Service-Learning in a Nonprofit Marketing Course: A Comparative Case of Pedagogical Tools







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Copyright©Taylor & Francis Group, LLC ISSN: 1049-5142 print/1540-6997 online DOI: 10.1080/10495142.2010.483274

Service-Learning in a Nonprofit Marketing

Course: A Comparative Case of Pedagogical



Department of Finance and Marketing, College of Business and Economics, Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington, USA

Service-learning has been explored from a number of perspectives, however, this research examines the use of service-learning as a pedagogical tool in a nonprofit marketing course and compares it with other pedagogical tools such as case studies, analysis and dis-cussion, lectures, textbooks, guest speakers, and current readings. Overall it was found that the service-learning project was perceived by students as being the best pedagogical tool in terms of increas-ing the students’ knowledge of nonprofit marketincreas-ing, understandincreas-ing the difference between nonprofit and for-profit marketing, devel-oping marketing strategies for nonprofit organizations, and using marketing tools. A variety of service-learning experiences that fos-tered civic engagement are offered as examples along with the service-learning format and the instructor’s role in facilitating active engagement within the community.

KEYWORDS service-learning, nonprofit marketing, pedagogical tools, civic engagement, nonprofit pedagogy

Service-learning has been used in a variety of educational settings and has demonstrated its effectiveness as an experientially based pedagogical tool that aids student learning (McIntyre, Webb, & Hite, 2005; Easterling & Rudell, 1997). Service-learning enhances student problem-solving and critical thinking skills, while helping students make linkages between theory and actual experience (Prentice, 2007a). The pedagogical tool of service-learning

Address correspondence to Sandra Mottner, Western Washington University, College of Business and Economics, Department of Finance and Marketing, 516 High Street, MS 9073, Bellingham, WA 98225. E-mail:


is understood as an experiential partnership between an institution of higher learning and community groups. (Dorado, Giles, & Welch, 2008). As Steiner and Watson (2006) noted, service-learning usually entails a community activity or project. Some service-learning projects merely offer students the opportunity to volunteer. For this research, however, the service-learning activities required students to complete a specific market-ing project for a nonprofit community-based service-learnmarket-ing partner. The service-learning projects described in this research required considerable student engagement with the service-learning partner.

Prentice (2007a) noted that civic engagement has changed over the last few generations. At one time the understanding of civic engagement was fairly politically oriented. However, more current generations are engaged in civic activities that include a wide variety of grassroots organizations, for example, that are concerned with initiatives including sustainability, human welfare, and similar activities. The community-based service-learning partners for this research represent these types of civic engagement oppor-tunities. Indeed, Prentice (2007a) defines civic responsibility as, “active participation in the public life of the community in an informed, committed, and constructive manner, with a focus on the common good” (p. 136).

Opportunities for student civic engagement through service-learning projects as part of a nonprofit marketing course provide the potential for an excellent learning environment. Community organizations generally serve the common good and are often chronically in need of marketing assistance as well. Over the course of several years, a series of nonprofit marketing classes were able to provide marketing services to a wide range of commu-nity organizations, all of which were nonprofits of various sorts. Therefore, the civic engagement of the students included activities with political groups, health services, educational services, environmental causes and even small grassroots arts organizations, among others.

The purpose of this research, therefore, was to examine the perceptions of students with respect to service-learning projects as well as other peda-gogical tools used in a nonprofit marketing course. The pedapeda-gogical tool of a service-learning project as compared to other course-based learning tools was of primary interest. The service-learning projects in the research were primarily performed with community organizations that allowed students a high degree of civic engagement. The research sought to not only compare the student’s perception of learning with respect to the variety of pedagogi-cal tools used in the course—such as case analyses and guest speakers, for example—but to evaluate how well the students perceived that the various tools helped them learn about nonprofit marketing, how nonprofit market-ing is different from for-profit marketmarket-ing, how nonprofit marketmarket-ing strategies are developed, and the enhancement of marketing skills. The tools used included a course-long service-learning project, a textbook, current readings, case studies, lectures, exam, and guest speakers.


