Partnering Non-Profits With Student Teams for Flourishing Campaigns: Laying the Groundwork

Thursday, August 20, 2009 | 2:08 PM

Labels: , , ,

School is almost back in session, and Wayne State University is joining the roster of top notch universities that are participating in AdWords in the Curriculum. Past and current participants include Eastern Michigan University, Michigan State University, and Emerson College.

How do AdWords in the Curriculum participants (students and non-profits) coordinate to attain success? For many non-profits, time is tight, and the task of developing advertising strategy may fall to the wayside of other concerns such as program development, event planning, or fundraising efforts. These priorities are understandable, and AdWords in the Curriculum is designed to ease the weight of honing online advertising while providing a valuable learning experience for students. That said, the effectiveness of a campaign will depend largely on mutual engagement from both students and non-profits. The time commitment may differ, but close engagement and adherence to deadlines are essential for an online advertising campaign to take flight.

For non-profits who are considering working with a student team or set of interns, the following steps that will be used in the Wayne State course are helpful for ensuring that a partnership develops between a student team and a non-profit team. This partnership will help lead to a fruitful campaign tailored to a non-profit's needs.

Successful communication between Google Grants recipients and students depends on measuring progress and accountability. Deadlines, meetings, and progress reports are three cornerstones of a framework for AdWords in the Curriculum effectiveness.

Wayne State Professor of Marketing Kevin Ketels explains, "The non-profits will receive a copy of my syllabus up front so they understand expectations for the students as well as for their own participation. For example, the non-profits will need to understand hard deadlines for reviewing student work in order to launch on deadline. In my syllabus, I have outlined a specific agenda for the introductory meeting between students and the non-profit. This meeting includes a review of the non-profit mission, overview of Google AdWords, goals for the advertising campaign, deadlines, and exchange of contact information."

Regular progress reports are a final facet of making sure that a partnership is blossoming between a student team and non-profit.

"I have also outlined specific milestones throughout the semester that include definition of organizational objectives, advertising design, campaign launch, evaluation, and optimization of the program," added Ketels. "For each of these items, the non-profit and I will receive a progress report from the student teams."

This is Wayne State University's first semester of AdWords in the Curriculum. Throughout the process, the mission and interests of the Google Grants recipient will be prioritized, keeping in mind time constraints and importance of a strong relationship between the student and non-profit partners.

"This course is unlike any I’ve taught in the past in that the students will be working on a project that directly impacts an outside organization," said Ketels. "It will require a high level of planning and communication between the non-profit organizations and their assigned student teams."

AdWords in the Curriculum at Wayne State will serve to educate students about the online advertising space, and will help non-profits local to Michigan get their first AdWords campaigns off to a running start.