Booth Alumni Nonprofit Consultants (BANC)
Thank you for your interest in BANC. We have been closely following the evolving situation with coronavirus (COVID-19), and have decided out of an abundance of caution and for the safety of our community and visitors to postpone all BANC projects that were scheduled to begin on April 14, 2020. We will be in touch with those nonprofit clients and consultants affected by the postponement if we have any information about rescheduling. For the most up-to-date information about coronavirus and Chicago Booth, please visit the Chicago Booth Coronavirus Updates webpage.
Looking to give back to the community? Interested in exploring the non-profit world? Eager to meet other alumni? Want to refine or learn new skills?
BANC offers Booth Alumni unique opportunities to contribute, collaborate, and connect with nonprofits in the Chicago area.
Who We Are
BANC is a Chicago Booth initiative collaboratively developed and supported by the Dean, the Office of Alumni Relations, and the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation.
BANC was created when Booth alumnae Gayle Haller, ’87 and Judy Maley, ’84 saw an opportunity to match the desire among Booth alumni to give back to their communities with the need for business-oriented help expressed by nonprofit organizations. It was launched with two pilot projects in fall 2015. BANC consultants have successfully completed 19 projects to date.
Our mission is to leverage pro bono consulting services from Booth alumni to help nonprofits achieve their goals.
What We Offer
Alumni: BANC offers Chicago-Area Booth Alumni pro bono opportunities to help nonprofits successfully grow, resolve problems, and further their missions. Alumni also deepen their knowledge of the nonprofit sector, further hone their skills, and have an opportunity to connect with fellow Booth graduates.
Consulting projects typically have four to six consultants and are completed over a six-month period.
Nonprofits: BANC offers Chicago-based nonprofits the opportunity to tap into Booth alumni skills by providing pro bono consulting in a number of areas: growth strategies, process development and operations evaluations, performance reporting and dashboards, strategic planning, marketing planning, community engagement, and program evaluations.
BANC does not provide development/fundraising strategies or advertising materials and does not implement recommended strategies.
NEW BANC Projects
Inner Voice (https://www.ivchi.org) (Chicago, IL)
Project: Design a data dashboard to provide a holistic view of current and new performance metrics; and create new performance metrics showcasing Inner Voice to potential new funders.
Inner Voice provides a combination of affordable housing and support services designed to help individuals and families use housing as a platform for health and recovery following a period of homelessness. The organization has asked BANC to create new performance metrics specific for development efforts with potential new funders and to design a data dashboard to provide a holistic view of current and new performance metrics. BANC consultants will review the current data collection system, conduct interviews with selected stakeholders and potential funding sources, research other nonprofit data collection systems, make recommendations for new metrics and develop a mock-up of dashboard options.
Experience developing meaningful non-financial metrics
Comfortable conducting 1-1 phone interviews w/ senior leaders
Experience developing questionnaires/discussion guides
NAMI DuPage (https://www.namidupage.org) (Wheaton IL)
Project: Develop a 3-5 year Strategic Plan
NAMI DuPage’s mission is to provide support, advocacy and education in order to improve the quality of life of individuals with mental illness and their families. The BANC team will identify client segments, needs and gaps in the marketplace; perform a competitive analysis; interview clients and key stakeholders; prepare a SWOT analysis and identify key strategic issues, goals (measurable) and stakeholders.
Experience developing strategic plans
Healthcare/Mental Healthcare Market experience a plus
North Lawndale Employment Network and Sweet Beginnings, LLC (https://www.nlen.org) (Chicago, IL)
Project: Develop a financial analysis and operational plan for beelove® Subscription Box
The mission of North Lawndale Employment Network (NLEN) is to improve the earnings potential of the North Lawndale community through innovative employment initiatives such as its 3-month transitional jobs program through Sweet Beginnings, LLC which produces honey and honey infused skin care products under the beelove® label and is carried in a variety of Chicago area markets. Sweet Beginnings wishes to employ more individuals in need of employment and believes the best way to increase sales is through a subscription model focused primarily on beelove® skin care products. It wants to operationalize the model. BANC consultants will analyze existing sales and operations data; understand existing marketing practices; examine competitive products; prepare a pricing analysis of beelove® market; prepare a model forecasting replenishment subscription box and make recommendations to operationalize the box.
