Marketing class lends hand to new nonprofit
April 5, 2010 —
Lectures, textbooks and exams are out of the question for Gary Clark’s Marketing 331 class.
Instead, these students learn advertising principles through real life experience.
Marketing 331 is different from any other business course at SVSU. The class was hired by a client named Todd Ostrowski, the president of the Alayna’s Angels Foundation, in Hemlock.
Alayna’s Angels is a nonprofit organization looking to get on its feet and assist children with special needs and their families. The organization was named after Ostrowski’s daughter, Alayna, a 9-yearold girl with multiple severe cognitive disorders. Ostrowski hopes the organization will be able to help other families with special needs in whatever way possible.
The Alayna’s Angels Foundation has been established for two years but it faces a hurdle. A government regulation decrees that to be able to begin helping families the organization needs $10,000. Ostrowski hired Clark’s class to help fundraise to reach that goal.
Clark’s classes have done projects like this for at least 105 organizations, with one-third of them nonprofit. Projects include the Saginaw Boys and Girls Club, Bay City Family YMCA and Saginaw’s Big Brothers and Sisters.
“Clients may read an article about my class or hear about someone else who has had a project done through word-ofmouth,” Clark said. “The client normally pays a fee up front for our services, and as we spend money throughout the semester, students are reimbursed for any expenses they may encounter.”
Since there are no lectures or exams, Clark’s class is based on participatory management. The classroom is run like a small business with decisions constantly needing to be made.
“I am trying to improve student’s soft skills,” Clark said. “These real world skills include writing, interpersonal, teambuilding, critical thinking, problem solving, creative thinking, reflective, and decision making.”
The class is divided into four groups of six, all working for the same client. Each group is required to submit a binder at the end of the semester with techniques and services to provide the client ways to market the foundation.
Class member and general business junior Brittany Granger is excited to see the progress the class has made.
“We have found articles on ways to get grants and improve Web sites,” Granger said. “We have also come up with an application process for families, as well as developed software to keep track of which families have applied and received donations. Alayna’s Angels will be able to use these down the road.”
Business management senior Nicole Hunt recognizes the hard work involved in establishing a business and the benefits of real-world business experience.
“This class is a great opportunity for students,” Hunt said. “Real life experience is so much more beneficial than sitting and reading a textbook. At the same time, we get to benefit the community.”
The class is hoping to fundraise to generate at least the amount that the client originally paid for their services.
“This class is a lot of work, but probably the most rewarding school project I have ever done,” said accounting and finance senior Ashley Earle. “I now know how to approach businesses and have never gotten so much realworld experience in a classroom setting.”
Each group in the class is responsible for one fundraiser to help Alayna’s Angels reach its $10,000 goal. These fundraisers range from a restaurant night to Ping-Pong tournaments. One team already has raised $500.
On Saturday, April 10, the class will host a three-versusthree basketball tournament at 11 a.m. in the Ryder Center. The cost is $5 per person.