Providing pro-bono marketing services for non-profits in Chicago

What is CMI?

The Medill Cause Marketing Initiative (CMI) is a student-run committee that provides pro-bono marketing services for non-profit organizations in the Chicago area. Since 2008, CMI has been providing strategic, creative and effective marketing communications solutions to help NPOs further their community reach and deepen their social impact. CMI consists of graduate students in the Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) Full-Time program at Northwestern University Medill School. Student teams develop and deliver innovative solutions by applying skills and insights learned in the classroom to solve real-world business objectives.

What does CMI do?

CMI undertakes 2-3 month-long projects with specific marketing communications objectives outlined by the client. CMI provides NPOs with work including (but not limited to):

  • Brand strategy and visual branding
  • Stakeholder analysis and communications insights
  • Digital and social marketing
  • Interactive marketing initiatives
  • Public and media relations
  • Campaign measurement and data insights
  • Content strategy and media planning

What is Medill’s IMC program?

Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) is a STEM-designated program at Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. An educational leader since 1921, Medill offers programs that combine enduring skills and values with new techniques and knowledge that are essential to thrive in today’s digital world. IMC uses art (creativity) and science (qualitative and quantitative data) to understand consumers and build strong brands.

Recent Projects

CMI reviewed past marketing and digital outreach efforts and suggested areas of enhancement. The team looked into Big Shoulders Fund’s most engaged audience and provided suggestions on how to better target this audience. We also developed messaging and targeting for future campaigns.

“I am so happy I got to be a part of CMI despite the virtual experience. From getting to know fellow students better and getting to make a real impact on a non-profit organization I care about, I had such an inspiring and positive experience.”  

– Madeleine Beck, IMC’21

CMI developed a strategy for CWC on how to best use Google Ads to drive traffic to the website. The team also utilized Google Analytics to assist organization decision-making and helped attract new followers on social media.

“Being part of CMI was a great experience. We not only gained experience working with clients but, more importantly, we were able to help an organization that not only helps Cancer patients, but their families go through a challenging process.”

– Renata Salas, IMC’21

CMI’s team analyzed Danny Did Foundation’s current marketing platforms and recommended new trends. We supported DDF’s website navigation audit and provided an overview of digital advertising and the most applicable ways for the foundation to take advantage of this form of marketing.

CMI developed and implemented a comprehensive communication and marketing plan to raise awareness of DMSF’s impact and increase donor base. We helped DMSF reach a variety of stakeholders, including donors, foundations, volunteers, etc.

“I really loved working for a purpose. Marketing is a tool that can really help some great organizations thrive. Working with the Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund was an amazing experience that really put to use everything I have learned in IMC. My team was not only amazing workers but amazing supporters. Overall, this experience was great.”

– Elizabeth Hoo, IMC’21

“My team and I conducted many interviews with Bounce Children’s Foundation’s stakeholders including parents, children, and donors. We used the content gathered in these interviews to create three promo videos, multiple social media posts, and written testimonials for the organization’s website. It was a great and fulfilling experience for all of us!” 

 

– Alessandra Jaime, IMC’21

CMI brainstormed a marketing strategy to increase attendance and revenues for Safe Humane Chicago’s largest fundraiser of 2021, capitalizing on the hybrid and creative nature of the event. The team also helped create a social media, PR and media-alert calendar for messages and graphics.

CMI supported RegiStart in creating a cohesive brand strategy and positioning that helped drive products and excited shareholders on their mission.

I served as a Team Lead for Canine Therapy Corps. I felt drawn to participate in CMI for the opportunity to apply my skills from the IMC courses to a real-world project and give back to a great organization. Our team was tasked to lead digital and social marketing efforts for our organization. We designed and launched a landing page for a fundraising campaign and developed a content strategy for their Instagram and Facebook accounts. I loved working with the other IMC students on my team and gaining valuable experience in digital and social marketing!”

– Jillian Scott, IMC’21

CMI supported Live Like Roo in coming up with plans to reach a wider audience and promote the organization’s mission and donation.

“With this opportunity, I was able to use my learnings of IMC in a real life project. We were driven by the purpose of ‘Live Like Roo’ to help as many pets and pet parents as we can who go through a tough healing journey. It was an extremely rewarding experience to see how I was able to create tangible value right from the start of the project.”

– Ceren Ungan, IMC’21

Current Clients

Executive Board

Sarah Zhang
Sarah Zhang
Program Director
Linda Feng
Linda Feng
Project Management Director
Mingge (Jackie) Lyu
Client Partnerships Director
Yahan Chen
Online Assets Director
Lily Proudman
Internal Communications Director
Marianne Lacle
External Communications Director
Xiaoyu Tang
Event Planning Director

Work With Us

We want to help your organization further its community reach and deepen its social impact. 

If you are interested in working with us and reside in the greater Chicago area, please fill out the request for proposal form below. Your project objectives and deliverables should focus on a marketing need that furthers your organization’s mission and should be accomplishable within 10-12 weeks. Please see the “What does CMI do?” section above for a list of skills that reflect the core competencies of our student teams. Each year, our student teams kick off the projects in March; however, please feel free to submit this form at any point during the calendar year and we will reach out to you to secure your spot in the lineup of CMI clients.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at cmi@u.northwestern.edu.

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