Georgetown McDonough’s Small Business Clinic is known around DC for the high caliber consulting it offers to local organizations, free of charge. On campus, it has made its mark giving students an opportunity to get out into the community and aid the local economy, as well as hone critical skills at the same time.
Small Business Clinic assists students with the legal, accounting, and finance issues involved with designing business plans for small businesses and non-profits. Each year, these students are responsible for providing tens of thousands of dollars worth of free consulting to organizations around Washington, D.C. This year, students examined projects from 16 companies, and voted on six to receive their consulting services.
The six organizations are:
Capitol Deal – A service of The Washington Post offering discounts to local businesses; The Washingtonian (Custom Media Project) – Magazine and website about life in Washington, D.C.; and Kinsail – Information management and payment processing solutions.
Adjunct Professorial Lecturer Jim Hunt brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the helm of the Small Business Clinic. He has started, grown, and sold several companies with sales revenues of up to $100 million, and is an angel investor and board member of many others. He also has engaged in tactical and strategic consulting projects for small companies while at Ernst & Young and Price Waterhouse.
“The Small Business Clinic is a great combination of academic focus and real-world practicum. The companies and nonprofits we work for have been overwhelmingly appreciative of the work product the students produce and, in many cases, have taken the projects and baked the results into their ongoing corporate initiatives. Along with Adjunct Professors Steve Goldenberg and Smith Wood, it has been a very fun, challenging and gratifying course to teach,” said Hunt.
One student team consulted for the Washington Middle School for Girls (WMSG), whose mission is to provide a caring, safe environment for girls who live in an underserved urban area and are at risk of leaving school prematurely. The school offers a holistic education in the Catholic educational tradition. Last year, 24 percent of their income derived from individual contributions. They asked students to come up with an actionable and sustainable plan for WMSG to cultivate a community of young donors online.
The WMSG team tested a process of linking people in the WMSG constituent database with their associated social media identities. In this way, WMSG will have important information about each person’s social media usage on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Then, the students divided the people in the database into groups that have certain affinities and interests. This will allow for tailored messaging to each affinity group, and for connecting with each group via social media – as opposed to relying on an email-only communication method. Connecting with people via newer avenues such as social media can make communications efforts more effective and efficient, particularly among younger constituents. Among other deliverables, they provided the client with a one-year plan to create a young donor network.
"Like many nonprofit organizations, we are always faced with the challenge of growing our community of supporters. With the expert assistance of students from Georgetown McDonough School of Business, we know we are on a path to success," said Kathleen McMackin, director of development and community outreach, Washington Middle School for Girls.