The idea for the eBay project in Marketing 354 Social Media and Innovative Marketing was inspired by a student who shared a "Monday mission moment" to start off our week with a story on how she saw one of Viterbo’s core values lived out on campus.
Students had read an article in the Harvard Business Review by eBay’s founder on using eBay as a tool for social change. Our class decided we could use eBay for positive social change in our own community by providing an elementary school located only two blocks from campus with needed supplies. Students procured items at low cost or through donations, priced them, and found the right descriptions to make the most profit by selling them on eBay. Our class set a goal to raise $200 quickly surpassed this goal, raising $514.38 in just two weeks! Part of this great success was from the contributions of marketing efforts by student project leaders. To determine how to use the profits to best meet the needs of the elementary students, groups were formed to create ideas for supplies that could be purchased online, and then each group "sold" their idea to the class. Persuasive presentations that included integration of selling theories were given by each team, votes were tallied, and dollars were distributed so that each group was able to purchase, online, the items of their requests. Upon receipt of all items the class took a field trip to tour the elementary school and gave the items to the principal, staff, and students.
Recognizing the alignment of this project with Viterbo's mission and values, the University President hosted a pizza party for the students. This eBay project became the foundation of the second half of the course and helped not only to teach business, marketing, sales, and technological skills, but also the formation of character that will last a lifetime.