Student Consultants Aid Nonprofits in C-U and Beyond

Service learning Sophomore Ryan Singh, a finance and management major, was an early recruit to year-old Students Consulting for Nonprofit Organizations. Annie Wang, a sophomore in accounting, said her work with SCNO helped her get a global wealth management internship at Merrill Lynch in Peoria this past summer.

(Reprinted from Postmarks with permission)

By Diana Yates

Students Consulting for Nonprofit Organizations (SCNO) is only 1 year old, yet it already has a worthy list of achievements linked to its name.

The startup student organization brought a “Tree of Hope” to the Quad last fall, raising about $1,000 for the Developmental Services Center of Illinois. It showed one local nonprofit how to set up a computerized accounting system and helped another with its strategic plan. It developed a marketing plan for The I.D.E.A. Store in Champaign and conducted a broad survey of its customers and donors. And it helped Community Choices, a local organization serving youth with disabilities, enhance its online presence.

Now with 67 members and 10 new projects on its radar (one of them in Africa), the all-volunteer undergraduate student organization is growing into a formidable force for good on campus, in the community and beyond.

SCNO is a national organization, with chapters at Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State and (now) the UI. Last fall, communication major and Buffalo Grove, Ill., native Grant McNamara, a senior at the time, and industrial/organizational psychology major Mitch Hamer (then a senior from Northbrook, Ill.) founded the group with McNamara’s younger brother, Jordan (Jordy) McNamara, now a junior in finance and information systems.

They were inspired by the notion that a student group could perform a much-needed community service, Jordy McNamara said.

“There are hundreds of nonprofit organizations headquartered in Champaign County and few, if any, had real ties to the university and all its resources,” he said. “To have the opportunity to take what I learn every day in the classroom and put it into productive use for these nonprofits