About ACT Projects

Learn more about ACT project types, roles on projects, and ACT’s project cycle. Discover what suits your background, availability, and interests. The rewards are many - make an impact on a nonprofit you care about, learn new skills or hone existing talents, connect with GSB colleagues, and have fun!

Project Types

ACT projects take two forms: Fast Track or Full Team or something in between. These project types vary in scope, team size, time commitment, and project duration. In addition to volunteering on a project, there are other roles volunteers can take on as highlighted below.

Project Type Project Scope Team Size Project Duration Estimated time Contribution
Fast Track Focused, specific organizational issue
  • 1-3 volunteers
2-3 months
  • 25-30 hrs total/person
Full Team High-priority organizational challenge involving strategy or management
  • 5-8 volunteers including 1-2 project leaders
6 months
  • Team member: 3-4 hrs/ week
  • Project leader: 5-6 hrs/ week

ACT Roles

There are nine roles for ACT volunteers; six are open to all GSB alumni and four require previous ACT project experience (noted by *). time commitment, and project duration. In addition to volunteering on a project, there are other roles volunteers can take on as highlighted below.

Full Team Member Engage as a team of 6-8 alumni to define and analyze the client issue and make recommendations. Projects focus on a variety of issues such as strategic planning, finance, operations, growth strategy, earned revenue assessment and marketing, over the course of approximately 6 months.
Fast Track Team Member Address a specific, focused, high-priority client issue as a team of 2-3 over a period of 2-3 months. Projects focus on a variety of issues such as developing recommendations for transitioning a board from reactive to proactive.
Project Lead (*) or Associate Lead or Co-Lead The project lead/associate lead/co-lead role is critical to the success of full team and hybrid projects. Leads guide the project process from beginning to end, working with the project screener and client to determine project scope and desired outcomes, coordinating the efforts of the team, and ensuring that client representatives and team members are engaged throughout the process. Being an associate lead to an experienced lead is a great way to learn the ropes. The co-lead role is for volunteers who want to share the work and the fun.
Expertise on Demand Volunteers who are available as needed to step in and help a project team on a specific issue. Recent examples include digital marketing and market research. Project scope ranges from a few hours to a bigger time commitment, depending on the volunteer’s interest and availability. To volunteer for this role contact Dave Olson.
Project Screener (*) Work with clients who have applied for ACT’s help to guide, scope and screen projects, then hand the project over to the ACT volunteer team. Screeners commit to working with at least 2 clients in each project cycle (twice a year) and must have previous ACT project experience. To learn more contact Steve Bowling.
Screener Advisor for Organizations Committed to Racial Equity ACT is reaching out to organizations committed to racial equity where it would be helpful to have alumni of color involved in the project screening process. Screener Advisors work with experienced ACT volunteers so do not need previous ACT experience. To volunteer contact Steve Bowling.
ACT Committee Member (*) ACT welcomes support from GSB alumni in high priority areas as needs arise. Currently ACT is looking for volunteers to help with:
Regional Affiliate ACT Leader (*) Requires previous ACT project experience and a commitment to leading the charge to bring ACT to your region, interfacing with the community based organization in your area that will help source projects, engaging GSB alumni to serve on project teams in your area outside of the San Francisco Bay Area. Leaders will work closely with the ACT director and must commit to supporting the affiliate for at least 3 years. To learn more contact Susan Austin.
ACT Management Board Member (*) The ACT Management Board includes dedicated ACT volunteers and the GSB ACT director. Experienced ACT volunteers own an operational aspect of running the ACT program. The ACT Nominating Committee seeks applications for open positions each spring, via email. See Current ACT Management Board members and Leadership Opportunities.

Project Cycle

ACT projects are conducted in a twice-yearly cycle.


Apply for a Project (January & July)

  • Nonprofits inquire about ACT consulting
  • Project screener has phone conversation with nonprofit
  • Eligible nonprofits invited to apply

Develop the Project (February & August)

Project screeners meet with select nonprofits to:

  • Assure ACT can meet the client request
  • Clearly define project outcomes

Project Begins (March & September)

  • ACT recruits volunteer consultants
  • Project leaders meet with client to develop work plan
  • Team meets with client and begins its research and analysis
  • Full teams present findings to date in mid-course review (June & December)
  • Fast Track engagements conclude (June & December)

Complete the Project (September & March)

  • Final report: team presents recommendations to client management and board
  • Consultants and client complete online evaluation

Assess the Project (October & April)

  • 12-month follow up: project leader and team reconnect with the client to assess project impact
Alumni Spotlight
Fast Track Consultant, Stanford University, MBA Admissions Office II
MBA 2010

"ACT brings together all the best aspects of a Stanford GSB project: good humored and enthusiastic colleagues with strong analytic skills and a meaty problem to solve."