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Content Marketing and the Non-Profit Organization


Content Marketing and the Non-Profit Organization

A First-Year Seminar
Dr. Andy Jones
Fall, 2015
Fridays from 2:10-4 PM in 27 Olson

Dr. Andy Jones
353 Voorhies
Office Hours: Wednesdays 11-12, Thursdays from 9-10, and usually Sunday nights from 9-11 at Crepeville (3rd and C Streets in downtown Davis)


Charles Darwin once said, “In the long history of humankind, those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” With the goal of helping students and worthy nonprofit organizations “prevail,” “Content Marketing and the Nonprofit Organization” will introduce class participants to four primary topics: 1) definitions and relevance of content marketing in 2015, 2) categories and objectives of local nonprofit organizations, 3) digital media publicity campaigns, 4) report writing. The class will engage in experiential learning insofar as students will reach out to local nonprofit organizations to discover their goals and missions, assess the publicity and especially the content marketing needs of those organizations, and then write and present reports on how the local nonprofits could launch or enhance their use of content marketing to help them achieve their organizational goals.


Learning Outcomes:

  • Students will learn to ask more thoughtful questions about the purposes of content marketing and of non-profit organizations;
  • Students will help to research and to understand a brief history of content marketing and social media marketing;
  • Students will review and understand recent trends in content and social media marketing;
  • Students will research, discover, and better understand local nonprofit organizations;
  • Students will learn how to research and write reports collaboratively;
  • Students will learn how they can use their emerging skills and enthusiasm to bring about positive change;
  • Students will help to set additional learning goals and course architecture strategies for our first-year seminar.



Course Format and Activities

The seminar will meet in a computer classroom for two hours a week for eight weeks. Students and the instructor will discuss assigned topics and readings each week. Students will break up into triads (three-person groups explored in the book Tribal Leadership) to review and write about content marketing and social media tools, discuss non-profit organizations, and write reports for local nonprofit organization leaders. Additionally, class participants will share discovered resources in an online forum, and (during week seven) discuss chosen and discovered topics on the radio.


Course Text

Students in the class will read Content Inc.: How Entrepreneurs Use Content to Build Massive Audiences and Create Radically Successful Businesses by Joe Pulizzi available online starting the first week in September in hardback for less than $20, and via Kindle for less than $16.


Assignments and Grading:

Students will complete four assignments.


  1. Participating Actively. Students will regularly participate in class, read posted articles and book chapters, appear on Dr. Andy’s radio show to discuss course topics, and complete other minor tasks agreed to (and sometimes assigned by) the class participants. (20%)


  1. Developing Expertise with Content Media Marketing Approaches. As individuals or in small groups, students will collaboratively research, write and present an analysis of different chapters of Content Inc.: How Entrepreneurs Use Content to Build Massive Audiences and Create Radically Successful Businesses by Joe Pulizzi. Student teams should consider themselves experts on the chosen marketing approaches. (4+ pages, 25%)


  1. Profiling Nonprofit Organizations. Using criteria to be determined by the class, each student will write a two-page or longer profile of a local nonprofit organization, noting its current use of content marketing and social media to achieve its goals. (2+ pages, 25%)


  1. Sharing Content Marketing and Social Media Recommendations with a local nonprofit organization. Broken up into groups of three or more (depending on the interests and areas of focus of class participants), students will collaboratively write a report that makes recommendations to the leaders of local nonprofit organizations regarding the use of content marketing and social media to achieve organizational goals. (5-10 pages, 30%)


Required Outside Activities:

Students will be expected to contact and perhaps meet with representatives of local nonprofit organizations to determine their overall objectives and social media needs. They will also be expected to use our class Canvas page and other tools (perhaps Google hangouts) to virtually meet and work collaboratively on class projects. Some time will also be set aside in class for such activities.


Students will also be asked to talk about social media and nonprofits on “Dr. Andy’s Poetry and Technology Hour” towards the end of the quarter.


About the Instructor:

Having taught writing classes at UC Davis since 1990, Dr. Andy Jones has given more than 100 talks on teaching, using media in the classroom, interactive learning, and thinking and writing creatively. Andy has taught with the help of a variety of media, including websites of his own creation, Twitter, SmartSite, WebCT, and now with WordPress and Canvas. Andy’s classes aspire to be student-centered, activity-driven, and replete with opportunities for feedback. In addition to classes on science fiction, film, and writing across media, Andy has taught over a dozen different Freshman Seminars. Stretched beyond reason, Dr. Andy is also the Poet Laureate of Davis, Chair of the Cultural Arts and Entertainment Committee of the City of Davis, Academic Associate Director of Academic Technology Services at UC Davis, and host of radio talk show “Dr. Andy’s Poetry and Technology Hour” on KDVS.

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