Intern, Foundations Relations

Internships Washington, DC, United States

WRI Overview

World Resources Institute (WRI) is an independent, nonprofit global research organization that turns big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity and human well-being. We are working to address critical challenges that the world must overcome this decade in order to secure a sustainable future for people and the planet: climate change, energy, food, forests, water, sustainable cities, and the ocean.

Internships at WRI are learning experiences designed for current students, recent graduates, and other candidates who wish to gain knowledge about a specific area of our work. We strive to attract diverse, intellectually driven candidates who have a passion for sustainability and development. WRI provides many internship opportunities throughout the year in all our programs.

WRI is committed to advancing gender and social equity for human well-being in our mission and applies this principle to our organizational and programmatic practices. 

Development Overview

WRI’s Development Department raises more than $150M annually from corporate, foundation, government, and individual donors. The primary function of the Development Department is to coordinate all fundraising opportunities across the Institute--particularly for centrally managed donors, and cross-programmatic opportunities. This is an exciting opportunity to join one of the fastest-growing international environmental organizations and to learn from fundraising experts on five continents with diverse experience, incredible talent, and unparalleled experience.

We are seeking an outstanding, organized Development (Fundraising) Intern to support the Foundation Relations team with fundraising and stewardship efforts for the institute’s top foundation donors. Funding from foundations totaled nearly $25M in FY20. The Foundation Relations core team is based in the US and Europe and partners closely with fundraisers located in WRI’s other international office—especially in Africa, Brazil, China, and India. The Foundation Relations team works with the largest foundations in the world, and occasionally collaborates with the Individual Giving and Corporate teams on multi-sectoral opportunities.

Internship Summary

You will work with the Foundation Relations team and other teams in Development to conduct research on prospects and donors, develop briefings on donors for Executive Team members, draft and track grant acknowledgement letters, write external-facing donor communications and execute donor communications and stewardship strategies, support and edit donor reports, help strengthen internal coordination and knowledge management, manage Salesforce (a constituent relationship management database), support proposal development, among other activities. This position also requires support for webinars and events, internal and external meeting logistics and scheduling,  and administrative support.

This internship provides a unique opportunity to gain exposure to the world’s largest and most sophisticated foundation funders. You will have the opportunity to learn about and implement all stages of the donor cultivation cycle - including research, proposal development, solicitation, and stewardship. In addition, you will learn about fundraising from other donor types including corporate, government, and individual donors. By supporting and editing proposals and reports you will have the opportunity to learn more about WRI, technical aspects of our work, and grants management.  Fundraising is a key component of nearly all positions in the non-profit sector. Whether you are interested in a career in fundraising or programmatic work in a non-profit, this internship will help you build essential skills in writing, research, and fundraising and lead to tangible work products upon which to build your career.

Learning Outcomes

  • Experience in donor stewardship, including donor communications, briefing memos, and scheduling support for high level meetings.
  • Working knowledge of one of the top rated CRM systems in the world, including how to track funding opportunities and maintain data integrity.
  • Through various short- and long-term research projects, be able to identify and share relevant information on new donor prospects, strategies, collectives, trends, etc.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of ethical and effective fundraising best practices and strategies.
  • Develop a thorough understanding of the various technical, financial, and operational systems of a large international NGO.

Internship Qualifications

  • Currently pursuing or completed Bachelors degree
  • Excellent research, writing and organizational skills
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office suite
  • High degree of professionalism and a strong attention to detail
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality when handling sensitive donor information
  • Strong time management skills and comfort juggling multiple projects.  Position involves coordinating with team members in different time zones
  • Demonstrated ability to work both independently as well as part of a team
  • Ability to use effective interpersonal skills, discretion, and diplomacy to work and communicate with a diverse group of people, including donors and staff
  • Awareness of and sensitivity to the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and orientations; commitment to a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and culturally competent workplace
  • Familiarity and experience with fundraising, database management (specifically Salesforce) and grant writing is a plus
  • Interest in environmental issues and sustainable development a plus

Final candidate will be required to take a writing/research test.

General Internship Requirements

  • Applicants must have personal health insurance coverage.
  • U.S. work authorization is required for this opportunity. WRI does not sponsor interns for visas.


  • The pay range for this internship opportunity is between $15-18/hour, commensurate with qualifications.

Duration and Location

  • This is a 6 month (24 week) internship with flexible start (January/February) and end dates based on the candidate's availability and need for the project.
  • This is a remote-based internship with the option to work out of the Washington D.C. office once it reopens.
  • WRI will provide a laptop for the duration of your internship.

How to Apply

Please submit a resume and cover letter. Applicants must apply through the WRI Careers portal to be considered.

The World Resources Institute ( is an environmental and development research and policy organization that creates solutions to protect the Earth and improve people’s lives. As an Equal Opportunity Employer, it is WRI’s policy to recruit, hire, and provide opportunities for advancement in all job classifications without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, citizenship, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, parental status, protected veteran status, or disability. WRI’s global agenda requires a staff that is diverse – with respect to race, gender, cultural, and international background. Diverse perspectives and experience enhance the way WRI selects and approaches issues, as well as the creativity and applicability of WRI's policy research and analysis. WRI, therefore, encourages applications from U.S. minorities, persons from other countries (especially developing nations), and from women of all backgrounds.