SCNO at the University of Illinois is accepting client applications for the Fall '14 consulting cycle–apply today to be considered! We've received a number of applications already and are excited about the opportunities we have to work with new organizations across our community, the country and even the world around. As we expand our skill set and gain experience in different areas–from nonprofit management and financial sustainability to social venture development and marketing communication strategies–we're able to help more organizations overcome their biggest hurdles to success.
Apply today via the "Services" tab of the site and be considered for a project launching in Early September and lasting through early December. Applications are due by end of day August 1, 2014. Email HR@illiniscno.org with any questions. We look forward to your applications!
With ambitious, far-reaching goals, it was always a central question how SCNO would fund its progress. Providing pro-bono services forms a fundamental component of our mission and will always remain so. However, as we look to expand our services and do more with the community around us, the question became clear–how do we reach further and build capacity with few resources?
To answer this question, at least in the short term, SCNO is looking internally. Our president, Jordy McNamara, is running the 2012 Illinois Marathon April 28 in Champaign, IL, using the campaign and his website as a base to raise awareness and resources for the Champaign County (IL) nonprofit community through support for SCNO and its biggest initiatives.The purpose of this campaign aligns with the mission of SCNO–to attempt to minimize the enormous gap between the support necessary for the nonprofit community and the amount of aid provided by the county's largest, most valuable resource–the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
However, to expand on the services and support we provide to this community, your help is needed. The campaign is an opportunity to learn about the Champaign County nonprofit community, develop an understanding of SCNO's potential to reshape the national nonprofit landscape, and give back by making a donation to the cause. As SCNO and its ten current chapters across the country looks to expand onto new campuses and build a national network of elite students, it maintains the goal of developing not just a local nonprofit community, but one that spans the country.
Start your support here, with a marathon campaign in Champaign at the University of Illinois, and enable our organization to continue forward in our push for a better nonprofit environment. Visit Jordy's fundraiser page to make a contribution today and create true impact on the community around you.
The Prairie Center is a rehabilitation center that deals with drug and alcohol abuse. Every year they put on a Walk for Recovery, but attendance has not been up to their standards yet. As a result, they asked SCNO to form a marketing and business plan in order to make the Walk for Recovery a more successful and recognized event. So far our team has spoken with other rehabilitation centers that host walks, updated the nonprofit’s social media presence, researched large walks and events for charity, and distributed a survey about the Walk for Recovery and The Prairie Center. Our clients have been very pleased with our work.
This team consists of the following members:
Senior Manager Annie Wang, Project Manager Jeff Lewin, and Consultants Jennifer Bossman, Cole Deloye, Steve Ditman, and Danny Serrano.
Social Entrepreneurship Institute (SEI) is a nonprofit organization within the College of Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that seeks to provide support and opportunities to students interested in social entrepreneurship. Our team of SCNO consultants is working with SEI to develop and implement a business plan for a food truck which will serve as a revenue-generating entity for SEI as well as for the C-U Foundation. The food truck will also serve as an opportunity for students to run a business while considering its responsibility to the Champaign-Urbana community.
Throughout the semester, our team has provided SEI with crucial research that will have a large impact on the implementation of the food truck. Our deliverables have included research on health regulations; recommendations of potential trailers, parking locations, suppliers, equipment, and base of operations; guidelines to form an L3C: Limited Profit Taking Corporation; necessary employee training and relations; market research; menu development; development of company values and business structure, marketing strategy, and a break-even analysis.
This team consists of the following members:
Senior Manager Jordy McNamara, Project Manager Korinne Talbot, and Consultants Taylor Behrman, Ryan Brown, Colin Korst, Adam Lawler, and Lindsey Morrow.
The Eastern Illinois Parrot Heat Club is an organization that celebrates the Jimmy Buffett tropical lifestyle. It is composed of full time professionals and does not have any person that is dedicated full time to running the organization.
SCNO is helping EIPHC through providing a foundation for its largest annual fundraiser, C-U in the Prairibean. So far, we have decided that the project is communications focused, and we are addressing communication both internally and externally. Internally, we are creating a Gantt Chart to streamline planning and preparation for the event. We are also looking at various donor tracking systems to help them track businesses that they’ve reached out to. Externally, we are providing information on social media use and creating surveys.
This team consisted of the following members:
Senior Manager Ryan Singh, Project Manager Kathy Chen, and Consultants Elizabeth Balkan, Nick Cantieri, Connor Dillon, Vera Wang, and Andrew Wong.
