Student organization hones consulting skills for nonprofit clients

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Nonprofit organization ACES North America was presented with a new marketing campaign recently thanks to some consulting from a Penn State Smeal College of Business student group. Students Consulting for Nonprofit Organizations (SCNO), a group that provides free consulting to local nonprofit organizations, also worked with the Children’s Aid Society and the Child Protection and Safety Collaboration.

Final project proposals were presented on April 24 in the Business Building Atrium.

Finance major Edward Yu said his interest in a consulting career led him to get involved with SCNO in 2011. For spring 2013, he was the team lead on the project for ACES North America, a nonprofit organization that provides funds and resources for development projects in the Dominican Republic, concentrating in the areas of health and education.

“We worked on a plan for ACES to improve their overall brand image,” said Yu. “We also developed a guideline for how to better market to the Penn State community.”

As the result of research and a branding survey distributed to Penn State students, Yu’s team created a marketing campaign that included targeted channels to increase awareness of the organization, a website redesign mockup that would be more attractive to students and a plan for promoting philanthropic opportunities to existing clubs and organizations on campus.

The team also detailed the process for creating an ACES student organization at Penn State and a possible timeline for expansion into other universities in the area.

“I’m very fortunate to work with a group of talented future consultants,” said Yu. “I think that’s what makes this club so great. It really gives people with great ideas a chance to work closely with others so we are always learning from each other. At the end of the day, we are all about teamwork.”

SCNO is a national organization; the Penn State chapter was created about two years ago by a group of students passionate about consulting and offering services to nonprofit organizations.

The group’s primary mission is to use their varied skillsets to improve the strategies and operations of local nonprofits. Its secondary mission is to give students a valuable hands-on work experience in consulting by working on real engagements in a team setting.

In past semesters, the group has worked with nonprofits such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, Community Help Center, Interfaith Human Services and Strawberry Fields. Starting in fall 2013, the semester-long projects will be extended to a full year in order to give students more time to develop in-depth recommendations for their clients.

To learn more about SCNO, including how to get involved, visit

Last Updated September 10, 2013