Just like the private sector, nonprofits rely on a stable revenue stream to accomplish their missions. And we are here to help. That’s the message two area nonprofits received this week from Curry College MBA students as part of the 2019 MBA capstone project presentations.
Each year, Curry College MBA coursework culminates in a capstone project where the MBA cohort works as a team of consultants to an area organization on an applied research project. This year, students from the Plymouth and Milton MBA cohorts respectively presented a broad range of recommendations to Plymouth 400, Inc., a nonprofit focused on promoting the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Plymouth Colony, and to the Thomas M. Menino YMCA in Hyde Park.
“I never dreamed we’d have such a comprehensive business plan drawn up,” said William Alves, Executive Director of the Hyde Park Y. “Getting this kind of business intelligence through a different lens is very important for us. And having nine professionals working towards that goal is extremely powerful.”
In the Keith Auditorium on Tuesday, the Milton cohort presented recommendations for the Y to engage and educate the public about the important programs run out of its Hyde Park location. After conducting extensive research and numerous surveys, the Curry team concluded that if more members of the community were aware of the programs the Y offered, the more likely it is that they would become members.
“Engagement leads to connecting your organization to the community, which in turn feeds recruitment and increases overall retention rates,” said Milton MBA cohort team lead, Mark Jenner ’19. All of this leads to increased revenue and creates a virtuous cycle of growth, according to the cohort.
The power of the capstone project cuts both ways, according to Anthony Fabrizio, faculty advisor, professor, and chair of the Business Department. “The capstone project brings together all that our MBA students have learned and gives them the chance to apply it to a real world business environment and provide real value for the client,” Fabrizio said. “Plus, future employers love to see that experiential education and hands on learning.”
For India Santos ’19, of the Milton MBA cohort, hands-on learning means getting a crash course in teamwork and collaboration - two skills critical for success in today’s business environment. “Teamwork is critical,” she said. “Though we are each individuals, we all need to remember that we have a common end goal: to deliver a successful project.”
On Thursday, also in Keith Auditorium, the Plymouth cohort explained that their scope of work included monetizing the Plymouth 400 brand and helping create a stable revenue stream for their merchandise sales. “If you implement all of the recommendations put forth this evening, you’re not only going to hit the $5,000 monthly revenue goal, but you’ll beat it by three times,” said Christina Mallard ’19, project manager for the cohort.
Recommendations for exceeding that goal included partnering with local businesses for merchandising opportunities and making improvements to the group’s ecommerce site. “Websites have long been the holy grail for ecommerce and digital marketing,” said Gabriel Gunning ’19, of the Plymouth cohort. “By optimizing your site to compellingly tell the story of Plymouth 400 and clearly guide users toward the ecommerce site, all research shows your numbers will surpass the benchmarks.”
Michele Pecoraro, Executive Director of Plymouth 400 was sold. “We’re pulled in so many directions, that having the focus of this group has been invaluable to us,” she said. “This has been incredibly helpful for us to round out or retail strategy so that it meets the mission, vision, and needs of Plymouth 400 and our many visitors that we’ll welcome to the area this year.”
For team lead Christina Mallard, now that the capstone project has successfully wrapped, it’s time for her to apply what she’s learned to her role as assistant vice president of RCL Administration at Cape Cod Five bank. “This program will help me take a new perspective back to my current role,” she said. “It will help me build upon my career and bring it to the next level.”