Fee For An Internship At The U.N: $22,000 And Counting

charitybuzz website auctions internshipsGiven the high unemployment rate, many new grads might be forced to accept an internship, even an unpaid one. But would you shell over thousands of bucks for a chance to, say, spend a couple weeks interning for no pay at the United Nations? If you think that sounds absurd, you haven't heard of Charitybuzz, a site which hosts online auctions for a range of experiences and products and sends the proceeds to charity.

Right now that six-week internship at the United Nations has several bids on the site, the highest is $22,000. (Proceeds will go to the RFK Young Leaders.) But there are 14 days left to bid, so don't despair if you want that chance to work on human rights.

Other internship auctions, some of them set to close today, have attracted considerably less interest:
  • The only internship at a Fortune 500 company which is offered on the site has attracted eight bids, the highest at just $1,025. It's an internship in the auditing division of the financial services firm Fiserv.
  • A summer internship at the Milwaukee Art Museum has just one bid of $500 -- even though it includes a year's membership to the museum.
  • A monthlong internship with a Los Angeles-based fashion designer has only attracted two bids, the highest at $225 -- well below its $1,000 value, as set by Charitybuzz.

Interestingly, internships in the ailing magazine industry also have garnered relatively little interest. A two-week internship at Star magazine has three bids, with the top one at $1,350 -- despite being valued at $5,000. A two-week internship at LA Confidential has two bids, the highest at just $150.

In speaking to AOL Jobs, Charitybuzz CEO Coppy Holzman said the values for each internship are determined by how "like-minded [internships have] fared in the past." He referred to the program as "a win-win situation that allows iconic programs to raise support for charities." He pointed out that Charitybuzz internship programs are "crafted in addition to existing [internship] programs," and urged anyone who can't afford a Charitybuzz internship to pursue a standard one.

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Coffee With Tim Cook At Apple: $600,000 And Counting
Since its founding in 2005, Charitybuzz has used an array of creative tactics to elicit money from donors, such as this year auctioning a coffee chat with Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook. So far 84 people have entered bids, with the highest being $600,000, as of Tuesday. In its seven years, Charitybuzz says, it has helped raise $75 million for charities, including Action Against Hunger, Habitat for Humanity and Oxfam International.

But the internship program sets Charitybuzz apart from more traditional charity fundraisers. Simply because they have the bucks to support them, the Charitybuzz interns can gain entry to workplaces that otherwise are only open to people who claw their way in through years of hard work. And as The New York Times pointed out, Charitybuzz interns work on the front lines: One of its interns at the Meredith Corporation not only got to work on the publisher's sales plans for magazines such as Ladies' Home Journal, but also helped with an advice column.
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Of course, connections have long been an extremely useful tool in landing an internship. And paying for a job is not entirely unique to Charitybuzz, either. One job-search service, TheLadders.com, guarantees a six-figure job for the fee of $2,500. But according to Slate, the website only accepts clients who can stick to a rigorous career training program that requires familiarity with such corporate concepts as brand management. "Anyone qualifying for the program probably does not need it anyway," the online magazine says.

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Charitybuzz gigs similarly offer access to the elite. According to fashion news site Refinery29, many of the Charitybuzz internships have been in the New York fashion world -- with such name brands as Oscar de la Renta, Balenciaga and Valentino regularly auctioning off month-long gigs at their offices. And of course, the lucky Charitybuzz interns can list the experience on their resumes.

What do you think of Charitybuzz internships? Share your comments below.

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Filed under: Internships
Dan Fastenberg

Dan Fastenberg

Associate Editor

Dan Fastenberg was most recently a reporter with TIME Magazine. Previously, he was a writer for the Thomson Reuters news service's Latin America desk. He was also a reporter and associate editor for the Buenos Aires Herald while living in South America.

Follow Dan on Twitter. Email Dan at daniel.fastenberg@teamaol.com. Add Dan to your Google+ circles.

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