400 students volunteer for pro-bono consultancy to charities

20 August 2020 Consultancy.uk 3 min. read
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This summer, over 400 students are volunteering to help charity organsiations in a consulting capacity. The initiative is the idea of the Covid-19 Student Response Network. 

Leading up to this year, the environment for non-profits and charities has been looking increasingly bleak in the UK. Dwindling donations and a fall in state funding have pushed many such groups to the brink in recent years. In 2020, this was compounded by the global coronavirus pandemic, with the economic crisis it has helped create seeing a surge in the need for charity services, coupled with a collapse in donations.

Looking to provide invaluable help in this situation, the Covid-19 Student Response Network (CSRN) is a collaborative effort led by student consultants from top universities around the world. The network of established students consultancies – including a number which belong to 180 Degrees – working together to help as many charities as possible through the pandemic.

400 students volunteer for pro-bono consultancy to charities

Founded by Jack Elliot, Immy Ireland, Tom Steggall and Lee D’arcy – all senior members of 180 Degrees’ Bristol wing – the CSRN platform aims to provide the necessary resources and infrastructure enabling student consultancies to achieve impact at scale. Facilitated through key centralised support functions, collaboration is at the core of the network’s operations. According to a release from the group, so far CSRN has linked 290 students (working in groups of up to six) with 57 social impact organisations, while the consultants are supported by official training partners Accenture, DATA3, and TATA Consultancy Services.

Co-Founder and Managing Director Jack Elliott said, “The charity sector is one of the hardest hit globally by the coronavirus pandemic. 75 per cent of the sector has been furloughed and so many charities are struggling just to stay afloat. We’re orchestrating a mass attempt at supporting local charities during these unprecedented times and we're keen to get as many Bristol students on board as possible.”

CSRN’s current clients include a number of well-known charities from across the UK. Among them are Fight Covid UK, playground charity APE Project, assisted living group WECIL, the Bristol branch of Age UK, and Help Bristol’s Homeless. According to CSRN’s founders, the number of students volunteering will hopefully reach 400 – with partnerships with university consulting organisations, such as Six Degrees Oxford helping to achieve that.

The partnership between the CSRN and Six Degrees Oxford is the latest collaboration in an expanding network. The Universities of St Andrews, Edinburgh, Nottingham and Bristol are also involved in the initiative.

Jasmine Yim, Managing Director at Six Degrees Oxford has said of the new partnership, “We’re really excited to be part of this new initiative and look forward to working with a range of charities and students. In particular we’ll be focusing on sustainability charities helping to tackle the climate crisis as well as supporting charities hit by the coronavirus.”