Service learning in action: Christine Rupp, a Master’s student shares her experience

Christine Rupp: Former Master Student at the University of Mannheim, Business School

Christine Rupp_Schloss“During a service-learning project in the Chair of Public and Nonprofit Management, my group had the task of creating a marketing concept for Lebenshilfe Mannheim e.V., an independent and charitable association that looks after and promotes people with mental disabilities in special residential homes, kindergartens and self-help groups. The problem was that the association was hardly known to the public and we had to provide ideas on how to improve its visibility. We started our project by initiating discussions with staff, volunteers and with residents as well as their mothers.  Through these discussions, we initially developed a self-image.

The strategic marketing triangle was the basis of our work, containing all market participants: the customers, the competitors, and the company itself. The association’s image within this triangle by itself was pretty good; however, a corresponding visibility to the public was still missing. To resolve this problem, we proposed, for example, to maintain closer contact with doctors and kindergarten teachers and, through this network, offer large-scale support. In addition, public awareness should be raised for the work of Lebenshilfe through events and poster campaigns.

Above all, we were able to show the employees what possibilities and opportunities they have. Now, one student from our group works for Lebenshilfe and implements the first steps of our concept. Thanks to  this project, I understand the importance of nonprofit organizations and how ‘human’ business administration can be.”

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