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Volunteer Consulting Group

Volunteer Services for Innovative Non-Profits

Non-profit organizations seek out solutions to complex social challenges, usually with limited resources. Learn how UTCA through our Volunteer Consulting Group aspires to help this sector help others.

To apply to be a Volunteer Consultant, please see our Volunteer page.

Consulting Projects

The Volunteer Consulting Group (VCG) provides pro-bono consulting to community-based organizations. We match top University students with local non-profits to solve problems in the areas of marketing, fundraising, finances, organizational structure and human resource management.

Our Mission

The Volunteer Consulting Group aims to provide students a way to develop their skills through innovative pro-bono consulting for youth-focused, community-based organizations. The students help these non-profit organizations develop creative solutions to difficult challenges and realistic, practical plans to implement them.

Our Approach

With every client engagement, we bring together a multi-disciplinary team from the faculties of engineering, arts and science, and commerce. Students are selected through a rigorous process testing their problem solving ability, teamwork and professional skills. We draw upon the knowledge of experienced consultants, industry partners, and past participants provide training and mentorship. The UTCA VCG also provides training and support to its volunteers through an orientation, feedback from the Advisory Board and SMEs.

The community organizations we work with benefit from a highly interactive and inclusive 6-month consulting experience. They receive creative solutions to difficult challenges and realistic problems. After the project closes, we remain in touch with our clients to evaluate the outcomes of the consulting engagement.

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About Us

Our History

2008 A formalized application process was implemented. A doubled number of Subject Matter Experts join the program, representing6 global consulting firms.A record 20 MBA candidates apply for 4 Engagement Manager positions.

2007 Monthly Training Sessions and SME feedback sessions are instituted to educate and provide students with greater insight into their projects and the different elements of consulting.

2006 A formalized Board of Directors is established as well as two new volunteer opportunities for professionals: Subject Matter Expert and Case Team Mentor.

2005 A record 200 applications are received for 25 Volunteer Consultant positions. For the first time, MBA students are recruited to act as Engagement Managers. Ann Armstrong is appointed Faculty Chair.

2004 Professionals from sponsor consulting firms are formally invited to join the group. Consultants from McKinsey, Monitor Group and Deloitte register as advisors.

2003 The program becomes known as the Volunteering Consulting Group (VCG). A team of 15 is selected to begin the first cases.

2002 A subcommittee of the University of Toronto Consulting Association begins to explore opportunities for students to engage in consulting projects with local non-profits. The students eager to apply business thinking to the social sector initiate a pilot program comprised of engineering and commerce students.

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Our Team

The driving force behind VCG is the experience, knowledge and commitment of our team.

Student Directors

Sara Dolcetti
Vice-President Volunteer Consulting Group

Sara Dolcetti is a 4th year Industrial Engineering Student at Universito fo Toronto. She recently finished a PEY term at CIBC where she worked on strategy and operational internal consulting projects. Her past work experiences include a NSERC Award research position conducting a consulting project on an energy market risk-mitigating model and working in the MIE department.

Jegan Kanaganayakam
Vice-President Volunteer Consulting Group

Jegan Kanaganayakam is a Mechanical Engineering student currently on PEY with Research In Motion as a Project Manager. Last year, Jegan worked with the VCG to conduct a complete feasibility analysis for a digital distribution network for the Documentary Organisation of Canada. Past work experiences include working with Communications and Power Industries as a Mechanical Designer in the Engineering Services Department.

Everest Lau

Co-President, UTCA

Everest Lau is in 4th year Electrical Engineering student at the University of Toronto. His past work experience includes working as a Digital Publishing Assistant at the UofT IT Services Department and as an HR E-Learning Intern in Hong Kong developing a web management solution for internal coporate traing

Expert Advisory Board

Ann Armstrong, Committee Chair
Lecturer and Director, Social Enterprise Initiative
University of Toronto

Ann Armstrong, Ph.D., is the Director of the Social Enterprise Initiative at the Rotman School of Management and has been a lecturer for the past six years in the OB/HRM area. She teaches courses in change management, team building, organizational theory and design, and non-profit consulting. She also teaches in the M.Biotech and the Culture, Communication and Information Technology programs. Ann is working on increasing the School?s involvement in the non-profit/social enterprise sector and has recently completed a case on the print shop at Eva?s Phoenix. She consults to organizations on compensation, creativity and organizational design.

