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Who better to provide insight on Millennial and Gen Z’s potential donor behavior than Gen Z marketers? This was the fortunate position of the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania (UWSWPA) when they collaborated with the 2020 American Marketing Association (AMA) Pittsburgh Collegiate Marketing Plan competition. Student teams from six area universities took on the challenge of developing innovative Peer-to-Peer (P2P) friend-raising and fundraising strategies and tactics to support growing the UWSWPA donor base from 600-800 new donors with a goal of raising $80,000 within a year.


Over the course of the spring semester, the teams gathered research, participated in client sessions, and built their plans. A panel of professional Pittsburgh marketers judged the following teams as winners:
1st place – Chatham University
2nd place – Messiah College
3rd place – University of Mount Union

Fun Fact: Messiah College donated their winnings from the competition to United Way. How awesome is that?

Congratulations to all the teams above and including Clarion University, Point Park University, Robert Morris University, Slippery Rock University, Saint Francis University, the University of Pittsburgh, and West Virginia Wesleyan University who all participated in this year’s competition.

“On behalf of United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, I extend our heartfelt thanks to each of the AMA Student Competition teams and advisors. Your hard work, fresh thinking, and creativity were apparent in your plans, and there are a number of very strong ideas to consider implementing. Please know that beyond the valuable experience you received in participating in the competition, your work is going to impact the lives of people in our community who need help, support, resources, and reassurance that they have a place to turn and people who care about them. That is the best KPI of all.”

Chris Hays founder and president Radiant Integrated Communications LLC with the United Way of Southwestern PA
David Hagenbuch Professor or Marketing at Messiah College expressed his thanks to each of the judges for graciously sharing their time and expertise.

“This competition is always challenging, in great ways. Valuable student learning happens throughout the process.”

In year’s past, the student teams competed face to face in a poster session and presentation while interacting with the professional marketers judging the competition. While this year focused solely on the written marketing plan, it still offered substantial learning for students and the UWSWPA!

Thanks to the following judges of the competition: David Atkins Director of Marketing and Communications at Pennsylvania Cyber Charter Schools, Bob Baker VP of Accounts 321Blink, Mackenzie Farone Senior Manager of Corporate Communications, Greiner Bio-One North America, Chris Hays President Radiant Integrated Communications LLC, Alisa James Senior Director Brand Marketing at MedExpress, Tim McLaughlin COO/CEO 321Blink, Lauren Norris President of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the AMA, David Sladack President at BLD Marketing and Chris Whitlatch, Communications Director for the International Rhino Foundation.

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