At St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and Texas Lutheran University in Seguin, just east of San Antonio, students have pooled their energy, enthusiasm and brain power to run successful iPod donation and fundraising drives, building awareness for Music & Memory in their communities.
Here’s how they did it:
St. Joseph’s University—Meeting the Marketing Challenge
When Janée Burkhalter, assistant professor of marketing, first learned about Music & Memory from a Twitter post, she contacted Executive Director Dan Cohen with an idea: challenge her students to develop a marketing plan to promote Music & Memory’s work.
“When you watch Henry’s video, you remember that our lives have soundtracks — the songs danced to at prom, hymns sung at Sunday service or lullabies sung to children. The music helps us all remember,” says Burkhalter. “It’s really been incredible to see how enthusiastic the students have been throughout the semester to work with this organization.”
Cohen gladly partnered with Burkhalter’s entertainment marketing students via Skype, providing details about the program, and they set to work during the fall 2012 semester. Then the class put their promotional studies and skills into action, organizing a December Rock to Remember concert to benefit Music & Memory, in partnership with the University’s 1851 Records label and campus station Radio 1851.
Publicizing the concert and collecting donations for Music & Memory at tables on campus in the weeks leading up to the event, the students also posted announcements through dedicated Twitter and Facebook accounts and worked with the University’s athletic department to promote Rock to Remember with a raffle at a key December women’s basketball game.
About 80 people attended the concert, and the group raised a few hundred dollars and collected about a dozen iPods for Music & Memory. Most importantly, they raised awareness of the therapeutic benefits of personalized music. Burkhalter says the students’ commitment to the cause was contagious, garnering donations from community businesses for the raffle and food from local restaurants for the concert. “They were so enthusiastic about the project that many people on- and off-campus were eager to help them succeed,” she says.
Texas Lutheran University—Engaging Support Through a Shared Love of Music
Inspired by Dan Cohen’s September 2012 visit and a screening of Alive Inside: The Story of Music & Memory, TLU students Ian Nutting and Brittany Spong decided to take action.
Nutting, a senior music and philosophy major, and Spong, a senior music education major, spearheaded a fundraising campaign for Music & Memory via Service Through Music (STM), a campus organization that seeks to enrich the lives of others by bringing musical performances and music technology to local nursing homes.
“We wanted to use our talents to impact lives,” Nutting says. “Music is processed in so many ways. Even if a person has dementia or other signs of memory loss, they still receive emotion from a song.“
Partnering with nearby Guadalupe Valley Nursing Home, STM held a month-long drive to raise awareness for Music & Memory as well as funds to start the program at the nursing home. They promoted the drive with a combination of Facebook, TLU alumni email, posters on- and off-campus, as well as local church announcements. The community-wide fundraiser culminated in a benefit dinner that included performances, a raffle, silent auction and bake sale. Attended by nearly 100 people throughout the evening, the event raised $1,600 and collected 17 iPods.
Thanks to the students’ efforts, residents of Guadalupe Valley now have 20 iPods, headphones, chargers and iTunes gift cards. Personalized playlists provide the gift of favorite music long after STM members finish singing.
At a recent STM performance, Nutting recalls noticing a woman who wasn’t really engaged throughout the concert, who appeared to have some sort of memory loss. “When we started playing “Amazing Grace,” she perked up in her chair and at the end told me, ‘I’m found.’” he says. “That song, for whatever reason, awakened her. It was very powerful.”
Both Nutting and Spong hope to build on their success and one day branch out into surrounding communities. “It makes me proud that we’ve started this program here in Seguin and that other students have expressed interest in starting a similar program in the areas where they live,” Nutting says.
Ingredients for a Successful iPod Donation Drive
St. Joseph’s Burkhalter and TLU’s Nutting agree that advanced planning is essential for a successful college community drive for Music & Memory. Here are some other tips:
- Know exactly what you want to accomplish. Make sure you have various options for people to give.
- Engage the community on- and off-campus. Use social media. Tap into your networks.
- Share your passions about the cause with your community and network. A lot of people are impacted by dementia and Alzheimer’s, and are glad to help.
- Start early. Keep the conversation going.
- Engage your university’s communications team to support your publicity.
Want to learn more about how to run a successful drive for Music & Memory on your campus or in your community? Download our free guide, How to Run an iPod Donation Drive.
Founded in 2010, Music & Memory is a non-profit organization that brings personalized music into the lives of the elderly or infirm through digital music technology, vastly improving quality of life.