The following literature review will examine some of the basic tenets of service-learning as a pedagogical tool, service-learning in marketing curriculum, learning in nonprofit marketing in particular, and service-learning with civic engagement. The basic premise of the research will be explained and the methodology for assessing student perceptions outlined.


Service-learning is one form of experiential learning (Lester, Tomkovic, Wells, Flunker, & Kickul, 2005). As Petkus (2000) notes, service-learning, in all its various forms, involves an experience for the student in which they are involved with course-relevant community service aimed at increased learning. Besides the actual experience, most service-learning projects also involve a reflective element (Petkus, 2000). In general, the reflective element of a service-learning project helps the student to connect the theoretical with the practical experience, which allows the student to integrate the knowl-edge gained (Petkus, 2000). Petkus (2000) as well as Lester et al. (2005) cite Kolb’s (1984) experiential learning model when explaining the educational process for students in service-learning projects. The experiential learning model includes four concurrent learning methods: experience, reflection, experimentation, and theory. Thus, students undertaking a service-learning project that is constructed to use the full experiential learning model would be exposed to multiple learning methods, thereby enhancing and reinforcing the educational experience.

Service-learning projects have been used as a pedagogical tool in a vari-ety of marketing courses. Indeed, Easterling and Ruddell (1997) argue that the marketing discipline offers the most appropriate environment for using service-learning pedagogy. They cite the use of service-learning projects in nonprofit organizations and community settings, and social marketing cam-paigns, as well as through internship opportunities available in marketing in general. Andrews (2007) states that service-learning seems to be most effec-tive in skills-oriented courses such as information systems, management and marketing. Whether or not marketing is the best discipline for employing service-learning pedagogy, the tool has been used in consumer behavior (Petkus, 2000), personal selling (Hagenbuch, 2006), principles of market-ing (Easterlmarket-ing &Ruddell, 1997), and advertismarket-ing/promotion (Cook, 2008) courses.

The number of nonprofit organizations has been growing rapidly (Wymer, Knowles, & Gomes, 2006) and therefore the need for skilled nonprofit managers has risen (Tierney, 2006). Nonprofit marketing courses include an important component in helping to address this need (Wymer & Mottner, 2009). Information about the best pedagogical tools, or combina-tion of tools, to use in nonprofit marketing courses would be helpful. In


particular, a comparative evaluation of service-learning to other pedagogi-cal tools such as case analysis, lecture, and class discussion, for example, would be helpful. In part, the latter problem is partially due to an under-developed stream of literature about the pedagogy of nonprofit marketing in general. Part of this gap in our knowledge can be attributed to the fact that the teaching of nonprofit marketing—either as part of another course or as a stand-alone course—is a relatively new phenomenon (O’Neill, 2005). Thus, examining the pedagogical tools that are most effective in teaching the subject has not been addressed in any depth (Mottner, 2005). Also, teaching of nonprofit marketing occurs in a number of locations depending upon the university. Many nonprofit marketing courses are taught by adjunct instruc-tors as part of a public policy or nonprofit management programs or students in those programs take a generalized marketing course taught in the business school (Wymer & Mottner, 2009). A review of nonprofit marketing courses offered in U.S. universities and colleges indicated recognition of a need for such courses, along with a relatively low rate of providing nonprofit marketing courses (Mottner, 2005). Depending upon how a service-learning project is structured for a nonprofit marketing course and the objectives of the course, service-learning appears to be a logical tool to use in a nonprofit marketing class.

