Students Consulting for Nonprofit Organizations (SCNO) is a small but growing national network of undergraduate students committed to developing communities through pro-bono consulting engagements with nonprofit organizations.
Founded at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in August 2010, SCNO recognized a void in the support provided by the university and its 40,000 students to the nonprofit community. By providing strategic business consulting services at no cost to nonprofits, SCNO seeks to fill that gap from the ground up by enabling organizations to redefine what success means. Consultants are trained in unique consulting processes geared toward the nonprofit community and provided the resources and skill set to not only meet client expectations, but exceed them. SCNO is not an organization of theory and case studies; members work with real clients to develop solutions to real problems.
In our brief four semesters on campus, we've linked our mission, our people, and our processes together to achieve incredible growth in a small amount of time. From a small group of original founders with an outline of an organization to build on, SCNO today has grown to over 75 consultants representing a diverse cross section of campus in both educational background and experience. We've worked with over 25 different organizations, maintaining our focus on the local community while reaching a national audience as far as Chicago and Washington DC and an international project based out of Mulot, Kenya.
Benefits to Students
Through their involvement in SCNO, consultants are provided experiences and skills rare within student organizations. Consultants have an opportunity to work with the most capable and accomplished students across campus and, because of the entrepreneurial nature of the organization, each member of every team is given tremendous responsibility for innovative contributions to their engagements. Students gain real-world experience that has true impact on real clients, providing a unique window into the consulting industry and a skill set and experience applicable well beyond consulting. This group involvement and unique experience is highly beneficial for members as they apply for scholarships, internships, and full-time career positions.
Benefits to Community
As articulated in the mission statement, a major benefactor of SCNO is the community. n most cases, organizations applying to work with SCNO don't have the necessary skill sets, time, or resources to address complex business needs. Because our clients work closely with the community, this lack of resources precludes them from fully serving their mission and those in need. Clients love the opportunity to have a dedicated group of talented students create thoughtful and professional solutions while they continue to dedicate their resources to serving the community. SCNO isn't an organization that establishes a relationship and leaves; it builds long-term partnerships with community stakeholders and enables organizations to overcome obstacles.
Benefits to University
Universities and colleges are becoming increasingly concerned with the local community’s perception of their institution. Groups such as SCNO provide low-cost, favorable marketing through active student involvement in the community. The presence of an organization such as SCNO also attracts top firms to recruit students who are actively developing themselves and looking to make a difference in their community. The impact SCNO creates goes beyond the nonprofit community it partners with as the organization dedicates itself to serving as an ambassador for students, the community, and the university.