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When Bunny Hansen of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Continuing Education and Extension office was putting together a Not-for-Profit Workshop Series to be held on campus, she remembered a class taught by Dr. Julie Henderson often provided help to nonprofit organizations. She thought perhaps there was opportunity for collaboration between the two.

At the same time, Dr. Henderson was starting a new class, Application of New and Emerging Media, which was designed to offer students real-life experience in using social media in a strategic way for the benefit of organizations.

The result was a partnership between Continuing Education and Extension and the Department of Journalism that incorporated reverse mentoring, an educational approach in which students become the teachers. Each student in the class was paired with one organization, including such varied groups as Habitat for Humanity, Lord of the Lakes Thrift and Gift Store and the Friends of Ledgeview Nature Center. The purpose was to help these groups improve, or some times create, their social media, using platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Foursquare.

“It’s not unusual for students to be very adept at using social media,” Henderson said. “But they have typically been self-taught and used it primarily for personal reasons. In this class, they were expected to have a plan, with goals and objectives for their partner organization.”

What she observed as the semester progressed was that the students “developed a bond with their clients, and very much wanted to help them succeed.”
One such client, the Center for Career Development and Employability Training (CCDET) reported that “Advancing our marketing plan has been a long term objective for our department. Through this partnership, it happened.”

Working with student Taylor Roth, CCDET Interim Co-Director Renee Rickert said: “CCDET recently updated the website and Taylor’s expertise was essential in developing a marketing strategy that also included Facebook and LinkedIn. She not only set this up for us, but she also took the time to learn about our department and our outreach objectives. Additionally, she showed us how to run reports and gave us the necessary tools to maintain our Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.”

Two programs within Clarity Care were helped by two students, Jaci Abler with Chance and Derek Schroeder with Imagine. Kurt Johnson, Director of Program Development for Clarity Care, found the experience beneficial and noted: “The students specifically assigned to our organization brought value, knowledge and dedication.”

Hansen marketed her Not-for-Profit Fundraising and Resource Development Workshop Series to provide, as a bonus to participants who registered for three or more workshops, assistance in developing and establishing their organization’s social media strategy.

“In addition to these organizations benefiting from the assistance, the students also felt this opportunity was a very positive experience for their class,” Hansen said.

Plans for this collaboration will continue again next year.

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Dr. Julie Henderson submitted this announcement. Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to contribute calendar items, campus announcements and other good news to UW Oshkosh Today.