One of the reasons that service-learning projects seem like logical peda-gogical tools for promoting learning in nonprofit marketing courses is due to the status of most nonprofit marketing courses. Nonprofit marketing courses found in business colleges and programs tend to be electives (Mottner, 2005). Many of the students who enroll in these elective courses have self-selected into a marketing curriculum and are interested and disposed towards community service, serving the common good, or being civically engaged. Nonprofit marketing courses found in public policy or nonprofit programs throughout universities tend to attract students interested in a career in the nonprofit field and which have similar values, such as serv-ing the public good, as do the marketserv-ing students (Wymer & Mottner, 2009). Therefore, the problem cited by Steiner and Watson (2006) that service-learning is treated merely as a pedagogical tool the majority of the time, while only 18% of courses that use service-learning emphasize “civic respon-sibility and community involvement in their course objectives,” (p. 422) is likely not the case in a nonprofit marketing course. Civic responsibility and community involvement are more likely to be core values of most students in nonprofit marketing courses.

Service-learning has been demonstrated to result in outcomes such as increased volunteerism, societal awareness, civic engagement, social responsibility, and personal transformation (Walsh, 2002). In fact, Raman and Pashupati (2002) found that service-learning projects led to the moti-vation and intention to volunteer and be active citizens in the future. One study even found the student intention of founding of a nonprofit


organization following a service-learning project (Pearson, 1999). Service-learning projects are considered ones that help students be more socially responsible and even engage in more moral actions (Lester et al., 2005). Barry and Workman (2007) studied 133 marketing students who experienced service-learning projects that resulted in the development and improvement of student social awareness and civic engagement. Prentice’s (2007a) study tested the linkage of service-learning and civic engagement and found it to be statistically significant in the community college environment. In a sep-arate study, Prentice (2007b) also found that students with service-learning experience had a greater understanding and appreciation of the concept of social justice. Service-learning is also understood to be a means for enhanc-ing business students’ vision beyond their own disciplines to the greater good of society (DiPadova-Stocks, 2005).

While the linkage between civic engagement and service-learning appears to be well supported, the objective of this research is focused on service-learning as a pedagogical tool. In particular, this research seeks to compare the service-learning experience to other tools used in a nonprofit marketing course. While students who engage in service-learning projects may gain a greater sense of citizenship and personal responsibility, they also may gain practical skills and interpersonal skills as well (Toncar, Reid, Burns, Anderson, & Nguyen 2006). Students are likely to gain an increased understanding of how social marketing works, the role of cause-related mar-keting, the need for high quality and timely public relations and the ability to provide professional marketing services on a very tight budget. In addi-tion, in a client-based model of service-learning, students are likely to learn a great deal about relationship management and gain communication skills with their service-learning “client.”

However, the focus of this research is particularly interested in the stu-dents’ perception of their own learning through the use of a service-learning project. Research has shown that service-learning improved student learn-ing (Munter, 2002). It is important to know what type of learnlearn-ing has taken place. The learning outcomes examined in this study included: student per-ceptions of (a) learning about nonprofit marketing in general, (b) learning about the differences between nonprofit marketing and for-profit market-ing, (c) the development of marketing strategies for nonprofit organizations, and (d) learning about the use of specific marketing tools. The service-learning project, its structure and its outcomes are explained. Descriptions and examples of the organizations served are listed. Importantly, the other tools used in the nonprofit marketing course are detailed. The four types of student-perceived learning outcomes are measured for each pedagogical tool used in the nonprofit marketing course. Implicit in this research is the deep connection that service-learning in the nonprofit marketing setting has to civic responsibility and community involvement because of the nature of nonprofit marketing courses in general as outlined above.



As we know, students learn through a variety of styles and methods. Therefore, service-learning projects normally are just one part of a collection of learning tools that students may experience to fully understand a subject. Additionally, there are different methods of deploying a service-learning project. For example, McIntyre et al. (2005) list five types of service-learning participation models. These are: (a) independent or group study, (b) consult-ing, (c) partnership, (d) individual placement, and (e) optional placement. Service-learning projects also differ in scope, length of time, and level of engagement with the service-learning partner. Consequently, the importance of the service-learning project in the overall structure of any given course may vary greatly. The objectives of the course will have a necessary effect on some of the variables of a service-learning experience. For example, a “prin-ciples of marketing” course might include a relatively short and less engaged service-learning component. In the case of the nonprofit marketing course in this research, however, the service-learning experience was fairly complex: accountable for 50% of the student’s grade in the course; required frequent in-depth engagement with the service-learning partner; and required some level of expertise or skills in marketing.

