Should Your Nonprofit Hire an Intern?

Welcome in the New Year with the prospect of offering an internship program.

Internships provide an excellent opportunity for college and graduate students to learn with hands-on experience. Nonprofits who hire interns also reap many benefits of taking on an extra pair of hands and an excited student. Especially now, as the new year approaches, you may be considering hiring an intern to help take a load off your plate so that you can focus on bigger and better things in 2018.

Before hiring your first intern, it’s important to understand the legal implications and to develop the right structure for your internship program. In short, there can be quite a bit of prep work before taking on an intern!


Whether or not you classify your intern as an employee or volunteer depends on compensation. The U.S. Department of Labor allows for unpaid internships in the nonprofit sector. If you are looking to hire an unpaid intern, you must clearly label the position as a volunteer position in the job listing. If your nonprofit is going to be offering compensation, then he or she may be considered an employee. Employees are generally subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and other standard affecting employees in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments. These interns would be entitled to, at least, minimum wage.

Liability Concerns

Talk to your local insurance agent to find out if your intern is covered under your workers’ compensation insurance policy. Typically, if he or she is considered an employee, your insurance coverage will be valid for their accidents. If your intern is a volunteer, you may need to secure additional coverage.

To protect the livelihood of your organization and volunteers, ensure you have the right protection. Contact the experts at Colorado Nonprofit Insurance Agency, part of HUB International in Denver, Colorado at 303-894-0298. Make sure that your nonprofit is properly covered. We will work with you to ensure you are getting the most out of your coverage.