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Bentley Takes First Place at FutureM College Face-Off: Social Media for Social Good
A team of Bentley University students took first place at the College Face-Off: Social Media for Social Good, a Boston-based intercollegiate challenge aimed at developing marketing strategies for non-profit organizations. The competition was held recently at the Microsoft New England Research & Development Center in Cambridge as part of FutureM, a week of events and discussions about the future of marketing. Bentley, Emerson College and Harvard University were the three finalists. Other participating schools included Boston College, Boston University, Tufts University and UMass Boston.
Two official Bentley teams competed, while a third intercollegiate team included students from Bentley, Boston College and Boston University. The winning Bentley team included seniors Sarah Antocci, Spencer Bramson, Paul Foote and Katie Shill. The group worked with Massachusetts Easter Seals, a nonprofit, community-based organization that educates and advocates for both children and adults with disabilities. The second Bentley team, which worked with the Life is Good Kids Foundation, included seniors Steven Harvey and Prarthana Nandwani; and juniors Ryan Ghods, Matt Somma and Jessica Wanczyk. The third intercollegiate team of students from multiple schools included Bentley junior Elizabeth Sisson.
Each team of students was assigned a specific non-profit to assist. They researched the organizations’ challenges and developed an overarching integrated strategy appropriate for the organization’s culture and needs.
“At the event, they (Easter Seals) came to us with a goal for a cost-effective way to utilize social media to both gain awareness and help increase involvement with donors and volunteers,” Bentley senior Katie Shill said..
Her team developed a strategy that used Facebook as the main platform. The interactive Facebook page allows users to register to volunteer, donate money, and learn more about the organization. They designed an infographic for education purposes, and used remaining space for fan interaction such as polls, sign-up forms, and donation websites.
All teams presented their final strategy to a panel of judges consisting of area marketing professionals, with three finalists determined based on the creativity, plausibility, and effectiveness of their strategy. Judges included:
· Eric Andersen, senior I/T architect and consultant, IBM Global Services
· Michael Bourne, senior vice president and group director, Mullen
· Stacey Howe, head of digital marketing, New Balance
· Mike Lewis, vice president of marketing, Awareness
· Donna Tocci, vice president of social marketing, Digitas
In the spirit of social good, the grand prize-winning team received a cash prize donation to their partner non-profit.
“The best part was the end result,” Shill recalls. “In addition to gaining a new Facebook page, Easter Seals was presented with a $500 prize.”
The Yawkey Foundations have recognized Bentley University’s longstanding commitment to service-learning and awarded the university $500,000 to educate students to effectively lead nonprofit organizations and expand student efforts to help community groups.