American Express Serve2Gether Consulting FAQ Page

Welcome to the American Express Serve2Gether Consulting Challenge frequently asked questions page on GlobalGiving. American Express, in partnership with Taproot Foundation, has partnered with GlobalGiving to invite selected nonprofits to apply to be a part of the Serve2Gether Consulting Challenge.


What is the Serve2Gether Consulting Challenge?

The Serve2Gether Consulting Program supports American Express' commitment to strengthen the social sector by deploying American Express employees to provide pro bono (no fee) consulting to nonprofit organizations and social enterprises. Conducted on an annual basis, the Consulting Challenge matches American Express’ top talent with meaningful marketing, strategy, and capacity building projects to help you explore a specific challenge or opportunity area for your organization. If selected, your organization will be among 45 NGOs to receive consulting from a team of American Express professionals over a ten week period – beginning in early April 2016. Selected organizations must commit staff resources of 3-5 hours per week to work with their assigned consulting team. At the end of the engagement, American Express teams may be invited to compete for seed funding grants for your organization to begin implementing the recommendations developed by your American Express team.


What types of projects are a good fit for American Express volunteers?

American Express employees are ready to help address the business challenges listed below:

Marketing & Outreach

    • Key Messages & Brand Strategy: Succinctly articulate your mission, describe programs/services, and develop differentiated positioning from your peer organizations.
    • Digital Marketing Strategy: Determine how you can best utilize digital channels (e.g., mobile, search engines, blogs, and social media) and digital marketing to achieve your objectives.
    • Building Customer Relationships: Develop strategies to deepen your relationships with existing clients/audiences to further engage with your organization.
    • Targeting New Audiences: Develop strategies for targeting important new clients/audiences and successfully engage them in your work.


    • Financial Strategy: Improve your financial tracking or modeling approach. The team will suggest improvements and/or create new tools for budget tracking, cost analysis and/or forecasting.
    • Peer Benchmarking: Map your competitive landscape by creating a set of detailed profiles for a select group of peers.
    • Opportunity Analysis: Develop a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis to provide an in-depth look at the overall environment in which you operate or a specific organizational opportunity/challenge.

People Management/Human Resources

    • Human Resources Capacity Build: Assess your HR and talent management capabilities to define the right approach to link improved HR practices to your broader organizational goals.
    • Performance Management: Identify HR strategies to increase productivity by setting target goals and managing staff progress.


When is the Challenge?

The Consulting Challenge takes place annually, during a ten week period beginning in April and ending in June.

Organizations should be prepared for a more time-intensive collaboration with American Express teams during the first half of the Challenge as the team gains an understanding of your organization and needs. In the second half of the program, the American Express team will be doing more brainstorming and reaching out to your organization for feedback; as a result, the commitment from your organization will be less time-demanding.


Who is eligible?

We are recruiting participants for the 2016 Consulting Challenge from the following regions: Toronto, Canada; Mexico City, Mexico; London, United Kingdom; Delhi, India; Hong Kong; Singapore; Sydney, Australia; Salt Lake City, USA; Phoenix, USA; Fort Lauderdale, USA; New York, USA; Washington DC, USA; Philadelphia, USA.


What if my organization is not located directly in the city where you’re recruiting?

While the majority of the work and meetings will take place over phone or email, we’ve found that it’s very important that there are at least 1-2 in person meetings. If you’re based outside of a city and are able to commit to traveling to the city 1-2 times over the course of the 10 week project, you are eligible to apply.


Can an organization submit more than one application?

Yes, if there are several project offerings that your organization would be interested in, you are able to submit several applications. Please limit the number of applications submitted to three and indicate your preferences by noting 1st, 2nd, or 3rd choice on the application. We look for a diversity of project offerings in each region so it is helpful for us to know if several projects interest you. While you can apply for more than one project offering, only one would be rewarded per organization in a given city. However, if your organization is based in multiple cities, each region is able to apply on their own and we are able to work with the same organization in different regions.


Do organizations need to be GlobalGiving members to apply?

There is no requirement that organizations be a member of GlobalGiving to apply for the Consulting Challenge. However, at the end of the engagement, American Express teams may be invited to compete for seed funding grants for your organization to begin implementing the recommendations developed by your American Express team. These grants will be distributed through GlobalGiving’s platform, and membership would be required at that time to complete those transactions.


Do organizations have to be of a certain size?

There are no requirements or restrictions on the size of the organization. Throughout this program, American Express volunteer teams have worked with small start-up organizations as well as large established organizations. The requirement is that the organization have the resources to work effectively with their volunteer team and be able to commit the staff time of 3-5 hours per week to devote to this project.


What is the application process?

The application period opens in November and concludes at the end of January. It consists of a 2-4 page PDF download that applicants can complete at their convenience. The application will ask for your basic organization information, such as your annual budget and number of full-time staff, as well as 10-15 questions to understand how American Express' projects can help your organization achieve its mission. Detailed application instructions will be posted starting November 24th.

Applicants are encouraged to submit all documents by January 15th to allow for communication with the American Express team.

Please apply here: www.americanexpress.com/probono


What are some tips for the application process?

Don't be scared to share your weaknesses! This program is designed to help organizations improve on specific issues. The more information your organization can provide on your needs, your previous experiences with these needs, and your organization's openness to addressing these needs, the easier it is for American Express to assess your application.

Again, organizations are encouraged to submit applications by January 15th to allow American Express to contact you with any questions. 


Who should you contact at GlobalGiving if you have questions regarding this opportunity?

Please contact Jacky Lee at jlee@globalgiving.org or (202) 232-5784.

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