How Consultants Against Covid-19 has helped non-profits in the pandemic

08 December 2020 Consultancy.uk
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When the pandemic hit, Movemeon launched ‘Consultants Against Covid-19,' and over just a few months the scheme has seen more than 60 consultants placed pro bono at over 30 organisations. One consultant was Elanor Jovanovic, while one client was Tom Ebbutt, and both recounted their experiences on the organisation’s website.

The 2020 Covid-19 pandemic has seen organisations in every sector and industry suffer a period of deep economic and social crisis. In order to help organisations impacted by the situation, at the beginning of the pandemic, Movemeon launched Consultants Against Covid-19, a pool of consultants ready to volunteer their services.

Established by Jack Fitch and Clare Tsangari, more than 450 professionals have since volunteered to provide their services for free to over 30 public health organisations, charities and government at the national level. The total savings in services to these organisations is now over £1 million. One of those consultants was Elanor Jovanovic, a consultant who has worked in New Zealand, Denmark and Singapore – but suddenly found her wings clipped amid the global pandemic.

Speaking on Movemeon’s website, she explained, “I started my career as a trainee in an international management programme in the transportation and logistics industry, an industry that has since taken me across the world multiple times and I have been fortunate to work across Europe, Asia and Oceania… [During the pandemic] my professional life saw the time in between roles become a little longer than anticipated… To a degree this was Covid-19 related, however it also came down to paperwork being delayed in the otherwise efficient Switzerland…”

Elanor Jovanovic and Tom Ebbutt - Consultants against covid

In connection with an intercontinental move, Jovanovic found herself in between roles, and hence with plenty of time on her hands. As a versatile program and change management executive with extensive experience leading global initiatives across various facets of the supply chain, Jovanovic decided that rather than take a breather during the pandemic, she would be better off putting her skills to work supporting Consultants Against Covid-19. She was placed with a matter she had always been interested in, and quickly got to work.

She elaborated, “I have always wished to know more about how non-profits are run, and Médecins Sans Frontières [Doctors without Borders] has definitely been one of the organisations I have had an interest in. They were doing an overhaul to a number of their processes in their operational centre in Amsterdam where I was supporting them on the change management side of things.”

“Soon after commencing… I felt I was part of the team, supporting the journey towards something bigger – a big necessity for all of us during Covid-19. I want to thank everyone at MSF for the quick acceptance as ‘one of them’ and for being used as a sounding board, and listened to for my change management expertise – I would be happy to work with everyone involved again at a later stage!”

Helping hand

On the other side of things, Tom Ebbutt spoke to Movemeon about how the organisation’s pandemic response had helped his group to cope with the situation. The former Deloitte consultant is currently Managing Director for On Purpose – a non-profit professional services firm looking to solve society's most difficult problems.

“On Purpose’s mission is closely aligned with my personal values, and it’s also a brilliant team here,” Ebutt said. “On Purpose helps people and organisations find their purpose, and then helps them make it a reality. The core of our community is the On Purpose Associate Programme which helps young professionals in London, Paris and Berlin transition into careers with social purpose. Over the past decade, we have built a community of over 2000 people committed to building an economy that works for everyone, within the limits of our planet.”

The firm closed its office in March, and Ebbutt has only been back three times since. As much of his work was video calls with teams in Paris and Berlin, and the organisation already worked remotely for at least one day a week, “in some ways the shift to fully home working wasn’t that big a change.” At the same time, he stressed, “it’s been hard not seeing the team in person and not meeting new team members face to face.”

According to Ebbutt, Consultants Against Covid-19 helped address the challenges of performing their work without face-to-face contact in late spring. The organisation deployed consultant Gordon Agius in May, and helped On Purpose put in place live dashboards which meant the firm could see more clearly and immediately the progress it was making recruiting people and organisations to join its programmes.

“It’s made a big difference to our teams so thanks again to him for all the work he did with us,” Ebbutt concluded.