Sales and Marketing
CPG (Beauty, Personal Care and Food)
Product Pricing and Forecasting
Loyalty Programs/Subscription Box
StreetWise (https://www.streetwise.org) (Chicago, IL)
Project: Develop a Social Enterprise Business Idea
The StreetWise mission is to empower the entrepreneurial spirit through dignity of self-employment by providing Chicagoans facing homelessness with a combination of supportive employment and other services. StreetWise magazine is their foundation program where authorized and licensed vendors purchase StreetWise Magazines each week for resale to the public. The organization is looking for a new social enterprise initiative that results in growth beyond the sale of the magazine. StreetWise has asked BANC to come up with ideas for a new social enterprise. BANC consultants will conduct an organizational assessment of StreetWise assets and capabilities, research similar organizations to see what types of social enterprise initiatives have been successful, conduct stakeholder interviews, develop a SWOT analysis, propose to StreetWise initiatives to consider and select one of those ideas for a high-level financial analysis.
XS Tennis and Education Foundation (https://www.xstennis.org) (Chicago, IL)
Project: Develop a Marketing Strategy and Communications Plan
The XS Tennis and Education Foundation (XSTEF) mission is to provide Chicago’s underserved youth with an enriching safe-haven and positive pathway to college through a community-based tennis and academic enrichment program. XSTEF has sent 51 students to college on tennis scholarships and wants to grow from serving 2,300 to 5,000 youth per year. The challenge XSTEF faces is how to educate the community about tennis in general and their programs in particular. XSTEF would like BANC to develop a marketing plan that brings in more paid memberships at all levels, motivates parents to enroll their children in the program and grows awareness of their products and services. BANC consultants will develop a strategic marketing plan. The BANC team will conduct primary market research, analyze the competitive landscape and complete a SWOT in order to deliver a targeted marketing plan.
Social Media a plus
Alumni We Look For
BANC is seeking committed Booth alumni with a desire to use their management skills to benefit nonprofits through pro bono consulting projects. The projects typically utilize expertise in a wide variety of areas. We match the needs of the project with alumni who have the skills required to complete the consultancy.
Previous BANC consultants have had skills in the following areas: management consulting, market research, product and business development, product/brand management, technology consulting, financial systems management, financial analysis, communications, and sales.
Alumni in all stages of life’s journey are welcome to apply: Retirees, full-time business professionals, entrepreneurs, millennials, stay-at-home parents, and all alumni looking to strengthen bonds with the Booth community.
What We Look For In Alumni Consultants
BANC Consultants are chosen on a rolling basis. Volunteers come from a range of backgrounds, but share a strong desire to use their Booth skills to help the community. In addition to that passion, we look for:
• An average commitment of two to four hours a week for up to six months, beginning from the start date of the project (This is an average estimate. Over the course of the project, some weeks will require more effort and other weeks none at all.) Most of the work is accomplished during the week and during business hours.
• Individuals who have the ability to meet with the clients in their Chicago area offices during normal business hours. Teams have between three to five meetings with their clients.
• A professional and collaborative attitude with clients and other volunteer consultants.
• Attendance at a mandatory training session on April 14, 2020 in downtown Chicago.
Note: Only those who hold an MBA from Booth are eligible.
BANC projects are popular with the Booth community. If you are not matched to a project, your application will be retained and considered for the next round of projects.
What Our Consultants Say
BANC volunteers report a strong sense of satisfaction in helping clients meet their specific challenges. Consultants also value their experience for strengthening their understanding of the nonprofit space, for broadening peer networks, and for the sheer fun of working with a team of Booth alumni.
“Volunteering for BANC was deeply satisfying. It was wonderful to help drive meaningful change, give back to the community, bond with fellow alumni, and continue to sharpen my skills.”
