. students consulting for non-profit organizations Spring 2008 .
SCNO Connection

Students Consulting for 
Non-Profit Organizations is a national organization of undergraduate students committed to developing communities through pro-bono consulting engagements with non-profit organizations.

Working with SCNO

“I didn't know what to expect from working with SCNO, and honestly didn't expect our organization to gain much from the partnership. I thought we were a "class project,” and was completely surprised by the obvious effort that went into the project. I am excited for the great ideas and recommendations that we’ll be implementing.”

Mary Kay Hauck
Food Bank Council of Michigan

“Working with SCNO was a wonderful experience. The products and suggestions they delivered will add continual value to the work of GLHC.”

Lynne Martinez
Greater Lansing Housing Coalition

“This group of young people was amazing. Their enthusiasm and ideas were exceptional, and our board members were blown away with their presentation and areas for improvement they hit on. We are excited to implement the group’s recommendations.”

Shirley Decker
Greater Lansing Amateur
Hockey Association

Spring 2008
Executive Board

Joel Clum
Senior - Finance

Mark Miller
Vice President of Operations
Senior - Finance/ German

Melissa Bartlett
Human Resources
Senior - Supply Chain Management

Avish Bhama
Director of Finance
Senior - Economics

Nick Chilenko
IT / Marketing
Junior - Marketing

Brittany Sovran
Community Development
Junior - Advertising

Jim Vermeulen
Corporate Relations
Senior - Accounting

Mike Gallagher
Project Manager
Senior - Economics

Jason Peters
Project Manager
Junior - Finance

Nick Smott
Project Manager
Junior - Supply Chain Management

Chris Wingert
Project Manager
Senior - Finance/ Communications

Helen Dashney
Eli Broad College of Business


Group Photo

What is SCNO?

Students Consulting for Non-Profit Organizations (SCNO) is a student-run organization at Michigan State University that offers pro-bono consulting services to non-profit organizations. Since its inception in 2003, teams of SCNO members have worked with over 70 organizations in the Michigan area. Between fall 2007 and spring 2008, SCNO has worked on 23 projects with groups from across Michigan and Maryland.

SCNO teams typically work with their clients on topics including strategic marketing, capital raising and allocation, information technology, operational management and organization strategy. Due to their academic training, diverse personal experiences and problem solving abilities, SCNO members are very effective in the ideas and recommendations they develop when working with their clients. Being conscious of the necessity of quality products and harmonious relationships, both prospective clients and members are interviewed to ensure proper alignment of expectations and integrity of work. For organizations that SCNO works with each semester, this process assures final solutions that are appropriate to their needs.

Message from the
Director of Community Development

Brittany Sovran, Director of Community DevelopmentAfter receiving the majority of responses from our mid-semester client feedback, I was thrilled to hear from a number of organizations how beneficial their experience has been with SCNO so far.  We are now accepting applications for fall 2008, and I encourage all organizations in need of sound consulting services or objective analysis to apply.  Applications can be downloaded from www.msuscno.org and should be submitted to communitydevelopment@msuscno.org by April 18th to be considered to work with one of our groups in the next term.  I look forward to hearing from you!

A Look at an SCNO Project...

Each semester, multiple groups in SCNO are coupled with non-profit clients on mutually beneficial consulting engagements for a period of about 4 months. John Scime (Team Lead), Zach Bessega, Josh Morgan and David Smendzuik shared with us the progress with their client, Sisters Acquiring Financial Empowerment (SAFE). SAFE is one of the ten non-profit organizations that SCNO is working with this semester.

Sisters Acquiring Financial Empowerment (SAFE) – by John Scime

This semester our client is Sisters Acquiring Financial Empowerment (SAFE), a group from Detroit, MI. SAFE was founded in 2006 with a mission to equip survivors of domestic violence with the tools necessary to recover from the economic effects of their abuse. When SAFE came to SCNO in the winter of 2007, they were having difficulties in reaching donors to support their mission. To remedy this, SAFE asked SCNO to help with the creation of a website and a strategy for the organization to more effectively find and retain donors that are willing to provide financial resources in an ongoing basis.

We began our project by interviewing past donors to gain understanding of their experiences with SAFE. Based on these interviews, 94% of respondents conveyed that they felt SAFE was a great organization with passionate leadership but lacked the professional presence needed to create rapport with potential donors. In order to address these concerns of past donors, we planned to provide SAFE with the resources to promote a professional and effective image.

We recently connected SAFE with a pro-bono web developer through a service provided by Grassroots.org. We are facilitating the creation of a website that will give SAFE a professional image and perpetuate their desired vision and mission. The site will educate its readers about domestic violence and SAFE’s unique position within the community, while concurrently providing information about SAFE’s progress and how they can help. Potential clients will be able to learn about SAFE, how to benefit from their services, and other ways to seek help.

Our team has also worked with SAFE to structure and plan their spending more effectively. We developed a yearly budget for their group and a framework that they can use as a tool in planning future events. The framework will also allow SAFE to submit more detailed and appropriate applications to corporate sponsors for donations, an ever-growing necessity when applying for these opportunities. At the conclusion of this project, we hope to have provided SAFE with adequate and effective tools to establish their brand and promote their mission to the community and victims of domestic violence.

Applying to Work with SCNO…

Does your organization need strategic advice and tools to address issues hampering the progress of your operations or impact in the community? Competition and continual improvement are certainly not limited to for-profit arenas, and SCNO can help to provide your group an edge on a variety of endeavors. Visit www.msuscno.org to download an application and submit it to Brittany Sovran at communitydevelopment@msuscno.org by Friday, April 18th to be considered for an engagement beginning in the fall semester. We look forward to the opportunity to work with you and your group.

Michigan State University