Case Team Advisors

David Woloviec
Senior Associate
Oliver Wyman

David is a Senior Associate at the Toronto office for Oliver Wyman. He graduated from the University of Toronto with a B.A.Sc. in Industrial Engineering in 1997, and joined Mercer, now Oliver Wyman, in 2005. Since joining Oliver Wyman, David has been working with clients in the healthcare and pharmaceutical distribution industries, focusing on new growth strategies and the development of efficient sales channels to support these strategies. Before joining Oliver Wyman, David was the founder and manager of a series of start-up businesses, including a promotional products distribution business, which held contracts with various university bookstores across Ontario..

Robert Farmer
Mackenzie FSG International Limited

Robert Farmer is the President and founder of Mackenzie FSG International Limited, a Toronto based investment bank focusing on advisory services, finance, and investment. Robert graduated from Saint Mary’s University with a B.Comm & B.A. and obtained an MBA from Dalhousie. Before starting Mackenzie, Robert worked in several industries including Automotive, Environmental and Manufacturing sectors. As President of Mackenzie, Robert has had the opportunity to work on a number of projects focused on structuring, finance/capital, and problem situations. In his spare time, Robert enjoys training in Karate and travelling with his family.

Jennifer Pereira
The Boston Consulting Group

Jennifer is an Associate at the Boston Consulting Group. Jennifer graduated from the Civil Engineering program at the University of Toronto in 2006. Since joining the Boston Consulting Group, Jennifer has had the opportunity to work on a number of projects focusing on distribution strategy, marketing and sales strategy, consumer research, and sales and service models. Jennifer has served as President of the University of Toronto Consulting Association (UTCA) and has also led a VCG project for the Canadian Cancer Society. This year, Jennifer looks forward to continuing to support the pro-bono consulting program and a new student team as a Case Team Advisor.

Darren Lafreniere
AT Kearney

Darren Lafreniere is an Associate at AT Kearney. Darren graduated from the University of Manitoba with a degree in Psychology, and obtained his MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business. Since joining AT Kearney, Darren has worked with industries such as Manufacturing, Government, Agricultural, and Radio and Television Broadcasting. Darren is currently working on a project in the financial sector, helping to identify sourcing and demand management opportunities. In his spare time, Darren enjoys online gaming and playing the guitar.

Subject Matter Experts

Konrad Baranowski
Senior Consultant

Diana Wong

Syed Pirzada
Business Analyst

Marc Michael
Senior Associate

Jane Zhang
Program Manager
Techsoup Canada

Roman Leifer
Oliver Wyman

Bernice Wong
Oliver Wyman

Sarah Farrugia
Associate Director, Strategy
Bell Canada

Michael Shay

Bowie Cheung

Diana Dimitrova
The Boston Consulting Group

Jenny Fung
AT Kearney

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Our Work

The Volunteer Consulting Group (VCG) provides pro-bono consulting to community-based organizations. We match top University students with local non-profits to solve problems in the areas of marketing, fundraising, finances, organizational structure and human resource management.

Previous Clients

Over the past seven years, VCG has worked with clients such as Documentary Organization of Canada, Youth Science Foundation, JUMP tutoring and Mainstay Housing, conducting situational assessments and making general recommendations for the organizations. Specific projects have included comparative and structural analysis of organizations, expansions strategies which allowed the clients to provide their services to a wider community, and fundraising initiative recommendations.

National Regional Local

Youth Without Shelter
conducted a feasibility analysis for the implementation of a "Homeless for a Night" event.

Vaughan Youth Cabinet
Developed a city-wide electoral awareness campaign to promote civic participation amongst youth.

Created an expansion plan for a membership Program and "rebranding" campaign.

The Sage Centre & Tides Canada Initiatives
developed a model for project governance, customized support, and information sharing.

Habitat for Humanity
Assessment of the Toronto Build program's fundraising strategy and recommendations to expand donor base

Canadian Cancer Society
Youth Strategy
Review of the best practices in youth engagement of 13 leading non-profits, recommendations for the design the Society?s youth volunteer program

Youth Science Foundation
Program Development
Design of a three year roll-out strategy for a new national science mentorship program including finances, marketing and human resources

JUMP Tutoring
Expansion Strategy
Assessment of current university chapter program, design of a national expansion strategy and creation of chapter-in-a-box tool kit

Mainstay Housing
Design an enhanced fundraising committee structure and governance model

Gems of Hope
Analysis of internal operations to improve organization effectiveness

Bloorview Macmillan Children's Hospital
Creation of volunteer recruitment plan to target and retain dedicated volunteers

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University of Toronto Consulting Association 2009-2010