If you have worked for any size corporation, you have probably had the experience of going on a community day. You know what I am talking about right? A whole bunch of desk-bound wage-slaves turn out in force to revitalize the local community garden, or paint a fence or something similar. I have done it, and to honest I loved it - it got me out of the office for a day, and I really felt like I was doing something worthwhile. Well, let me tell you something - non profits actually hate this type of volunteering. The provision of simple manual labour is not exactly a valuable commodity for them, especially when they see a group of people with skills that could benefit their organisation in much better ways.
This issue is exactly what I and a team from Impact were asked to look at over the course of two engagements with the STARS Foundation. STARS are a foundation that have historically given what are known as the IMPACT awards (no relation to Impact Consulting) each year to non profits that work with children in areas of the world like Africa and India. These awards consist of a fair chunk of unrestricted funding that the NGO can do with as they wish. This is a crucial part of STARS’ ethos - they believe that it is on the ground NGOs that are the best placed to decide how to spend funding dollars. The reason STARS brought Impact on board was to help them decide how to take this in a new direction - they wanted to supplement the IMPACT awards by broking non-financial support between corporations and the many NGOs they contacted in the course of determining who received an IMPACT award.
A team consisting of, at various points (and in no particular order), myself, Andrea Zuluaga Uribe, Shruti Malani, Payal Patel, Anamika Agarwal, Vincent Bourbon, Chris Saunders, Peter Rampertaap , Shiv Ramana & Mahesh Nayak was engaged over two projects to help with this problem. We did some work with a survey of non - profits, trying to work out exactly what they wanted from corporates, and we also scoped out what we thought the engagement with companies would look like. In the latest phase, we provided close support in designing the pilot
All in all, it was a pretty standard consulting project - lots of working with the client, some deck writing and a little modelling. For experienced consultants like myself, it was a good way to keep skills fresh, and at the same time do something a bit more fulfilling than spending the afternoon at the Windsor while for the neophytes among us it was good exposure to core consulting skills. STARS appreciated our work quite a bit (well, thats what they told me at least), and are progressing on piloting the initiative with a few corporate and NGO partners.
I highly recommend working with Impact to any consultant, prospective consultants or generally good people who want to spend some of their time at business school doing something that isn't just for your resume - it actually has a positive social effect.