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Carrie Gildea


MC 636 Capstone Project

Completion Date – Fall 2016

Client – Special Olympics Virginia

Residence – Lawrenceville, NJ

Previous Degrees – I double majored in Psychology and Sociology at the University of Richmond in Richmond, VA.

Misc. Facts – My interest in IMC started when I worked in fundraising for Special Olympics Virginia way back in 2007. I've worked for the Special Olympics movement for 10 years; in development for Special Olympics Virginia and Special Olympics Pennsylvania, and now in marketing/communications for Special Olympics New Jersey. In my position as a fundraiser for one of the most recognizable nonprofit brands, it became clear to me that I could make a much bigger impact with some formal marketing education. It has taken me just about 4 years to finish the degree thanks to the addition of two babies in the mix (Boden, my son, will be two in February, and Emerson, my daughter, is 5 months old). It was a lot of work taking on the Capstone course with two under two, but thanks to my incredible parents, I was able to hunker down and write! I've learned so much from my IMC courses and use my newfound skills on a daily basis in my position as the Director of Marketing and Communications for Special Olympics New Jersey.

Capstone Experience – My best advice to future capstone students is to choose an organization you're passionate and familiar with. I was able to save a lot of time on the research front because I have such intimate knowledge of Special Olympics. I chatted with my former colleagues from Special Olympics Virginia about some "wish-list" projects that might benefit from a solid marketing plan. We brainstormed together several months in advance and concluded that there was a real opportunity with their Champ's Challenge fundraising program. It helped me immensely to know that SOVA was essentially a real client...they fully intend to put the proposal to use, and will hopefully bring in some new fundraising dollars for the organization. Working with a real problem kept me accountable and focused, so I highly recommend working on something that isn't just theoretical. Also, I put a lot of effort into keeping my proposal succinct. It intimidated me a bit to see some other IMC projects that were upwards of 100 pages, but I knew my colleagues wouldn't want to sift through something that massive. If what you're saying is logical and powerful, there is no need for fluff! My project was 54 pages when all was said and done. The best advice I got from Professor Marold was, "don't tell them what they already know."

Executive Summary


IMC Plan Highlights