Roswell Park is America’s first cancer center, and one of the National Cancer Institute’s premier comprehensive cancer centers. Goin’ Bald for Bucks serves to support the cutting-edge cancer research and compassionate patient care programs at Roswell Park. Anyone can clip, snip, or shave their way to cancer cures by taking part in a Bald for Bucks fundraiser with a school, group, or as an individual. Sporting a new “do” is a great way to visually show support for the cancer community. I had no knowledge of this program prior to my start as an intern with Special Events. I was able to learn so much about myself, non-profit work, and event planning from my time with Bald for Bucks.

Being a college student forces you to do a lot of self-reflection, whether we recognize it or not. My time with Bald for Bucks really helped me think about what I am good at, what I need to work on, and what might be a good future career path for me. I’ve found I thrive on interaction and connection with others. Doing a lot of desk work and staring at a computer was hard at times, but it allowed me to see how different (and great!) it felt to speak with others about the fundraiser. Making phone calls to potential fundraiser hosts came to me a lot easier than I thought it would, and this proved to me I like to be out where the people are. My daily duties as an intern pinpointed my desire to help others and have passion in everything I do. I was able to visit a pediatric floor at Roswell, and seeing where the funds we raise through Bald for Bucks go, ignited a whole new flame within me. Lastly, I was able to learn I really liked working on social media more so than I thought I would. My personal presence on social media is lacking, so I didn’t think I’d be comfortable on the sites. I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed working with the sites and interacting with participants.

Somewhere inside me I’ve always had a desire to do non-profit work. Bald for Bucks provided the perfect glimpse into the non-profit world for me. Roswell Park and Bald for Bucks do not get funding from the state, so it was really cool to see how each department pulls together and relies on each other to get things accomplished. My supervisor, Melissa, would have an idea for a promotional flyer, sketch out a rough draft, and then send it over to creative services. They are all very conscientious of the budget they are given and really work hard to crunch numbers. I did a lot of research looking for adequate incentive prizes within their strict budget. It really opened my eyes to how much organizations need to run effectively, yet how much they are restricted. I also really liked seeing the sponsorship side where we got to see how the totals tallied up.

More specifically, I soon found out event planning within non-profits are not always the glitz and glam that you’d expect. I went into this expecting to attend Bald events very frequently. Funny enough, my supervisor explained to me how she thought the same thing going into this role. It turns out event planning involves, guess what, a lot of planning! It’s not always being out in the community – you obviously have to get things together beforehand, and sometimes more importantly, afterwards. As the Bald for Bucks intern I worked a lot on the follow up for schools. This involved thank you emails, hand written thank you notes, sending personal thank you’s to the salons, updating online totals, and things of the like. One of the most important things I learned was how things come full circle. For example, we send out post surveys, and it’s really awesome to see the feedback we get from the hand written thank you notes. Participants are so appreciative of them, and it incentivizes them to participate in the future. My supervisor helped me see the usefulness of all the back work and how crucial it is to ensure future success.

Interning with Goin’ Bald for Bucks was a great learning experience and stepping stone in my professional career. This opportunity allowed me to grow and make connections. I can’t wait to use all I have learned in my future. If you’re ever interested in Goin’ Bald for Bucks, you are doing a brave act of kindness in support of a world without cancer! It’s never too late to register!