Communications and public affairs internship at the American Red Cross (Des Moines, IA)

Communications/Public Affairs Internship

Fall and Spring Semesters 2016/2017

Red Cross Mission Statement

The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.

Job summary

Assist the American Red Cross serving Greater Iowa in showcasing the mission to provide relief to victims of disaster and help prevent, prepare for and respond to disasters. Develop timely, accurate, relevant and accessible content about the Red Cross in Iowa.


  • Develop content about the American Red Cross in Iowa, including:
    • Interviewing Red Cross “clients” and volunteers in-person and/or over the phone
    • Taking photos and providing well-written captions
    • Capturing videos
      • Examples include:
        • Update on the latest activities from a Red Cross volunteer or worker
        • Demonstration of Red Cross services
        • Disaster client interview
    • Write short vignettes or snapshots about Red Cross service delivery in Iowa -roughly 100-200 words
      • Write stories about Red Cross service delivery in Iowa – longer-form pieces of text (roughly 400-500 words) combined with illustrative photos or videos
        • Examples:
          • Volunteer, partner, or client profiles
          • Historical retrospectives
          • Partnerships
  • Write press releases, as needed, to announce or share newsworthy information.
    • Examples include:
      • Preparedness information
      • Shelter location announcement
      • Other service announcements
  • Post relevant, timely content on Iowa Red Cross Social Media Channels
    • Track the internet and social media for timely content to share that relates to current Red Cross topics, education or marketing efforts or is of interest to our followers
    • When appropriate, comment on others’ content, whether thanking them for the find, adding Red Cross value/perspective or starting a conversation
    • Edit and/or post multi-media content generated by the Red Cross, such as videos, photos, news and tips
    • Respond to comments, messages and tags in a timely manner
    • Support disaster public affairs during a disaster by posting relevant tips, monitoring social media, responding to social media inquiries & comments, alerting public affairs to misinformation.
  • During large responses, assist Red Cross Communications Team with media outreach and other communications duties as assigned
  • Preserve positive image of Red Cross and client confidentiality by using communication skills to discern what information may be released to the public
  • Perform duties in a clear, appropriate, and professional manner with all constituencies, including other disaster team volunteers, paid staff, regional leadership and community partners
  • Act in ways consistent with Red Cross mission, fundamental principles, procedures and guidelines


  • Knowledge of AP Style
  • Experience with media or public relations process
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills
  • Familiarity with digital photography
  • Interest in online and social media
  • Access to cell/mobile phone
  • Personal transportation


  • Opportunity to use communications expertise in service to a nonprofit organization
  • Multitude of training opportunities on disaster public affairs
  • Become part of a dynamic and committed cadre of Red Cross volunteers
  • Be a pivotal part of telling the story of the Red Cross, our responses to disaster and our volunteers
  • Work closely with staff members of the Red Cross communications team


Must become a registered American Red Cross volunteer

Upon internship acceptance, but complete online Red Cross courses:

  • Disaster Services: An Overview
  • Public Affairs Essentials
  • Social Basics

This is an unpaid internship.


Contact Communications, (515) 243-6303 or