A leading home security provider, Protect America, has developed the “Pay It Forward” program which has helped students and local charities across the United States. This program allows marketing and advertising students at major universities to help local charitable organizations raise funds and raise awareness.

These organizations, which otherwise may not have the ability to market themselves effectively, work hand in hand with students to provide the students with real world experiences. Students are able to develop their portfolio while still in school. By developing a strong portfolio, these students are able to head confidently into the work force and apply for jobs, which require experience, right out of college.

Michigan State University’s Department of Advertising and Public Relations was the first program to partner with Protect America and participate in the Pay It Forward program. After Michigan State University’s pilot program, a few adjustments were made, but the success of the program drove Protect America to find other universities and colleges to participate. Michigan State University has continued to participate and the most recent first place winners are pictured above.

Each participating University divides the participating students into teams. These teams, or mini agencies, are provided with a stipend from Protect America, asked to choose a local charity to work with, and are let loose! Although they are always working under the direction of a staff member, these mini agencies are given a lot of autonomy in the decision making processes for their campaigns.

David Regan, a Professor of Advertising for Michigan State University, believes that the student’s participating in the Pay It Forward program are gaining “a great real world experience speaking and collaborating with real company executives.”

Cynthia Morton Padovano, Ph.D., an Associate Professor of Advertising for the University of Florida’s Department of Advertising said that some of her students have “benefitted from the unique experience of finding resources, such as pro-bono partners and gratis donations.”

Throughout the semester, each team reports their progress in generating awareness and revenue at least once a month. At the end of the semester, each team creates a final presentation and displays their accomplishments and creativity throughout the semester.

Bread of the Mighty Food Bank, a food bank serving counties throughout North Central Florida, was given the opportunity to work with a teams of advertising students from the University of Florida. Dr. Padovano said, “Bread of the Mighty Food Bank was provided a repository on which to build initiatives already underway and to launch ideas that fit its goals.” Not only do the nonprofits take these beneficial initiatives away from the project, but David Regan has talked with former clients of these teams that have said “there’s a real big-time money value to what the students put together for them.”

The University of Florida, Michigan State University, and the University of Southern Alabama are all participating in the Pay It Forward program this year.

As the students wrap up this semesters’ projects, they will have the opportunity to present their final presentations to a representative of Protect America. The students in the winning “agency” are awarded an iPad, but all participating students are given a letter of recommendation from Protect America.

We love seeing leading security companies giving back to communities. The Pay It Forward program provides students with beneficial real world experience while giving local charities access to marketing resources that they would, otherwise, not have.

Written by Rachel Drake

Rachel reports on advancements in the home security and automation industry. From new technology to game-changing acquisitions, Rachel covers all the latest. Learn more

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