Social Impact Consulting Club (SIC) is a Yale SOM student-led organization that offers pro-bono consulting services to mission-driven organizations, primarily in the New Haven community. This year SIC matched 83 student consultants with 23 client organizations to help them solve critical organizational challenges ranging from strategy and financial planning to human resources initiatives and digital marketing. SIC believes strongly that to achieve results for clients, consultants must deeply know and understand the organization and context where they are working, and starting a client relationship with empathy interviews is crucial to starting a productive and collaborative relationship between consultants and clients.
On November 9, SIC consultants engaged in an Empathy Interviewing training conducted by YCore, a four-month, skills-based volunteering program that partners young professionals with local nonprofits to work on a capacity-building project. YCore’s fellows help nonprofits meet their strategic goals while building the knowledge, network, and experience to become better long-term changemakers, donors, and community advocates. Their expertise was invaluable to SIC consultants who are looking to make impact and form authentic partnerships in the New Haven community.
We asked SIC consultants for their takeaways from the training.
This training was essential for preparing our group to conduct thoughtful, insightful, and respectful empathy interviews. The facilitators were in tune with our needs, balancing theory and practice in a way that was engaging and resulted in clear takeaways. It was even more impressive that they pulled this off in the virtual environment—this was one of my most enjoyable Zoom experiences I’ve had!
Two particularly helpful outcomes from the YCore training were increased awareness of the assumptions team members were carrying and a much broader network of target stakeholders for our interviews. We brought both of these elements into our initial meeting with The Word and left the meeting with a slew of documentation and contacts that we would not have thought to ask for prior to the YCore training.
Social Impact Consulting is a role that requires humility, empathy, and excellent listening skills. YCore’s training gave me and my team the tools we needed to engage with our clients and build an effective partnership. The training included reflection and hands-on exercises that gave us practical experience applying the concepts we were learning. Thank you YCore!