A new study from the Taproot Foundation shows just how important pro bono service has become in the nonprofit community and how this form of giving is actually a win-win for both the corporations and your nonprofit. Taproot’s mission is “to drive social change by leading, mobilizing, and engaging professionals in pro bono service.” The Foundation’s recent annual and global event, “Pro Bono Week” (Oct. 19-25) reinforced that pro bono services may be the perfect opportunity to spare your budget, while still getting quality services from various industries.
According to Giving in Numbers: 2014 Edition (a report from the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP), pro bono service is a growing trend in corporate America. More companies are merging it into their volunteer programs as another way to engage employees while investing in their communities.
“By including pro bono as a core element of our Global Leadership Development Program, we have immediately multiplied the impact of our investment by building the capabilities of our future leaders while leveraging their unique skills to strengthen our community giving overall,” said Jamie Armentor, assistant vice president of MetLife’s Global Learning and Development.
CECP characterizes pro bono service in the these ways:
- Commitment: The company is responsible for staffing the project, ensuring its completion and quality, and applying the highest professional standards to the engagement.
- Professional Services: Participating employees must use their core job skills as specified in their official job descriptions. Projects that utilize only a portion of an employee’s core competencies are considered volunteerism rather than pro bono service.
- Indirect Services: All services must be provided through a 501(c)(3) organization or an international equivalent.
The CECP report found that companies offering pro bono services tend to increase their cash donations as well. Most people think of financial or legal services when hearing the phrase “pro bono,” but (for the first time) every industry was represented in the report, which means there is diversity in who is giving and the way in which they are giving, with the 2013 median value of pro bono services being $300K.
A few corporations known for their pro bono components are American Express, Adobe, and Deloitte, who is committed to giving approximately $110 million worth of pro bono services to nonprofits. So, think big when creating your nonprofit’s in-kind/pro bono wish list, and Powered by Pro Bono: The Nonprofits Step-by-Step Guide to Scoping, Securing, Managing, and Scaling Pro Bono Resources is a book on the subject that is definitely worth a read!
Additional information on this topic:
About the Author: A reformed fashion addict, Aloma Arter now spends her time writing, walking her dog, beating her grandmother at Scrabble, and seeking awesome adventures. She holds a BA in Media and Professional Communications from the University of Pittsburgh (and a certificate in Community and Corporate Relations).