Generations of Hope is a multi-generational living community centered on aiding foster parents, foster children and seniors in the community. They have a neighborhood located on an old Air Force base in Rantoul, IL. Foster parents live in homes with their adopted foster children and their biological children. Seniors living in Hope Meadows (the name of their community) live in apartments for reduced rent. By providing foster children with a community that strives to support them all the way up to a grandparent level, the children are raised in an atmosphere supports them every step of the way. Most of the foster children eventually attend college, and they grow up with a strong sense of community that they might otherwise not be able to enjoy. The program also greatly benefits the seniors that choose to live there. They are greeted with a community that is welcoming to them, and even though most of the seniors have grandchildren of their own, many of them do not get to see their grandchildren very often. These seniors get a strong sense of family and are very instrumental in helping to raise the children and support the parents.
Our project was focused on the organization's marketing aspect. Generations of Hope currently has vacancies for families and seniors and needs more donors. A large part of our project has been focused on segmenting and researching each respective need our client has brought up with us. We have been able to whittle down the forms of media that foster parents, active-lifestyle seniors, and potential donors use. We are currently working on creating a master list of various magazines, newspapers and television shows that would be beneficial for our client to attempt to be featured on. Included in this list will be a detailed explanation on the application process and all relevant contact information. We will also be creating a form letter that will be easily manipulated to fit our clients changing news and many different applications.
Finally, we got our client featured on the Channel 15 news! Several members of our team were able to make the trip to the news station to be featured on our client’s time slot. Visiting the station was a lot of fun for our group and really helped establish our credibility with our client. If you would like to see the news slot, you can view it by clicking here.
This team consisted of the following members:
Senior Manager Ryan Singh, Project Manager Cameron Tighe, and Consultants Dan Ballantine, Jacob Leib, Hannjoo Moon, Victoria Ngo-Lam, and Jimi Poulos.
This past Monday, SCNO had the wonderful opportunity to have a speaker – Laura Huth, CEO and Founder of do good Consulting, which is a nonprofit consulting firm based in Urbana. Laura was the 2008 Female of the Year by the Central Illinois Business magazine and 2009 Outstanding Fundraising Executive by the Association of Fundraising Professionals of East Central Illinois. During our time with Laura, she shared her 10 Key Practices of Nonprofit Organizations, answered questions, and even provided personal recommendations for our ongoing projects.
As aspiring consultants, nonprofit workers, or “do-gooders,” we gained a plethora of knowledge and advice from Laura, who may be the most qualified and experienced person to teach us about nonprofit consulting. Before founding do good Consulting, Laura spent more than thirteen years working in a variety of local, state, and nationally-affiliated nonprofit organizations. Laura began her nonprofit career at age 24 by founding the Illinois Student Environmental Network, and since then has help found several grassroots community groups, such as Save Our Trees, a community-based group that defeated a major utility company’s plans to raze community trees near power lines, and the award-winning Historic East Urbana Neighborhood Association, a neighborhood preservation organization. In addition, Laura has served as an elected member of the Urbana City Council for two terms, and for three years, served as executive director of the local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity. From this extensive history in nonprofit work, Laura has accumulated comprehensive experience in nearly every aspect of non-profit organizational management including fundraising, staff development, marketing and outreach, and strategic planning just to name a few. During her visit, we were lucky enough to learn from her and her experiences.
It goes without saying that Laura’s visit was a huge benefit to everyone in SCNO and the organization as a whole. Not only was she able to provide help specific to our ongoing projects, but she also allowed us to get a better idea of professional nonprofit consulting, something that many of us hope to do in the future. As nonprofits become more and more influential in our society, it is important that they have the resources, especially consultants and passionate workers/supporters, to help achieve their goals. Laura has devoted her life to the cause of nonprofit work and has been become and powerful advocate and initiator of social change. We in SCNO are always eager to learn about what others are doing to help the community, and Laura is definitely one of those people.
In addition to Laura’s presence, Don Gerard, the Mayor of Champaign, was also in attendance at this past general meeting. Taking from his own experiences as Mayor, Don was able to provide us insight into the workings of the community and how nonprofits can best accomplish their goals using the force of the public.
As always, we in SCNO are extremely grateful to all of those that come in and share their knowledge and experiences with us. Thank you, Laura Huth and Don Gerard, from all of us in SCNO for taking the time out of your busy schedules to come talk with us.
"You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand."
Dan Sloboda is a first-semester consultant.
At one of our generals this semester, we were lucky enough to have Hong Yuan, a marketing professor here at the University of Illinois, debrief us on what marketing research really is and how to approach it. Each stage in the process is imperative to the next otherwise the following step will be completed incorrectly.
