I’m assisting and supporting the institutional advancement team in a variety of areas including social media/digital media planning, community engagement, event coordination and fundraising.”

Rode’s work includes:

  • Developing and executing digital/social media campaigns.
  • Authoring articles for Benjamin Rose’s website, email listings, and newsletters.
  • Assisting with acquiring corporate sponsors and attending fundraising committee meetings.
  • Providing support with grant writing.
  • Attending institutional advancement staff meetings.

My Favorite Moments

“My favorite moments have been our weekly institutional advancement meetings because it is a judgment-free and safe zone to share your thoughts with one another. Also, it is one of the only times in the week when everyone in our department is in the office.”

Lessons Learned

“In this position I have been exposed to a lot of the logistics of event planning. I have been able to further build my knowledge from what I already knew from being on the Campus Programming Board.

“From creating digital and social media content, I am reminded how important it is to put your clients’ needs first and foremost when advertising your organization’s events, products, and services.

“I have come to realize how vital fundraising and acquiring sponsors are for nonprofit organizations. The institutional advancement team touches all the different departments and subsidiaries in Benjamin Rose.

“This has helped me understand how a successful nonprofit organization functions. This is beneficial for me because if I choose to seek employment at another nonprofit in the future, I will already have insight into effective business methods to keep nonprofits functional.”

Summer on the Cuyahoga

Rode’s internship is coordinated by the Summer on the Cuyahoga (SOTC) program, which seeks to show promising students from nine U.S. colleges and universities what the Northeast Ohio region has to offer.

“My favorite experience in Cleveland has been exploring downtown and all the different districts in the city. As well as finding hidden tasty gems to grab a bite to eat.”

Local resident and two-time SOTC program participant Chris Litzler ’14 is serving as a Cleveland host for Rode and other Ohio Wesleyan students interning in the region this summer. “He is the first vice president of capital markets for Marcus & Millichap Capital Corporation,” Rode says.

My Career Connection

“The OWU Career Connection office has helped me develop a strong resume and has prepared me for the interview process through the Bishop Launch Program. The office continues to connect me with employment and networking opportunities.”

Why I Chose Ohio Wesleyan

“I chose OWU because of the academics offered, the extracurricular activities available, travel abroad opportunities, campus atmosphere, and location.”

My Plans After Graduation

“After I graduate I’m not too sure where I’ll end up. I think I’m going to join AmeriCorps to gain valuable experience and allow myself some to reflect on what I hope to accomplish in life.”