Membership FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is pro-bono consulting?
  2. Who can apply to be a part of FCG?
  3. What kind of skills do I need to apply to FCG?
  4. What can I expect a project cycle to look like?
  5. Besides pro-bono consulting, what else does FCG do?
  6. What leadership opportunities are there for me at FCG?
  7. How does the membership application process work?
  8. Where does FCG operate from?
  9. When and how often does FCG meet?
  10. How much are membership dues?

1. What is pro-bono consulting?
Pro bono publico (English: for the public good; usually shortened to pro bono) is a Latin phrase for professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment or at a reduced fee as a public service. Pro-bono consulting at FCG just means that we do not receive any compensation for the consulting we provide to our non-profit and advocacy group clients.

2. Who can apply to be a part of FCG?
First or second-year Master of Public Policy students at the Frank Batten School of Leadership & Public Policy at the University of Virginia can apply for FCG membership. At this time we are not taking applications from undergraduates in the Batten School, or any of the other university graduate schools such as the Law School or Darden School.

3. What kind of skills do I need to apply to FCG?
FCG looks for applicants with a wide variety of strengths and talents. Many of our projects involve strategic thinking/planning and strong interpersonal skills. Experience with memo writing and Powerpoint is also a needed skill.

However, the vast majority of the skills our Consultants have are gained while on the job, working alongside clients and in project teams. The key skill/character trait we are looking for is someone who is willing to learn and develop practical skills while in the organization.

4. What can I expect a project cycle to look like?
No project looks the same and the typical consulting answer is – it depends. Project cycles last for roughly a semester. At the beginning of each term, Consultants submit their preferences for a menu of projects. The Membership Chair works to align people with their top choices (to the best that logistics allow). Those interested in leading projects submit why they should be selected to the Executive Board. The Board then makes these decisions and announces them to the general body.

Depending on the appointed Project Manager and the scope of the project itself, you may find yourself meeting with your team weekly, bi-weekly, or virtually as-needed.

5. Besides pro-bono consulting, what else does FCG do?
Other than working with our clients, FCG also hosts and sponsors a number of professional development events and supports the thought leadership of our students through the Formative Change Blog.

For our special events, depending on the type of event, we may open attendance to the general public. In the past, we hosted a very positively-received dialogue on race event, and may continue to lead these types of workshops in the future for the community. In any case, the best way to ensure your attendance spot is becoming a member of FCG.

As for our blog, any Consultant can submit a piece of thought leadership in the form of a blog post or article to the Executive Board for submission on our feature blog.

6. What leadership opportunities are there for me at FCG?
FCG Consultants are strongly encouraged to take up leadership positions within the organization. This can be in leading a project team and working as the primary point-of-contact between the team and the client directly, or it could be in running for an Executive Board position in the Spring when FCG conducts its annual elections.

7. How does the membership application process work?
The application is open for any and all MPP students at the Batten School at the University of Virginia to apply. It will close on January 30, at 11:59PM. From then, the Executive Board will meet and review each application. Those selected to join our team will be notified via email by Monday, September 14 with further instructions.

8. Where does FCG operate from?
FCG is based out of Garrett Hall at the University of Virginia at 235 McCormick Road, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4893.

9. When and how often does FCG meet?
While meetings will vary depending on the project team you are on, FCG meets as a whole at least once a month, usually on a Friday morning. Members are required to attend at-large meetings and attend at least two Alumni events (Speaker Series, Networking events) each semester. Between the at-large meetings and Alumni events, expect around two FCG meetings in addition to your scheduled project team meetings.

10. How much are membership dues?
There will be a one time membership fee for new members which will be around $20 and will cover costs for two years of active membership. Returning members do not pay the membership fee.

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