College of Business students unite within the Civitas Consulting student organization at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to help local nonprofits work out complex business problems they might not otherwise be able to solve. A recent example includes assisting Heart in Hands Development Center in preparing to open a special needs day care in Lincoln this summer.
Kylee Yakel, a junior actuarial science and economics major from Lincoln, Nebraska, helped spearhead a recent fundraiser for Heart in Hands at Blaze Pizza. She explained the primary services Civitas Consulting offers involves setting up basic business routines for people who may not have experience doing everything themselves.
“Civitas is helping Heart in Hands in two main areas – finance and marketing,” said Yakel, who is also a member of the Nebraska Business Honors Academy and a Bureau of Business Research Scholar. “Our team of finance students help them set up their Quickbook accounts, and understand the day-to-day financial operations of their business. Our goal is to help Heart in Hands with the business side of their nonprofit so they can focus on helping children in our community.”
The student organization also provides marketing services, assisting with graphic design, brochures, social media strategies and other marketing needs. Kristi Layman, executive director of Heart in Hands, appreciates the help Civitas Consulting provides.
“I’ve worked with nonprofits before, but never tackled something like this on my own,” said Layman. “The students help us by getting the core business needs of Heart in Hands finalized. They also helped us turn people out for the fundraiser at Blaze Pizza by getting the word out.”
Dr. Tammie Fischer, director of the Center for Economic Education and assistant professor of practice in economics, advises the student group. She explained Civitas Consulting also has helped established groups since the formation of the organization two years ago.
“Last year our students helped Community Crops. Even though they were an established nonprofit, they needed help getting their business organized so they could report to grant funders and their board. Students helped create a dashboard on their website so board members could go in at any time and see where revenues and expenses stood. They also put a report together and presented it to Community Crops,” said Fischer.
Fischer sees Nebraska Business continuing to grow in the area of community outreach. She praised the efforts of Umeda Islamova, who recently joined the College of Business as Nebraska Business Development Center director in the Center for Entrepreneurship, for her ability to make connections between students and nonprofit organizations.
“Umeda is a big help. She identifies organizations that can use services Civitas provides, and passes along names to us. She made the contact with Heart in Hands to initiate our work with them,” she said.
To learn more about Civitas Consulting, visit: http://business.unl.edu/current-students/organizations/#CIV