Business Analytics Course Commits to Improving the Community through Web Analytics

January 5, 2015

In a country so reliant upon and respectful of charitable organizations, it may be a surprise that nonprofit organizations struggle immensely to financially make ends meet.
Julie Ferrara, Lecturer and Business Analytics Forum Director in the University of Tennessee, Department of Business Analytics, has created a class to help nonprofits in the Knoxville, TN community. From a recent story in Data Informed, “In Knoxville, a city of about 183,000 in eastern Tennessee, marketing analytics are proving vital to nonprofits that are trying to communicate their work more effectively. Ferrara has developed a student-run program that uses analytics to support nonprofits in their mission to grow their presence. Google’s AdWords service is central to the concept. Nonprofits can apply to get up to $10,000 worth of AdWords advertising free, while students donate their time and apply analytics and marketing concepts covered in the classroom.”
This course is unique in that students learn concepts while working directly on client projects– something many students don’t get to experience until an internship. Jeremy Tate, a student in the course, was quoted in Nonprofit Technology News: “Running actual campaigns was a very effective method of learning the concepts of Google AdWords with the added benefit of working with nonprofits from the community. Marketing campaigns for nonprofits are often limited by resources, so I think the class was a great way to partner with the community.”
Students aren’t the only ones satisfied with the work coming from Ferrara’s course; the leaders of the nonprofit clients are as well. Students were able to increase ad impressions and click rates for the nonprofit clients. One nonprofit leader, Daniel Watson, executive director of The Restoration House, spoke to Affect Magazine, “I think it’s a great use of a university’s resources to have college students not only learn a real-world skill, but to provide a real-world benefit to the non-profit community at the same time,” he said. “It’s a great win-win, and one I hope more universities end up doing.”