The service-learning project in this research is used in a senior level elective nonprofit course offered as part of a marketing discipline’s curricu-lum. Each section of the course lasted one academic quarter, which is 10 weeks long, plus one week for final examinations. However, in this case, the final examination time was used for students to make final presentations to their learning partner, their class, and the instructor. The service-learning projects lasted the entire length of the course. Prior to the beginning of the course, there were several meetings and interactions with prospective nonprofit, civic and political organizations so that a set of projects could be identified and agreed upon in principle. The university in this case has a service-learning center that helps connect the instructor with organizations that have nonprofit marketing projects. The center provided a year-long training program for instructors using the service-learning pedagogy. The first few years that learning projects were undertaken, the service-learning center also helped to facilitate the organization of the projects and the selection of the partners. However, over time, word of the nonprofit marketing service-learning program spread in the community at large and the services of the university’s center were dispensed with. Subsequently, all coordination between the service-learning partners and the students was undertaken by the instructor. The center did serve as a communications conduit and assessment source as needed for both the class and the service-learning partner until the instructor took on these responsibilities. Feedback from students also helped to initiate the change from the use of the center


because the students were confused by the intervention of the center in a relationship that they perceived between the service-learning partner and themselves with the instructor acting in an advisory role.

In the nonprofit marketing course a consulting model was used. Students were introduced to the concept of service-learning, the expecta-tions and a written description of the projects during the first class meeting. A representative from each service-learning partner organization come to a class session, presented their projects and provided information about their agency or organization. The students then were put in teams based on a constrained request that included group member requests as well as project preference requests. Assignments to projects and teams were made imme-diately and the students were instructed to meet with their service-learning partners within one week.

The service-learning projects completed in two different terms included 18 different organizations. Local chapters of national organizations, local nonprofits, and a nonprofit located in Columbia were included. There were a variety of projects represented by the mix of service-learning partner organizations. Social equity issues, historical preservation, social change, at-risk youth, developmentally challenged people, battered women, polit-ical action groups, educational organizations (both public and private) were represented in the mix of organizations offered to the students. Through interactive class discussion about the service-learning projects, students gained an understanding of the breadth of needs and experiences available in the nonprofit marketing field. Indeed, the interactive class discussions, which occurred almost every time the class met, was an integral part of helping to make the service-learning projects successful for the partners and for helping to make them meaningful learning experiences for the students. The students had a set of required activities as part of the service-learning project. The first requirement was to deliver a signed document (contract) between each of the students on the team and the service-learning partner as to what specifically would be accomplished and by what date. Student groups also provided three business style memos addressed to the instructor and to the service-learning partner at scheduled times during the term which described what had been accomplished so far on the project and what was yet to be done, as well as how and when those things would be accomplished. The students were also encouraged to outline any problems they had encountered or questions they needed help with. The memos gave the students experience with writing professional businesslike documents. The memos also reinforced the consultant type of relationship they had with their service-learning partner. At the conclusion of the project, the students presented the service-learning partner with the finished product or deliver-ables as well as a written report documenting the marketing task, what was accomplished, and their recommendations for the future. An oral presenta-tion was given to the class and to the service-learning partner. Normally,


the written report was delivered to the partner at that time. A written reflec-tive report from each individual in the class completed the service-learning project.

The students were evaluated on how well the final product or deliver-able met the service-learning partner’s needs and/or the originally agreed upon “product.” They were also evaluated on the written report and the oral report based on how well they had used marketing (particularly nonprofit marketing tools and learning), the professionalism exhibited throughout the project and the problem-solving skills demonstrated. The service-learning partner submitted a grade and comments to the instructor, which weighed considerably in the overall grade for the project. Completion of the service-learning project accounted for 40–50% of the student’s grade depending upon the term in which they took the course. The oral presentation accounted for 15% of the service-learning project grade. A midterm exam accounted for 10% of the grade. Class discussion accounted for 10%–15% of the grade, and three written cases accounted for 20%–30% depending upon the term.

