BYU Helps Nonprofit in Kansas City

PROVO, Utah – Feb 20, 2018 – While some students spent much of their Christmas break watching Hallmark movies, thirty-six Brigham Young University students were hard at work at the 2017 Alliance Management Institute, an annual, national nonprofit conference held in Kansas City, Missouri. 

“These students spent four days of their Christmas holiday in an unfamiliar city, doing challenging yet rewarding work,” says Brad Harris, experience design and management professor and director of the nonprofit management minor and certificate. “It met BYU’s initiative to provide experiential learning for our students. They met their peers from across the country, helped a nonprofit problem solve, and got a chance to practice what they learn in the classroom.”

As part of the conference, students were invited to compete in poster presentations that summarized undergraduate research dealing with the Alliance competencies, as well as research on best practices for the nonprofit sector and the nonprofit leadership student alliance. Since last fall, BYU students had been gathering research and preparing for this competition. The BYU group presented eight posters at the conference, with one awarded first place in the best methods category. 

The recipients of the first place award were Daniel Andersen, a political science junior from Kansas City, Missouri; Audrey Burton, a Spanish senior from Pasco, Washington; Cameron Helvey, a teaching social sciences senior from Morgan Hill, California; Brittany Sale, an economics senior from Loomis, California; and Samantha Woods, an international relations senior from Oklahoma City. 

“My group and I were honored to receive first place for our poster presentation, and we are excited to put our ideas into practice to help BYU students interested in nonprofit management,” Helvey says.  

On the last day of the conference, students served as consultants for the YMCA, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Kansas City Teacher Residency. In a six-to-eight-hour timeframe, consulting groups comprised of students from different universities across the United States were presented with a nonprofit’s problem, expected to find a solution, and then given time to present their findings to the executives.

“This experience taught me how to work on a team of diverse individuals with different strengths from all over the nation,” says Zach McKenzie, a sociology senior from Pleasant Grove, Utah, who consulted for the Kansas City Teacher Residency. “Consulting day was invaluable for me because I learned how to work with a team of strangers in an unknown environment. It prepared me for a real-world environment by doing work for a real nonprofit organization.”

Conference attendance is a prerequisite for the nonprofit management certificate. BYU students must also earn the twenty-one credits for the nonprofit minor and participate in a minimum of three hundred hours of nonprofit work. To learn more about the nonprofit minor and certificate, click here.

KC Nonprofit Conference
BYU nonprofit management minors attended the AMI national nonprofit conference to workshop with professionals, compete in competitions, and help the local KC social sector.
Liberty Jail
Students visited historical sites like Liberty Jail while in KC for the national conference.
Poster presentation BYU
BYU students Audrey Burton, Cameron Helvey, Brittany Sale, and Samantha Woods were awarded first place in the best methods category at the conference for their poster presentation.

Media Contact: Jordan Christiansen (801) 422-8938
Writer: Kelly Brunken