Published on December 20, 2021 by Morgan Black  
St Jude Research Group
This fall, senior students in Brock School of Business’ Marketing Research course partnered with St. Jude Children's Hospital to better understand the philanthropic attitudes and behaviors of Generation Z (Gen Z) to improve marketing campaigns and fundraising efforts.
 
Hallie Isom, a senior marketing major, connected with the St. Jude location in Charlotte, North Carolina, to propose the project. Isom and her fellow students presented goals, timelines, and the research method they would take to examine the effectiveness of the organization’s fundraising. After securing the partnership, the students determined the methods for improving St. Jude’s fundraising success with a planned emphasis on responses from Gen Z.
 
To gather the data, students distributed two surveys. As a national partner with Delta Delta Delta (Tri Delta) sorority, the group first surveyed members of Samford’s chapter about their relationship with St. Jude including questions such as “How likely are you to continue supporting St. Jude after graduation?” A second survey was sent to individuals that are categorized as Gen Z, including members of the Samford community and friends of the group who were asked about their relationship with St. Jude and nonprofits in general.
 
After gathering data for several weeks, the surveys allowed the students to identify key messages, current fundraising efforts and charitable organizations that appeal to this generation. With the support of Associate Professor of Marketing Clif Eason, the process of cleaning and analyzing the data began.
 
“Dr. Eason was incredibly helpful with every step of the way,” Isom said.
 
The students concluded that the greatest strengths of St. Jude's relationship with Tri Delta are their interactions with each other, their ability to build a connection with each member, and their ability to bring the community together. When looking at Gen Z as a whole, the group found that because individuals in that generation are in college and don't have full-time jobs, the best way for them to get involved with a nonprofit is by volunteering instead of donating.
 
“In our final presentation to St. Jude, we proposed they work to build the relationship with Gen Z by finding ways for them to volunteer in order to establish a passion for St. Jude so that when they have a full-time job later in life, they will be more willing and able to support fundraising efforts,” Isom said.   
 
Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 37th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 97th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,758 students from 48 states and 22 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 3rd nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.