Besides the service-learning tool, the students also had a midterm exam-ination, several guest speakers each term, and three to four case studies from Harvard University Publishing depending upon the term. The cases had a series of questions that were developed by the instructor and each student submitted a short written summary of the case plus detailed answers to each case question. Each case was discussed extensively in class and students were evaluated on their input. Lectures were interactive and based on read-ings in the text and students were also evaluated (to a lesser extent than for case discussions) on their participation in the reading and lecture-based dis-cussions. For each term, a series of current articles were selected for reading about issues in nonprofit marketing. Discussion of these articles took place in class as well. The presentation to the service-learning partner took the place of a final examination in the course. This was generally a time of celebration of the completion of the projects.


The experiment was to determine the students’ perception of learning using the pedagogical tools or methods described above. In particular, the primary tool of interest was that of the service- learning project in this nonprofit marketing course. The course was held annually for four concurrent years. The same pedagogical techniques were used in each year and included: (a) assigned reading of a textbook (Nonprofit Marketing by Wymer et al.), (b) a series of case studies (Harvard Business School) with case questions and discussion, (c) lectures, (d) readings from current articles with discussion in class, (e) a midterm examination, (f) guest speakers, and (g) a course-long


service-learning project. The service-learning assignments were completed by groups of students (groups of 2–5 depending upon the project) and included a tangible report to the community-based organization and to the instructor, an oral report given to the client and the class, and any deliver-ables that were part of the project such as market research analyses, press releases, collateral materials, etc. The first year the class was offered was not part of this study comparing pedagogical techniques as the instructor was learning how best to administer a service-learning project while undergoing training and assistance from the university. Qualitative, reflective feedback, however, indicated that despite some hurdles, the service-learning part of the first nonprofit marketing course provided by far the most important learning resource in the class.

The nonprofit marketing course used in this research includes a num-ber of topics such as: marketing activities and strategies associated with civic, political, and social issues; cause-related marketing; ethical dilemmas; vol-unteers and the recruiting of volvol-unteers; and the constraints that often occur in nonprofit marketing. Consequently, many of the service-learning projects included a wide variety of nonprofit organizations that were involved in the areas of active citizenship, social, civic and political issues, and educational marketing problems.

The marketing class took place at a medium-sized U.S. university where nonprofit marketing is taught in the business college. The class had a num-ber of stated objectives. These included: (a) to gain an understanding of nonprofit, social, and cause-related marketing, (b) to gain an understanding of the differences between nonprofit and for-profit marketing, (c) to learn to develop marketing strategies for nonprofit organizations and/or social causes, and (d) to learn more about specific marketing tools and use them in a nonprofit environment. At the end of the course these four objectives were evaluated by the student using a 5-point Likert scale from strongly agree to strongly disagreein terms of how each pedagogical tool stated helped them to meet the four objectives. In addition, six of the seven tools (lectures were inadvertently omitted) were ranked by the students themselves with respect to their perception as to the importance to their learning about nonprofit marketing.


Overall there were 37 student respondents from two senior level elective nonprofit marketing classes offered in two different years. The response rate based on enrollment was 97%. The student evaluations of each of the seven pedagogical tools are displayed in Table 1.