—Sujatha Shenoy, ’04
What BANC Can Do For your Nonprofit
Here are some examples of how BANC has helped other nonprofits improve their operations:
• Financial Operations Assessment:
With its growth in clients and programs, a social services non-profit found that their financial processes and systems were fragmented; needed to be streamlined and its software package replaced. The BANC team conducted a number of current state process discovery sessions with members of the organization. Out of those sessions, the BANC team created process maps, identified a number of pain points, showed what worked and what could be made more cost efficient. The BANC team analyzed and benchmarked software packages of similar nonprofits and developed a list of business requirements for the nonprofit staff to incorporate into an RFP. This work enabled the nonprofit to create a detailed RFP for software vendors and immediately implement some operational improvements.
• Marketing Strategy for a new for-profit enterprise:
A social services organization had previously defined an income generating healthcare business to fill the gap left by deep federal and state funding cuts. The BANC team was engaged to develop a marketing strategy to promote its services to the right target customers. Through stakeholder interviews and research, the BANC team analyzed customer demand, pricing constraints, the competitive environment, and overall market drivers. They were then able to recommend target customers and partners, a segmented value proposition for the services, a pricing and promotions plan by segment, branding goals, and a roadmap for commercialization. Since the conclusion of the project, the healthcare business was launched and is successfully reaching its target customer goals.
• Data Dashboard:
A national healthcare advocacy organization needed a way to provide visibility into trends on growth and impact of programs across its organization. The BANC team was engaged to develop a Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) dashboard for its national office and affiliates that reflected the organization’s critical success factors. The team started the project by aligning the organization on relevant KPIs among various offices. Then, the BANC consultants worked with the board, staff and affiliate stakeholders to better define KPIs and its data collection strategy and analyze similar dashboard implementations by competitors. Through this process, the BANC team was able to provide a mock-up of a data dashboard to quantify and measure impact to improve resource allocation and services offered. The client was also able to use the dashboard mock-up as it engaged software vendors to support the solution.
What We Have Accomplished For Nonprofits
BANC consultants have successfully completed 19 projects, including:
• Strategic growth plan for an economic development organization
• Positioning, promotion, and pricing strategy for a highly-regarded Chicago-based early childhood program.
• Marketing plan to help a Chicago theater with two proposed strategic partnerships with the goal of increasing theater audiences at specific performances.
• Business plan for an urban farm providing social and vocational opportunities for autistic youth.
Who We Work With
BANC seeks to work with nonprofits that have the ability to provide meaningful projects and implement consultant recommendations. To be considered, nonprofits must meet the following criteria:
• Be a 501(c)3 or operate in the public sector
• Be headquartered in the Chicago area
• Have an annual operating budget of at least $500,000
• Have a full-time, paid executive director who has been in place for at least one year
• Is not undergoing a leadership transition
• Be able to assign a staff member and backup who will be dedicated to working with the BANC consultants and are flexible to meet after hours
• Have at least two more paid staff in addition to the executive director
• Have enough capacity to implement the BANC recommendations
• Attendance at a mandatory training session on April 14, 2020 in downtown Chicago.
Clients are chosen based on both the merit of the project and the ability of the engagement to attract volunteers.
What Nonprofits Have To Say About BANC
“The caliber of support and generosity of spirit towards a non-profit, non-paying client was unexpected and surprisingly uplifting for all those that worked with two BANC teams. The data analyses conducted, the presentation decks, and the interactions with board members and staff were top tier.” - Emilia DiMenco, President and CEO, Women’s Business Development Center
“The BANC team exemplified the key value of Booth alums – an amazing bench of c-suite talent from across industry, coming together to examine process not just as it is, but imagine what it could be – all in the spirit of creating tighter efficiencies and broader solutions that enable social purpose organizations to more effectively deliver on mission.” -Maria Kim, President and CEO, Cara
If you are a Booth graduate or work in a nonprofit, we hope you will consider being part of a future BANC project. For further information about BANC, please email: BANC@Chicagobooth.edu