Terry Students Gain Hands-On Marketing Experience through Nonprofit Partnership

Jennifer Obson, a full-time lecturer in the University of Georgia – Terry College of Business Department of Marketing, provides students with opportunities to use their marketing skills outside of the classroom.

In seeking opportunities for her Digital Marketing Analytics students to use marketing knowledge in the “real world,” Obson was inspired by the recent event, Atlanta’s 48 in 48, in which she and other volunteers built 48 websites in 48 hours for 48 nonprofits. For her MARK 4650 course, Obson partnered with five Google-grant-qualifying nonprofits in the Atlanta area.

Each partnering nonprofit received a Google grant for the explicit purpose of growing their online presence. Rather than paying each month for their organization to appear at the top of online search results, these nonprofits were each given $10,000 a month to invest in Google AdWords, allowing them to expand their volunteer base and online reach.

Students in Obson’s course have the chance to become certified in Google Analytics Individual Qualification and Google AdWords Fundamentals, along with other AdWords topics such as mobile, search or shopping advertising. Such certifications can demonstrate to clients how knowledgeable a student is in the online advertising sphere and make them very competitive candidates as they enter the job market.

“They get to actually invest the money, they get to see how it performs and make tweaks and changes and recommendations for the future,” Obson says. “So they’re not only helping the nonprofit, but they’re also getting the real-world experience of actually investing—not playing around with it or getting close to it or seeing how it works—they actually do it and look for actual results.”

Since the grant is an investment in marketing and not hard cash, the students are able to work with less pressure and fear that they are wasting someone’s money if the campaign isn’t successful. Nonetheless, students say they are inclined to work harder knowing that the payoff of a successful campaign is very real. Moreover, students will work alongside the nonprofits to pass on knowledge about marketing and managing grant money so the nonprofits can continue the work after the semester has ended.


About the Author

Alanna Shaffer

Staff Writer, covering MetroMBA's news beat for Atlanta, Houston, and Dallas.

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