We’re officially in the spring season, and that means within the next month or so, college students will be finishing up their finals and gearing up for summer vacation. Now summer means a lot of things for college students, but one popular “to-do” in particular: internships.

If you’re thinking of offering a summer internship at your association, now is the time to start publicizing that opportunity. Haven’t thought about offering an internship before? You may want to! In fact, you may want to consider an internship if…

1. You need help but can’t necessarily afford to hire someone full (or even part) time

Many interns work for free. Their pay is the experience. That said, if you can offer a little compensation (in addition to the experience), you might attract a larger pool of applicants.

The point here though is this: If you need help and money is a concern, an internship may be the way to go. You’ll likely attract good talent at a low cost. (And if the experience goes well and your budget permits, you may be able to bring them on full-time at a later date – minimizing the cost of new hire recruitment/onboarding.)

2. You’re looking to gather/try outside-the-box ideas

Interns are great for a lot of reasons, but one of our favorites: They often bring outside-the-box ideas. Interns aren’t as familiar with the inner (and even outer) workings of your organization, and as a result, they’ll be able to bring a fresh perspective.

Struggling with what to post on social media? Looking to be a little bit more innovative at your next meeting or event? These are prime opportunities for interns to get their hands dirty. (And bonus: If you’ve been trying to engage younger members for a while at your organization, interns could be a great resource for you and your staff. Who knows young people better than young people?!)

3. You can provide them with value

Now most organizations can relate to #1 and #2, but #3 is often the deciding factor. You should only offer an internship opportunity IF you can provide the intern with value. Too often, interns are given administrative tasks only – answering phones, making copies, grabbing coffee, etc. Now some administrative tasks are fine, but remember, internships should be mutually beneficial. They’re providing you with value, so in turn, you should be providing them with value.

What does value for an intern look like? Again, experience! Allow them to take the lead on projects, to participate in brainstorms, to publish some of their own copy (on your blog, website, social media sites, etc.). Give them something tangible that they can then take to their next job interview. “I did this, this, and this, and saw these results.”

By giving them that type of value, not only will they be appreciative, but they’ll likely tell their friends/classmates. And if you’re looking to turn this internship opportunity into a more standard/regular program, this is a great way to start facilitating some word-of-mouth marketing.

Not looking for interns, per se, but still seeking out volunteers? Allow us to help! Check out our Ultimate Guide to Volunteer Management below. It’s filled with best practices for volunteer recruitment, onboarding, and retention!