State Policy Network

Development Apprentice Program

Connect your leadership experience and entrepreneurial drive with your passion to make real and lasting change that helps Americans thrive.

Given the concerns and uncertainty in the coming months around events and large gatherings, virtual office environments, and travel restrictions, we have decided to cancel the 2020 Development Apprentice Program (DAP). With the long-term effects and timeline of the Coronavirus pandemic unknown, we are taking every precaution now to ensure the safety of everyone involved. 

We did not make this decision lightly, and are still deeply committed to cultivating, training, and retaining development talent long term. We are not canceling the program indefinitely, and we will continue the momentum we’ve built in recruiting for the Development Apprentice Program for 2021.

Tuesday Talk Development Series

State Policy Network is launching an expanded development Tuesday Talk series on the foundations and principles of non-profit philanthropy. The series is based off of trainings from the Development Apprentice Program.

While we had to cancel the 2020 summer program due to the current global health crisis, this new Tuesday Talk series will offer participants a unique opportunity to learn about the big picture theory and strategy in development as well as practical skills and tools in executing a fund development plan. Whether you want to expand your knowledge in development to apply to your current role or you would like to explore development as a potential career path, we hope you’ll join us each week as we highlight how you can cultivate relationships that lead to philanthropic partnerships to support the mission of an organization.

About the Development Apprentice Program

Connect your leadership experience and entrepreneurial drive with your passion to make real and lasting change that helps Americans thrive. State Policy Network’s Development Apprentice Program places aspiring leaders who support individual rights and economic freedom at state-based think tanks across the country for a 10-week crash course with on-the-job training in nonprofit fundraising.

Get a head start on your peers with experience and formal training in fundraising, which is required for most executive leadership positions, such as CEOs and board members. Nonprofit executives in leadership roles spend a majority of their time on fundraising to develop relationships and build support for the mission of the organization. Learn how to cultivate relationships that lead to philanthropic partnerships and support for organizations, develop research and analytical skills, and grow your professional network.

Learn more about what previous participants have to say about SPN’s Development Apprentice Program. 

As part of this program, participants will:

  • Receive full-time placement at a state-based think tank for nine weeks (June 8-August 7).
  • Participate in welcome seminar with training on development fundamentals and networking opportunities (June 1-5).
  • Have travel expenses covered to/from program placement and welcome seminar.
  • Engage in a weekly online lecture series on professional development and leadership topics.
  • Work with an assigned mentor to expand network and receive formal coaching.
  • Attend SPN’s Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL in August 2020 as a Generation Liberty Fellow (optional).
  • Receive additional career placement support following the program.
  • Receive invitations to participate in future SPN training and resources within the network.

Program Details and Benefits

Why participate? 

  • Pursue your interest in a career where you can help Americans flourish through greater personal freedom, innovation, opportunity, and a more peaceful society.
  • Acquire hands-on experience working on all aspects of development operations.
  • Join a team and integrate into the department like staff dedicated to generating support for its mission.
  • Exposure to breadth of fundraising careers and other opportunities available in the non-profit community.
  • Expand your network of like-minded peers as well as industry experts from across the country.
  • Participate in interactive workshops and receive professional development and coaching.
  • Learn more about various state policy issues and solutions, as well as successes and challenges across the country.

What benefits do apprentices receive (in addition to the awesome resume experience)?

  • Paid internship—10 week apprenticeship program with $4,000 stipend.
  • Housing stipend to offset some living expenses during the program placement.
  • Exposure to all aspects of nonprofit fundraising operations.
  • Receive professional training and resources in addition to job experience.
  • Access to a network of organizations and professionals across the country.
  • Career placement services to assist participants in finding full-time positions after the program.
  • Develop a network of fellow apprentices and other professional contacts across the country.
  • Continuous mentorship after the program concludes.

Where will apprentices be placed for the internship?

  • Apprentices are placed with a development team at an SPN affiliate organization. The participating hosts are independent organizations committed to advancing free-market policy solutions at the state and local level.

What participants say about the program

Show-Me Institute

Kelvey, 2018 Apprentice

“State policy and state think tanks make the most difference. My goal for the future is to promote liberty. Working at the state level may not seem as ‘sexy’ as national politics, but we need more people doing this work—on the ground, practically making a difference, walking the walk and getting things done.”

Georgia Center for Opportunity

George, 2018 Apprentice

“I worked in media in summer 2017 and found it unfulfilling. I felt like media was only advancing partisan narratives. When I looked at SPN, I saw that partisan narratives took a backseat to values like freedom and opportunity. Those values mean a lot more and transcend the political machine here in Washington, DC. I’m excited about building relationships to get people invested in change at the state level.”

Georgia Center for Opportunity

Grace, 2019 Apprentice

“DAP has changed my outlook on life and what I want to do. It’s shown me that I have so much more potential than I thought I did, and it’s given me a reason to work harder. I left the DAP program with a job offer, and I’m not even done with school yet. It’s provided me with so many opportunities to grow on both a professional and personal level.”

California Policy Center

Carson, 2018 Apprentice

“I’ve always been really proud to be from Missouri. It’s a state with a lot to offer that is falling behind, because, when it comes to policy, Missouri has things that are getting in our own way of growing. I never realized that philanthropy could be an opportunity to change that. I’m excited to be part of the fuel for change—philanthropy makes it possible.”

Requirements and Application Guidelines

This program seeks young leaders with diverse skill sets who support individual rights, personal and economic freedom, and free-market solutions. Previous experience is not required, but an entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for liberty is required.

Undergraduates, graduate students, and recent graduates from all disciplines, including social sciences, business, economics, philanthropy, etc., are encouraged to apply.

Application & Selection Timeline:

February 17, 2020: Application Deadline

March 2, 2020: All applicants notified of their status on a rolling basis

March 4-18, 2020: Finalists interview with SPN

April 1, 2020: Selected participants receive placement and finalize all remaining details to prepare for the program.

Find out where previous applicants have landed jobs following the apprenticeship, and what they enjoyed most about their participation in SPN’s Development Apprentice Program!

To be eligible, an applicant must currently reside in the United States and meet all visa requirements, if applicable. Attendance for all program sessions, including the opening seminar, weekly webinars, and internship placement is required.

SPN Contact

Katie Vernuccio

Senior Program Advisor

Phone 602-478-1524