Thursday, February 16, 2012

My United Way Experience

By: Jason Montgomery

It has now been two weeks since I have started working as the Marketing Intern at Greater Longview United Way and already I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to work here. I have been able to dive right in to projects such as radio and television advertising as well as plenty of hours in the community filing free income tax returns. It has been an incredible experience already and I cannot wait to see all that is in store for me in the weeks to come.

My first three days on the job not only solidified my doubts that everything you learn in college will be used at some point in your career, but it also had me hitting the books for the first time for work rather than school. You see, part of the job description was becoming VITA certified (Volunteer Income Tax Assistant). This means that my accounting professor Mrs. Bellamy gets the final laugh because I guess I did become an accountant instead of a marketer first after all. Within those first three days I passed the IRS certified Ethics and Basic Exams, which would allows me to volunteer at the VITA site that weekend.

The VITA program is an incredible program and since it is so amazing I am going to pitch it right now just because of the profound impact it has on the community of Longview. People young and old come out and take certification tests in order to be able to volunteer their free time to fill out the community’s income tax returns for free. It is an incredible service that helps the community to grow by increasing the amount of money that families can save. I cannot begin to tell you how great it feels to know that you are saving these people money and that they will now be able to use it to get themselves necessities for everyday life. It only took me four hours to realize the need for me to become intermediate certified so that I can help out even more.
The next week was right in line with what I have been learning for the past year, marketing and advertising to a specific target audience. I have done a plethora of projects in school and some extracurricular marketing, but this was the first time it was real life marketing and advertising to a different target market other than one that I currently fit into. Now it was time for me to use all that I have learned and apply it accordingly. So far it has been a blast to be creating public service announcements for VITA to be aired on the radio, coordinating television commercials with local news companies, and creating thank you advertisements to the people that donate their time for the community. It is one thing to come up with an idea and a completely different thing to get out there and make it come to life.

Everything that I have done over the past two weeks has further backed my decision to seek a career path in marketing and keeps me excited and anxious to see all the possibilities that I have to make a difference in the community.