March 3, 2017

Fellowship Report: Lauren Nelson - Social Venture Partners Q&A

We recently sat down with first-year, full-time MBA student, Lauren Nelson, about her new position as a fellow with Social Venture Partners.

Q: Congratulations on your recent fellowship appointment with Social Venture Partners! Can you tell us broadly what it is that SVP does?

SVP is an international engaged philanthropy organization made of many local chapters, which helps to develop and grow the impact of local nonprofit organizations for up to 3 years through both financial contributions and consulting services. The Cleveland SVP chapter even helped grow Shaker Heights’s very own Edwin’s restaurant! The volunteer consultants are known as “partners” and “fellows” whose backgrounds include but are not limited to finance, business consulting, marketing, entrepreneurship, engineering, advocacy, education, healthcare, and law. Multidisciplinary teams of partners and fellows are matched with non-profits based on their need.

SVP also puts an annual event called the Big Bang. For several weeks leading up to the event, non-profit leaders are coached on their “pitch” and it culminates in a big pitch competition and fundraising event. I also happen to be doing marketing and strategy work with a former participant in this competition called amaZEN U – you should check them out!

Q: What kind of work will you be doing as a fellow?

As a fellow I am a part of both the Education team and the Investment team. The investment team is a committee that decides which non-profits will be selected as SVP “investees” for each one-year cycle. As a part of the education team I will be planning events to educate SVP partners, investees, and the community on issues surrounding social innovation. I will also be selected to work with one of our new investees in the actual consulting process.

 Q: What makes inspires you the most about this company and this opportunity?

I have done work with nonprofits in the past and the worst thing to see is the loss in potential impact when they don’t go to scale or couldn’t manage their budget appropriately. I believe in the efforts of SVP because they tap into a vast pool of resources from the international network and the knowledge of a diverse group of local “partners” in order to optimize the efforts of nonprofits.


Q: What skills do you hope to build through this experience?

I am hoping to put some of my business design and innovation skills to use in service of the greater good. I think this will be a great time to practice design skills like empathy and divergent thinking. I am also excited to learn from the diverse team of partners as we work on developing local non-profits.

Q: If you could plug one thing about SVP to the Weatherhead community, what would it be?

Our business skills are valuable everywhere. SVP allows you to use your business skills to contribute in any capacity that works for your schedule. You can meet people from the diverse group of partners with whom you might never otherwise come in contact, and even see your own suggestions brought to life in local non profits. Also, as we all know it is extremely important in the current political climate that we all put our money and time where our values are. This is a great way to do that!

To learn more about Social Venture Partners, check out their website http://www.socialventurepartners.org/

To get involved with the Cleveland chapter, reach out to Lauren at lmn42@case.edu OR check out the local website http://www.socialventurepartners.org/cleveland/

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