Behind-the-scenes look at the Leeds Enterprise Consultancy Project
Enterprise Consultancy was easily one of the best modules I studied throughout my time at university
Charity organisation Better Giving Partnership gained valuable insights, time and a fresh perspective to help develop their ‘Givto’ fundraising service thanks to the varied backgrounds and skills of the Enterprise Consultancy students.
Increasing capacity to expand ideas
Penny Coulthard, Better Giving Partnership’s Director of Charity Engagement, found out about the Enterprise Consultancy module from a friend who works in the Leeds University Business School. ‘We’re a small team in the early stages of our business, so the idea of extra input and an external opinion was really valuable,’ she says.
‘It was clear straight away that it was a great opportunity for us,’ adds Founder and CEO Alex Ellis-White. ‘Our entire team is made up of volunteers, and we don’t have a great deal of spare time. We knew having the students on board would give us the further support and ideas we needed to grow and expand our service.’
‘At the time, we’d just launched www.givto.org – an exciting new fundraising service that enables people to donate to a different charity each month with one simple direct debit,’ Alex explains. ‘The service was in its early stages, so I wanted the students to look at the feedback we’d received from users and charities, and explore how we could grow the platform beyond the Leeds area. I was keen to find out who we should target, what kind of messaging would attract new users, and how we should develop the website. I knew the students could offer this insight.’
Bringing different perspectives from diverse backgrounds
LLB Law undergraduate Kathryn Griffiths chose the Enterprise Consultancy module looking for an opportunity to expand her skills. ‘Law is quite theoretical,’ says Kathryn. ‘I wanted to do something a bit different, and felt business and law aligned well. Better Giving Partnership was my first choice project as I liked the wide scope of the brief. It was all about growth, and we had the flexibility to choose the area of the charity that interested us. I focussed on how operations could be scaled up in the future, using problem solving and analytical thinking.’
‘Alex tasked us with creating a one-year roadmap for long-term growth’, explains Scott McKinney, a Biology with Enterprise student also working on the Better Giving Partnership project. ‘We tried to distribute different roles according to our backgrounds. My role was the link between everyone, including keeping Alex, Penny and the team informed about how our work was progressing’.
‘The teamwork aspect of the module really interested me,’ adds Kathryn. ‘I’d never worked with such a varied group of students before. I really noticed, and valued, the ideas we could share in comparison to the projects I’d worked on in my law module, where we all had the same knowledge base.’
Sharing updates to support project progress
Alex and Penny held a weekly call with the students to keep everyone informed and give the them guidance, listening to their ideas and steering their focus if needed. However, they were impressed with the way the students distributed the work themselves. ‘They were clearly well organised and knew how to use their skills to bring the greatest benefit to the project,’ Alex says. ‘Each week they’d talk us through a set of slides explaining their progress and findings, so we could give them feedback at our meetings.’
The students were all smart, reliable, and enthusiastic’, Penny adds. ‘Their diversified backgrounds meant they brought different knowledge and academic input that we wouldn’t have gained elsewhere.
Building careers with newfound knowledge
Kathryn still plans to become a commercial lawyer, yet her time with Better Giving Partnership has given her a different view on what her career might look like. ‘I’m now hoping to study abroad before I graduate,’ she explains. ‘Yet, more importantly, the Enterprise Consultancy module has taught me hugely transferrable skills that play an important part of a lawyer’s role within a business. I really enjoyed the networking, the chance to experience a real-life business scenario, and the consulting process. They’re great talking points for future job interviews.’
Scott agrees, ‘I’ve just secured a sales executive role in a life sciences software company, and spoke a lot about the Enterprise Consultancy module at my interview, it was so helpful to demonstrate experience of working in the real world, alongside customer service consultancy and account management. There were five interviews and presentations for the role, and I feel the skills I learned through the Enterprise Consultancy module really set me apart.’
Alongside his new employment, Scott is staying on with Better Giving Partnership as a trustee. ‘We offered the students the opportunity to get involved with the charity on an ongoing basis, and Scott was immediately keen’, says Alex. ‘We’re excited he’s going to continue to be involved with Better Giving Partnership.’
Gaining insight and building experiences
At the end of the Enterprise Consultancy module, the students presented their findings to the entire Better Giving Partnership volunteer team and the trustees. ‘We gained a new approach to our plans, based on the students’ broad range of skills and academic rigour,’ says Penny. Alex agrees: ‘We’ve taken away, and are implementing, most of the students’ recommendations. Without the Enterprise Consultancy module, we’d never have gained this hugely helpful insight that will help us grow the Givto service.’
‘Enterprise Consultancy was easily one of the best modules I studied throughout my time at university,’ Scott concludes. ‘The experience and the camaraderie were both so valuable. I’d definitely recommend the module to others.’
To find out more about the Enterprise Consultancy Module, visit https://cees.leeds.ac.uk/enterprise-consultancy-module/. We look for businesses and social enterprises to participate each year.
Find out more about Givto and how you can give to a different charity each month with one simple Direct Debit, go to givto.org. For more information about the Better Giving Partnership, visit bettergivingpartnership.org.