Table 1 shows the means of how the students evaluated each of the tools with respect to perceived: (a) effectiveness in learning about nonprofit


TA B L E 1 Student Evaluation of Pedagogical T ools ( n = 37) T e xt Cases L ectures Readings Exam Service-lear ning project Guest speakers Helped me lear n a bout nonprofit marketing 4.26 (.611) 3–5 4.32 (.580) 3–5 4.35 (.676) 3–5 3.38 (.794) 2–5 4.11 (.699) 3–5 4.57 (.835) 2–5 4.30 Helped me lear n how nonprofit marketing is dif ferent than for -profit marketing 4.17 (.618) 3–5 4.03 (.726) 2–5 4.35 (.633) 3–5 3.27 (.693) 2–5 3.92 (.894) 2–5 4.38 (.861) 2–5 4.19 Helped me lear n how to develop marketing strategies for nonprofit or ganizations 4.14 (.735) 1–5 4.11 (.875) 2–5 4.08 (.829) 2–5 3.19 (.701) 2–5 3.81 (.739) 2–5 4.59 (.599) 2–5 4.05 Helped me lear n a bout and use specific lear ning tools better than b efore 3.69 (.867) 2–5 4.05 (.911) 2–5 3.86 (.822) 2–5 3.27 (.693) 2–5 3.92 (.722) 2–5 4.59 (.644) 3–5 3.81 Note. Data displayed shows m ean, standard deviation, and m inimum-maximum on a scale of 1 = str o ngly disagr ee to 5 = str o ngly agr ee . 240


marketing, (b) how nonprofit marketing is different from for-profit market-ing, (c) how to develop marketing strategies for nonprofit organizations, and (d) how to use specific marketing tools. Due to the low size of the sample it is not meaningful to evaluate a difference between the means of the learn-ing tools uslearn-ing the Likert scale data. However, the service-learnlearn-ing project means are the highest in all four dimensions of the learning objectives when compared visually to the other pedagogical tools tested.

Of the 37 respondents, 33 also ranked the importance of each peda-gogical tool (textbook, case studies, service-learning project, guest speakers, exam, and readings) relative to the other tools with respect to helping them learn about nonprofit marketing. (Four students failed to complete this por-tion of the survey.) As menpor-tioned previously, the pedagogical tool of lectures was omitted from this ranking exercise. The six tools were ranked from 1 being the most important tool to 6 being the least important tool. The over-all rankings (mean, median, and mode) as well as the range and standard deviations of each of the tools are shown in Table 2.

Using a simple one-tailed pair wise comparison of means between the service-learning tool and the next highest learning tool by rank (cases), there was a significant difference found between the means of the two learning tools (p = .034) which indicates that service-learning is significantly better statistically than the next best option.

Correlation matrices were also performed using the Likert scale data and the student perceptions of the four learning objectives and tools. The four matrices (learning about nonprofit marketing, learning about the differ-ence between nonprofit and for-profit marketing, learning about nonprofit marketing strategy, and learning about using nonprofit marketing tools) are cumbersome and yielded little useable information with one notable exception. While there were correlations that indicated some type of rela-tionship between such things as learning from the text and learning from lectures, there were no significant correlations between learning from the

TABLE 2 Student Evaluation of Pedagogical Tools by rank (n=33)a

No. 1: Service-learning

project No. 2: Cases

No. 3: Guest

speakers No. 4: Text No. 5: Exam

No. 6 Readings M 1.73 2.36 3.61 3.70 3.97 5.64 Median 1.00 2.00 3.00 4.00 4.00 6.00 Mode 1 2 3 4 5 6 SD 1.153 1.141 1.223 1.447 1.159 .962 Minimum 1 1 2 1 1 1 Maximum 6 5 6 6 6 6

Note.Rankings from 1 (highest) to 6 (lowest) with respect to overall learning in the course.

aFour respondents did not complete their ranking section of the survey. Also, lectures were inadvertently


service-learning project (with respect to the four objectives) and any other pedagogical tool.


Despite a small sample, the student rankings tend to indicate that the service-learning projects were perceived as being the most effective service-learning tool by the majority of students (Table 2). Additionally, the means displayed in Table 1 indicate that the highest means with respect to all four learning objectives were associated with the service-learning project. However, it is important to note that the range of student rankings in Table 2 for the service-learning project varied from the highest (1) to the lowest (6). This is not surprising as there are occasional failures in the service-learning project process due to a poor mismatch of student and project, misunderstandings between the service-learning partner and a student or the teacher or program, or group functionality problems. There was one service-learning project in each of the two classes that experienced problems. However, the service-learning project had, by far, the highest frequency of No. 1 rankings (20 out of 33), followed by six rankings of No. 2 and five rankings of No. 3. The only other learning tool with a highly skewed distribution was “readings” which had 26 evaluations as the least (No. 6) effective learning tool.

