by Mari Smith ’19
I come to you from Denver, Colorado on a lazy Monday afternoon sitting among 11 felines in a “cat cafe”. Working at Denver Open media this co-op term, I enjoy Saturday, Sunday and Monday off because we do not operate on weekends and Mondays. I have thus been able to get to know this town and immerse myself in it’s weird hipster-culture during my long weekends.
Denver Open Media–or DOM for short–is part of a larger non-profit organization entitled “The Open Media Foundation” . The Open Media foundation is a non-profit focused on putting the power of the media back into the hands of the people. We offer a wide range of classes on basic media production from Adobe photoshop to Sony Vegas Pro as well as free rental of media equipment , studios and software to members. We are especially focused on giving a platform to local artists and other non-profits in the Denver area to help give them more exposure for the work they do to enrich our community. My job at DOM is focused on that outreach piece that is so vital to our organization as a whole. I spend each day either searching for potential partnerships to add to our database, or reaching out to said partnerships by phone or by foot.
One skill I have obtained from this job is to give a 30 second to pitch to our potential clients about our organization and how they can benefit from a partnership with us. Unlike my previous non-profit job that had been around for years before I came, this non-profit just started up in 2012 and is still gaining its’ reputation in the greater Denver area. Even though we have a consistent flow of funding through a mix of the city of Denver, memberships and private donors, we still lack a lot of the structure and resources a robust and successful non-profit should have.
Much like Antioch College, if someone has a new idea for a show or an event, it is up to them to spearhead it and put in paid, and unpaid hours to make it a reality. Many people here do the work of three or four employees and understand that this is what comes with the job.
When I first started this internship, I was given a model for how I could independently make money by doing underwriting for them to sustain my time here. This was actually not the case. Not only was it my job to write and produce the promos, it was implicitly my job to find those sponsors and ask them for their money, and or membership to our station.
This was a very hard roadblock to overcome because A.) I had never done outreach before and was Brand new to Denver and B.) DOM was so new, that it was completely up to me to inform them about what sort of work we do and how we could benefit them without a reputation. As a result I did not make much money personally. However, I ended up establishing connections with over a dozen organizations. I made three radio promos, created the station’s official Instagram account, and helped them develop a radio proficiency class for members (like I said, three or four jobs). I would recommend this co-op to anyone who is interested in developing non-profits and is not afraid of having a challenging day to day experience.