A key aspect of the process is formulating the problem. If you have not figured out what needs to be fixed, then go back to the drawing boards. Otherwise you will be working to fix something that may not even be broken.
I highly suggest going about the marketing process in hopes of developing an archetype, which is an ideal customer for your product or service. Without this piece of information, companies and organizations may not really understand their target customers. For example, I am currently on the team helping the Champaign-based nonprofit organization Big Brothers Big Sisters in attracting male volunteers. If we simply threw out advertisements across campus, then we would be wasting resources on people that may be of no use to the organization at this moment in time, such as females.
Something to note about gathering market research is that developing surveys and interviews is imperative. While surveys will get you basic surface data, interviews dig deeper and really pick the brain of the interviewee. One tip when writing the survey is to avoid bland questions. “Yes” and “no” questions don’t lead to conclusive data. Going back to our Big Brothers Big Sisters project, if we said, “do you think volunteering is good?” then most people would respond with “yes.” That’s obvious, and it doesn’t give us results. How can that be analyzed? The more specific the question is, the easier it will be to narrow in on our archetype.
In my experience, nothing has gone wrong at the moment, but something that could potentially cause challenges may be a lack of responses with our survey. As my senior manager, junior Fei Ye majoring in Marketing and minoring in Technology and Management, told me, “Surveys have a very short shelf life.” We are currently pushing our survey, but in a few days, it may be forgotten about.
The idea of marketing research for a profit versus non-profit company is quite similar; however, going about the process can vary from all ends of the spectrum. A for-profit company might be able to give out complimentary gifts (e.g., food, prizes) at informational meetings, thus being able to attract more customers, while a nonprofit organization may not have that luxury.
Market research is the function that connects customers with the marketer. It helps identify the changing elements of an environment and how those elements affect customer behavior. My experience as a consultant for Big Brothers Big Sisters has really opened my eyes to what market research is, and how effective it can be when attracting more customers to your business.
David Hirsch is a first semester consultant.
For those at the University of Illinois who look to make a difference in their community and the world, they need not look anymore; Students Consulting for Nonprofit Organizations (SCNO) is an opportunity unlike any other. After years of schooling, cramming information into sleep deprived brains, and wondering if it will even be useful in our futures, we have the opportunity to apply our academic and personal experiences to an impact and a service-orientated cause through SCNO.
As a current sophomore studying Global Studies and Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I hope to serve in the Peace Corps and do Environmental Consulting. So, for me, at least, SCNO sounded too good to be true. However, after I attended the informational meetings and got to know some of the members, it was clear to me that the organization and its members were truly dedicated to the mission and creating a real impact. So, after meticulously completing my application and enduring the interview process, I was ecstatic when I found out that I had been accepted into SCNO.
Due to my background in Environmental Science and Sustainability, I had been assigned to work on a team to help one of our clients, Champaign-Urbana (CU) Garden. CU Garden provides a unique opportunity for SCNO because like SCNO, CU Garden is run completely by University of Illinois students. The 2009 Ernst and Young Case Competition Winners created the idea of CU Garden as a community garden in Douglass Park that provides organically grown produce to the local community and functions as an educational resource for local schools. My team will be working with CU Garden throughout this semester to revamp its organizational structure for efficiency in the organization’s goal of better establishment within the community and moving toward the future.
I believe the project is a collaborative process between my team and the members of CU Garden. Already, we have spent a lot of time getting to know the members of CU Garden and the current organizational structure. This collaboration will undoubtedly continue throughout the semester, and I am extremely excited to continue working with them.
So what is my impression of SCNO so far? Well, from what I have experienced, this will be a groundbreaking semester for SCNO as a whole. Along with making a great impact on our clients and our community as a whole, we are working on taking SCNO to the next level in terms of our consulting and member development. As a relatively young organization with limitless possibilities, we are always striving to provide our clients with the most professional, personal, and creative consulting services possible. Like everyone in SCNO, I plan on making the most of my time while in the organization and while consulting. While I am excited to learn about the process of consulting and gain invaluable experience that will help prepare me for my future career, the most significant benefit I plan to get out of SCNO is the opportunity to use my time and resources to making a difference in my community. Too often do we fail to recognize what we can offer to our world. Through participating in SCNO, I hope to realize my true potential, develop skills in preparation for my future, and develop a bond with my community.
As always, be sure to stop by the blog often to check up on our progress throughout the semester!
Dan Sloboda is a first semester consultant.
SCNO was recently featured in Postmarks! In the original newsletter, the SCNO article is on page 4. The images used for the page numbers also feature members in SCNO. Check out the article by clicking here.
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