The UCF Professional Selling Class of 2011, which consists of just 24 students, raised more than $99,000 (including cash and in-kind donations) as part of their Sales Apprentice class project.

The class was split into six groups. Each group was asked to select a local nonprofit and to set a fundraising goal. The students worked all semester to raise money and solicit in-kind donations. The purpose of the project was so students would gain real-world experience by networking with companies and giving face-to-face sales presentations. They even learned how it felt to be rejected.

The winning team raised more than $44,000 for Give Kids the World. Team members included: Lauren PuglieseChristie RieggerStephanie Favinger, and Jeff McMaster. They far surpassed their fundraising goal which was $10,000.

“We prospected for companies we thought would be interested in donating to a children’s non-profit foundation. We used the network of people we know, the Orlando Business Journal’s Book of Lists, as well as the Internet to search for prospects. Give Kids the World provided us with a ‘wish list’ and we used that as a foundation to begin to look for companies,” said Riegger.

“As we progressed with the project, we began to think more creatively about services the Village could use that weren’t necessarily items on their wish list. They do not have an advertising budget, so we made some phone calls and were able to secure a billboard donation and other advertising donations such as space on a Pick-N-Watch DVD rental,” she added.

The other five teams in the class also raised money for local non-profits:

  • Ronald McDonald House – $7,704
  • Give Kids the World, team 2 – $3,250
  • Gift for Music – $39,236
  • Children’s Miracle Network – $1,778
  • Runway for Hope – $3,470
  • To promote the winning team, Clear Channel Outdoor donated a billboard on University Boulevard to congratulate them, and Cox Media donated a radio ad. To recognize the nonprofit, the Orlando Sentinel donated a quarter page ad.

    According to Riegger, all of the team members agree that “this experience wasn’t about the competition between our classmates, it was about raising money and giving back to an organization that makes a difference in our community and seeing how our hard work could affect the lives of others!”