As young consultants we all have the opportunity to have a dramatic impact on the performance and success of our clients.
Very rarely, however, do we have the opportunity to play a role in transforming the lives of the world’s most vulnerable people. More rarely still do we deliver this kind of work as a group of collaborating, not competing consultancies and, most significantly, for no fee. But in the Young MCA’s current Corporate Social Responsibility project, that’s exactly what we’re doing.
For the last 5 months, young consultants from 12 different MCA firms have been helping the Railway Children charity build their future business plan and strategy – for free. By bringing together our skills, insight and energy we have been able to offer this charity a unique consultancy service which will assist them in delivering their life-changing work in the future.
“The work has challenged us, pushing us to work through problems and overcome hurdles to help us look at our organisation objectively, and seek ways to improve the way we operate to ensure we can continue to deliver life-changing help to street children around the world.” – Terina Keene, Chief Executive, the Railway Children
The work of the Railway Children
We chose to support the Railway Children because of the incredible work they do to fight for vulnerable children who live alone and at risk on the streets. In the UK 100,000 children run away from home each year, 18,000 will sleep rough – 30% are 12 years old or younger – facing risk of violence, hunger, sexual exploitation, illness and drug and alcohol abuse.
Railway Children work to help these children in the UK, India and Africa. Their 3 step change agenda tackles the issue of street children at the source through immediate action, in the community by increasing awareness and changing perceptions and at government level.
Our project mission
- To bring together the best of our talent and skills to support and develop a charity, free of charge
- To offer young consultants a practical and positive means of development
- To create a real success story that will reflect strongly on the consultancy industry as a whole
- To create a tangible output for the Young MCA
Building the project
With their current Business Plan and Strategy coming to an end in 2014, Railway Children required the Young MCA to assist in scoping and compiling a new 3 year plan for their 5 different business areas: Brand and Marketing, Fundraising, UK, India and East Africa.
The CSR team were confident in their ability to meet the challenge, and through early discussions run by Young Consultant of the Year Nominee Phil Humber, we helped the charity understand the value that the Young MCA could offer and the benefits we could deliver.
Together with the charity, the team agreed to run a series of workshops with a small consultancy team dedicated to each Railway Children business area. The workshops would assess past performance, identify future risks and opportunities and create plans to tackle these, drawing out SMART goals and objectives for each business unit. A central Validation and Review team would then support the Workstreams in uniting each of the strategies under five key objectives.
The anticipated benefits were:
- A clear organisation direction for future growth
- Improved lines of communication between the business units
- Greater internal consistency
- A stronger brand presence
- An increase in funding
“It has been inspiring to work with Railway Children India with the direct impact that they have on thousands of children's lives. If we can optimise their business strategy it could potentially improve the lives of hundreds or even thousands of underprivileged children across the subcontinent. If that's not a motivating incentive then I don't know what is!” – David Connors, PwC
What’s happening now
Our team presented their initial findings from the workshops to the Railway Senior Management team in 4th September and the response was exceptional. It also gave us an opportunity to validate our progress so far and confirm our confidence that we are reaching the right conclusions.
Moving forward, we will be running workshops to provide the charity trustees with the opportunity to convey their insights and ideas for the future business plan and over the next 2 months the teams will remain engaged with their stakeholders to add colour and depth to the forming business plans, ensuring they are best possible solution. Our ultimate aim is to be able to produce a comprehensive, exceptional quality three year plan to the Railway Children by the end of November.
The benefits for the team
The CSR project has been a unique experience of working side by side with other consultancies for a charity entirely focused not on profit but on improving the lives of vulnerable children. Although the benefits for the charity were our absolute priority, the team themselves have developed new skills and capabilities, along with an improved ability to work in diverse teams. Across the board, the project has set the standard for our CSR projects and we are excited about the results we will deliver in the future as part of the Young MCA.
“The project has provided me with a deeper understanding of non-profit strategy and business planning. There should be more opportunities to work with other organisations in driving the performance of NGOs, charities and social enterprises” – James Baxani, Accenture
“By pooling ideas, tools and methodologies from so many different firms, you get really great insight into the ways different consultants work and broaden your professional experience.” – Ashley Hunter, Deloitte
The Railway Children project is part of a long term commitment of the Young MCA to deliver CSR projects for outstanding causes. To find out more about our CSR mission, please contact Jer Lau at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about the Railway Children project specifically please contact Josh Rix, project manager at email@example.com or Rachel Barker, communications lead at Rachel.firstname.lastname@example.org