One common misconception of the business world is that its main focus is on making money. Even though making a profit is an important component, corporate and social responsibility (a concept that we learned and adopted in our business courses) is becoming increasingly important. Whether you are a business trying to be more energy efficient, use green production processes or volunteer time and money to a worthy cause, corporate and social responsibility (CSR) can be a vital business practice that triggers growth and a heightened public image.
From my first class in global business perspectives to my final class in marketing strategy and analysis, we discussed the importance of a business taking care of its stakeholders – not just their stockholders. During our classes, we learned firsthand what corporate and social responsibility are all about by giving back to the local community by working alongside local non-profit organizations. I first got my feet wet during my Internet marketing class with Dr. Samuel Doss. The main objective of our class project was to increase a non-profit’s Internet presence through search engine optimization and social media. We were able to accomplish this through the best practices learned during our classes.
The organization my partner Devlin Munion and I picked was Brevard ASAP (Aiding Shelter Animals Project). Brevard ASAP is a A 501(c)(3) Florida non-profit corporation with one mission—to generate resources to enhance Brevard County’s animal shelters through education, fundraising and adoption programs.
Setting up an ad campaign and measuring the uptick in traffic and increased search engine visibility was very rewarding. Knowing that the hard work put into the assignment not only helps us achieve a good grade, but we let us help a worthy organization reach more potential donors. During our two-week campaign and with a $150 budget, we doubled their Facebook impressions and likes and made the Brevard ASAP webpage go from page five on Google to the second position on page one!
Our work with Brevard ASAP did not end there. We also helped with several fundraising projects like the Melbourne Super Hero Walk (Check out my blog post about it). We were able to continue the relationship we built with Brevard ASAP during our marketing strategies and analysis class. During this class, we had another opportunity to work with a non-profit as part of the class project. This time, our professor, Dr. Andrew Cudmore, had us focus on marketing strategy and theory through the development of a marketing campaign with a fictional budget of $2,500. As part of our final grade, we had to contact the organization and have a representative come in and analyze our plan. Talk about pressure. Thankfully, I was able to partner again with my friend Devlin to create a marketing strategy that incorporated some of our previous experience enhancing Brevard ASAP’s web presence. We were able to connect with the organization’s treasurer, Jay Wherley, and president, Sherri Binggeli, for a needs analysis. During our meeting, we learned what their goals were and where they needed the most marketing support. We found out that they were in need of a recreational area for their dogs which needed to be fenced in. So, we got to work on helping them raise awareness and money.
Our recommendation was to help expand their social media presence through Pinterest and to initiate a crowd-funding campaign through Rockethub. In addition to the online components we recommended, we also suggested they would benefit from promotional items like collapsible doggy bowls and Frisbees for handing out at events they attend. Our third team member, Tyler Lowdermilk, was in charge of analyzing their website and looking up different events they can attend to build relationships and gain more exposure.
Overall, our client, class and professor were extremely satisfied with the suggestions we presented. Even though the assignment is over, the experience and knowledge gained while helping a non-profit has inspired me to continue my relationship with Brevard ASAP. I look forward to joining the workforce soon, and I’m happy to be armed with the marketing experience and knowledge gained through my experience.