Starting in 2018, our San Diego office ZS Cares team kicked off their first pro bono consulting engagement, partnering with the Rady Children’s Hospital Foundation (RCHF)—a major non-profit in the local community.
Principal Jim—a lifelong San Diego native—helped connect the ZS Cares team with contacts at the hospital. After meeting with a number of stakeholders and learning about their needs, the ZS team proposed a nontraditional pro bono project that would leverage their collective consulting skills.
According to associate and ZS Cares team member Caroline, the goal was to evaluate the RCHF's current volunteer program and propose effective and meaningful volunteer opportunity alternatives that prioritized the comfort and safety of patients and their families.
Mobilizing the Entire Office
The San Diego team had never kicked off a consulting project without a statement of work, structured staffing or defined timelines, so they started out by leveraging past consulting projects.
The ZS Cares team outlined a rough, four-stage-approach which included benchmarking interviews with other children’s hospital foundations, immersion interviews with RCHF staff, “customer” interviews with corporate and community RCHF supporters and, finally, research synthesis and recommendations.
Before writing discussion guides and conducting interviews, the ZS Cares team held an office-wide brainstorming session at their annual offsite retreat. ZSers of all levels, from brand new associates to the regional managing principal, came up with innovative partnership solutions for small, medium, and large corporate groups. Their collective ideas served as the foundation for the ZS Cares team’s ongoing discussions.
Shortly after, the RCHF staff connected the San Diego team with relevant stakeholders across the organization. It became quickly apparent, however, that the four-person ZS Cares team would not have the capacity to moderate more than 30 qualitative interviews.
“We decided to encourage office-wide participation and, to our surprise, more than half of our 45-person office volunteered their time and skills,” said consultant Kristin, adding that the project gave several new ZSers the chance to “level up” and practice.
Creating a Proposal
After the interviews were complete, the core ZS Cares team worked to translate the research findings into insightful and actionable recommendations for the foundation, knowing that the goal of RCHF and its volunteers was the same: ensure patients are receiving the best possible care, and having the best possible experience.
Based on their interview findings, the ZS Cares team arrived at recommendations that focused on efficiency and balance, allowing supporters to have various levels of engagement with the hospital.
A Lasting Impact
Nine months after initiating the pro bono consulting project, the ZS Cares team shared their research and recommendations with 15 members of the RCHF and together, they discussed ways they could be successfully implemented.
In addition to establishing a connection with Rady Children’s Hospital, this project also set the stage for future pro bono consulting engagements in San Diego—and across ZS. “We learned so much about the life-changing work happening at the hospital, which made our volunteer experience even more meaningful,” Caroline said. Another rewarding experience? Seeing the entire office unite around a worthy cause.
To learn more about ZS Cares, ZS’s global corporate social responsibility program which encourages ZS people around the world to make a positive difference in their communities using their unique skills, visit zs.com.