A marketing class is giving students a chance to utilize their skills for charity.
When senior marketing major Stephanie Siciliano enrolled in entrepreneurial marketing, she hoped to gain real-world experience for her ambitions after college. But she didn’t know just how real that experience would be.
The entrepreneurial marketing class offered at Fox School of Business participates in a project called the 10-10-10 Foundation, which allows student groups to compete through fundraising efforts while maintaining a focus on issues of sustainability, charity and community.
Assistant professor Dr. Jean Wilcox is the director of the 10-10-10 Foundation. She orchestrates the project that her entrepreneurial marketing class participates in.
Ten teams are given $10 and asked to multiply that amount by at least a factor of 10 by the end of each semester, by using social media.
Wilcox explained that the first group of students to complete this assignment far exceeded her expectations and raised more than $5,500. Since then, the project has expanded.
“It’s starting to propagate beyond the class, which I think is really cool,” Wilcox said. “I now have some charities call and ask me if any groups want to raise funds for their charity.”
Wilcox stressed that the 10-10-10 Foundation raises more than just money.
“The project involves each of us becoming an entrepreneur and coming up with ways to raise money, as well as raising awareness about the foundation and our cause,” said Tram Chau, a senior international business major with a concentration in marketing.
Siciliano and Chau are both in a group that decided to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants the wishes of children who suffer from a terminal illness.
“It is a great organization and I actually know people who have had their wishes granted from the organization and it truly changed the child’s life,” Siciliano said.
The charity has agreed to match everything that Siciliano and her group can raise this semester, which already totals nearly $500.
“Imagine a young child going through daily medical treatments and can’t really do what normal kids like to do,” Chau said. “A glimpse of hope is all they need to fight through their illness.”
Siciliano and Chau’s group strives to make the public aware that they are raising money, in order to grant the wishes of those children. They have held bake sales in Alter Hall, an event at Triumph Brewery and are still planning an open bar at Mad River in Old City.
Since the project’s start in the Spring 2010, Wilcox’s classes have raised a combined total of more than $50,000 in cash donations for the student-selected charities.
This success has not been achieved without some hurdles along the way.
Siciliano indicated that low attendance at fundraising events was one of the biggest challenges to overcome.
“It is hard to get students to come and support an organization by coming to our events when they already paid $25 to go to someone else’s event,” Siciliano said about competing with 20 other groups.
That’s where the use of Facebook and other social media networking sites comes in.
“If the information does not get across to them, they are most likely not going to be interested in what you are trying to tell them,” Chau said.
Still, Facebook is not a perfect solution. Siciliano mentioned that it enables many people to say that they will attend an event, but the simple click of a button does not guarantee actual attendance.
For students, this class has many real world applications, such as starting a business and then managing and promoting it.
“This is what you will be doing at your job,” Siciliano said. “Especially if you are thinking about creating your own business.”
Overall, Chau considers entrepreneurial marketing to be invaluable practice in problem solving before she enters the real business world.
Chau said time management and patience seems to go a long way.
“In the real world, I will most likely face difficult challenges on a daily basis,” Chau said. “Knowing how to solve those challenges will help me be successful in my career. The project has taught me how to be a real entrepreneur.”
Haley Kmetz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.