180 Degrees Consulting meets Social Held
It is high time to meet them, if you haven’t already. 180 Degrees Consulting Vienna is a team of over 30 students from different Viennese universities working together on projects with social enterprises and NPOs. They usually consult on 4-6 projects per semester, such as market entry strategy, donation evaluations, marketing roadmaps, and many more depending on the needs of the clients.
Consultant-volunteers commit 5-10 hours a week, very often working on their own on different tasks – how do you manage to keep everyone motivated?
Every semester we receive many applications, I believe it is because our program allows the students to gain professional experience by working hands-on for a good cause. We partner with reputable consulting companies, volunteers are guided by the consultants, receive training, learn how to work in a team etc. But most importantly, we create a community – during a semester, as a volunteer, you get to meet 30 new like minded people, but with completely different backgrounds & stories. We do a lot of social events and fun stuff as well, so the mix is the key!
Speaking of social events, how is your work going in times of social distancing? Keeping the community alive is undoubtedly a big challenge now.
We had to translate the whole process to the online reality. While it was straightforward for the professional part of the project, it was of course much more difficult to substitute social events. But we tried to get the best of it, and for example, started interacting socially with international branches of 180 DC. Normally we wouldn’t do it because of the different locations, now it came naturally. And there is still fun stuff you can do online, while waiting to finally meet in person – our tip, pub quiz!
Can you say something about the project with Social Held?
We find the project very appealing, because as a volunteer run organization we can identify a lot with the mission of Social Held. The goal of the project is very straightforward – invite more students and expats to volunteer. It let us use a lot of different methods, we did many interviews with platform users & potential volunteers, but also conducted thorough data research. It is however always a challenge, how and what to ask or look for, to get answers that will help the client, in this case Social Held.
You are the President of 180 DC, do you have any tips for organizations that work with student volunteers?
Well, I believe the key to our success is the mix I mentioned before – on one hand structured work for volunteers with a professional approach, so everyone knows what is expected from her/him, on the other hand casual fun and a social aspect!