SMWC Receives Ball Venture Foundation Grant For Social Media Projects

July 20th, 2010 | SMWC

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) has been selected as a recipient of the 2010 Ball Brothers Foundation Venture Fund award, a competitive grant established by the Ball Brothers Foundation (Muncie, Indiana) and administered by the Independent Colleges of Indiana.

The Ball Brothers Foundation Venture Fund awarded a total of $75,000 in seed funding for campus start-up initiatives aimed at stimulating creativity and innovation and fostering competition and collaboration. 

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College will use its $15,000 in seed funds to pilot a “Social Marketing Experiment,” an innovative internship program pairing SMWC distance and campus students in teams to design and implement social marketing strategies for local not-for-profit organizations. 

Social marketing is the use of social networks, online communities, blogs or other online collaborative media for marketing, sales or fundraising, public relations and customer service. Common social media marketing tools such as Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Wiki and YouTube are used to create messages that attract attention and become viral in nature, or “buzz.” Buzz is what makes social media marketing work.

The SMWC student teams will utilize their knowledge of business and social marketing to play key role in strengthening local organizations.  The team of interns will meet virtually with their organizations through a Web conferencing system.

Dottie King, Ph.D., interim president of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College commented, “This project is innovative in three ways: 1) it brings campus and distance students together in teams using technology as the bridge; 2) it is a team internship project where students will earn college credit and 3) students apply social networking marketing techniques in a real-world setting.” 

The 2010 recipients were chosen from a field of 29 proposals submitted by 20 Independent Colleges of Indiana member colleges and universities. Saint Mary-of-the Woods College is the only member of the Independent Colleges of Indiana to be awarded the Ball Venture Grant for two consecutive years. Other recipients are DePauw University, Franklin College and Hanover College.

Jennie Mitchell, Ph.D., professor of business and principal investigator of the grant, said one of the most exciting new marketing techniques in recent years is social marketing, which is being used with substantial success by technologically sophisticated organizations. “Research suggests not-for-profit organizations which adopt social marketing strategies can increase their fundraising as much as 40 percent.  We have the students to help make that happen.”

To apply to work with a team of SMWC interns, visit http://www.smwc.edu/gointerns. For additional information, contact Jennie Mitchell, Ph. D. at (812) 535-5279 or by e-mail at jmitchell@smwc.edu

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