Further, it is important to note, that without the service-learning tool, and using only traditional pedagogical tools, it is possible that the same amount of learning would not have taken place. However, given the size of this study it can only be concluded that the service-learning project seemed to be the more effective tool of those made available to the students. The lack of correlation between service-learning and other pedagogical tools plus the statistically significant ranking of the service-learning project and the next best tool (case studies) tends to support the importance of including the service-learning project in the nonprofit marketing course.

Service-learning also stands out in teaching students about specific mar-keting tools. None of the other pedagogical tools had means nearly as high as those shown for service-learning. Consequently, service-learning projects in a nonprofit marketing course in this case provided a valuable learning dimension.

LIMITATIONS AND DIRECTIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH From the instructor’s perspective the service-learning tool was effective not only with the four course objectives but in terms of determining future career


paths, gaining confidence in the student’s ability to interact successfully with a client (partner), appreciation and understanding of other cultures, life-styles, political perspectives, and social conditions besides those they had previously encountered. Specifically, some of the students had the opportunity to work on projects that affected migrant workers and their families. The reflective essays that arose from these cases were particularly noteworthy as the students gained greater insight into social issues than they might have with other projects. One group of students had the opportunity to work with members of a local tribe of Native Americans and in partic-ular, with a youth group from that tribe. The group of students working on this project not only learned a great deal about nonprofit marketing and cross-cultural marketing, but the entire class learned from the student groups experiences as well. Further, members of the Native American youth group came to the final class and proudly represented their rich heritage in their dress and in personal speeches of appreciation. They were generally very pleased with what the students had empowered them to accomplish. This project provided the students with an incredibly rich cross-cultural learning experience. Many students gained a passion for the cause with which they had become involved with in the class and have stayed involved with it. Others have volunteered with the organization after they finished the class. And some decided that the nonprofit world was not for them.

Clearly, a follow-up study of students some time after the service-learning experience is over is clearly indicated to determine their sustained level of engagement and volunteerism. Additionally, this study is highly restricted by its small size and enlarging it to other schools or gaining additional years of data would be very helpful. Enriching the goals of the course to include such things as gaining values and/or appreciation for civic engagement or volunteerism would be meaningful as well. As a comparison, it would be very interesting to find out if the results would be significantly different if the class had not been about nonprofit marketing, with vari-ables such as the instructor and other tools being held constant. On the other hand, it would be helpful to know if there were differing results if the instructor differed from term to term. Controlling for the possible effect of grade weights on the importance students placed on certain learning meth-ods would be an important addition to further research. What is not known in this study is the effect, if any, on the perception of learning from different tools as a result of the importance each tool made in the students total grade. Qualitative measures were not employed as part of this research. Because of the variation in project types and service-learning partners as well as student teams, pure statistical measures limit the useful infor-mation. Qualitative inquiry would have helped this study make more of a contribution to the field and is strongly recommended for future investigations.



This example of nonprofit marketing classes in which service-learning was combined with a number of other pedagogies has been helpful in evaluat-ing the comparative worth that students put on education that is experienced (such as service-learning), education that is applied (such as case studies), and the normal readings and lectures that occur. This research also demon-strates how critical a service-learning project can be to the success of an overall course that has been rated as 4.9 and 5.0 on a 1–5 Likert scales (5 = strongly agree) in terms of overall learning on university adminis-tered student evaluations. The research also demonstrates the high value of including well-constructed, well-reinforced service-learning projects in the nonprofit marketing curriculum. It is hoped that long-term civic engagement will result from the service-learning projects experienced by the students in these nonprofit marketing courses.


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