1. Why Pro Bono? Why Taproot?
Can I use a Taproot Foundation project to build new skills?
While learning is part of every process, these engagements are not designed to be direct skill-building opportunities. We ask that you work within your existing professional skill set in order to deliver the highest quality service to our nonprofit clients. This means that we will only select you for roles that align with areas in which you have at least 3-5 years of professional experience.
I've never worked with a nonprofit before. Is that okay?
Yes! Many of our pro bono consultants do not have experience with nonprofits. We find that many professionals are invigorated by their experience with Taproot and welcome the opportunity to apply their skills in a new industry. In fact, many pro bono consultants continue working with local nonprofits after their Taproot Foundation project is completed.
How long do the projects last? How many hours per week?
Our projects last approximately 6-8 months, during which each consultant donates about 100 hours of pro bono service, or an average of about 3-5 hours a week. The actual time spent each week, however, can vary depending on the role and the pace of the project.
Are there networking opportunities associated with being a pro bono consultant?
We work with thousands of professionals like you. Before you join a project, pro bono consultant orientation is a great opportunity to meet your peers.
After attending orientation, you get access to community features on our intranet, which enable you to interact virtually with our entire network about topics related to pro bono service. You can also join our LinkedIn groups to stay in touch with other pro bono consultants and continue to get updates about ongoing Taproot work.
Finally, working on a Taproot Foundation project is a great opportunity to interact with the consultants on your team and the staff of your nonprofit client.
We also try to facilitate networking events from our local offices; check out your local office for more information.
Why should I do pro bono?
Pro bono is a way for you to utilize your skills for the public good, to support your community, and to help an organization meet its mission more effectively than it could without you. It feels good and it makes a difference!
Pro bono work can also be a way to use your skills in a new setting (cross-training!) and connect with other professionals also interested in doing great work for the public good.
Why is Taproot Foundation the place to do pro bono?
Taproot has been leading the way for pro bono for more than a decade. Our model has proven successful, engaging thousands of business professionals in pro bono every year and supporting more than 1,000 nonprofits since our start.
Where does Taproot Foundation get its funding?
We are a 501(c)3 organization with two key funding streams: foundation grants and revenue from consulting projects with organizations that want to learn about, support, or do pro bono service.
Some foundations fund us by project, sponsoring a group of projects for their existing grantees. Other funders provide general operating support. We are also supported by corporations, associations and individuals. For more information about our sponsors, please visit the Partners Page.
How much of the work is done remotely?
You must attend an in-person orientation to become an active pro bono consultant. Once you are staffed on a project, the frequency of in-person meetings depends on your team. You can, however, expect to meet in-person at least once a month.
What's the best way to refer others who want to do pro bono work?
Thanks for your recommendations! This is a great way to talk about the work you’re doing, get others excited to get involved as well, and to expand your impact.
Please refer interested individuals to our online application. If you would like specific language to include in a company/alumni/trade association newsletter, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll send you the appropriate information.
Why do I need to fill out a pro bono consultant profile?
Your pro bono consultant profile enables our recruitment team to accurately assess your skills and experience, and potentially match you with an appropriate role on one of our projects.
What pro bono consultant roles do you have available?
We offer a range of pro bono consultant roles in HR, strategy, IT, marketing, and project management, from associate-level through senior account management. Read about consulting opportunities.
Do I need to submit a portfolio of my professional samples? What should I include in my portfolio?
If you are applying for a Graphic Designer or Copywriter role, it is mandatory that you submit a portfolio. We prefer you include a link to your most current portfolio during the application process and include samples most applicable to Taproot Foundation projects (brochures, annual reports, websites, logos, and key messages).
For web developers, it’s also great if we can see past websites you have built so we can ensure we match up your skills with the right nonprofit needs!
You may also e-mail your portfolio to email@example.com.
I don't live in Downtown Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, New York City, or Washington, DC. Can I still volunteer with Taproot Foundation?
Because you are required to attend in-person meetings, you must live in or near one of our currently serviced metro areas. As a general rule of thumb, if you live within one hour of LA, San Francisco, Chicago, NYC, or DC, and are able to meet in person once a month, please apply!
I have over 5 years of professional experience and an excellent resume. Why was I turned down?
We get many impressive applicants who simply don’t fit the roles we’ve scoped, and because we strive to deliver the highest quality consulting services to nonprofits, we only staff projects with individuals whose professional experiences match the specific skills needed for each role.
In addition, we sometimes have too many applicants for a certain role, and out of respect for your time, we will temporarily turn you down.
I'm not a fit for your project types. Are there resources available to join the pro bono movement?
Yes! Beyond our Service Grant program, we also offer resources for those interested in joining and leading the pro bono movement. Please learn more about what is happening in your profession by visiting Pro Bono in Professions.
3. Pro Bono Consultant Orientation
Do I have to attend the in-person orientation?
Yes. Our 1.5-hour orientations are essential to setting you up for success in your work on a Service Grant.
What can I expect to learn at the orientation?
Lots! You’ll learn about our processes, tools, and nonprofit clients. You’ll get to know Taproot, how we operate and how you fit into our work. You’ll hear about successful pro bono projects and how you can use your skills to make a similar impact. You’ll also meet like-minded professionals and our Taproot Foundation Program Managers, who can support you in your work.
Can I start a project before attending the in-person orientation session?
No. The in-person orientation is a key part of becoming a pro bono consultant.
Can I bring a friend to orientation?
Because of security constraints at some of our orientation locations, each attendee must complete the application process first. Your friend can start by filling out a profile.
How many people attend an orientation session?
Depending on the city, attendance ranges from 15-40 people.
Is there a dress code for orientation?
No, but many people will be coming from work and will therefore be dressed in business or business casual wear. Taproot staff leading the sessions tend to dress business casual.
Is there food at orientations? Can I bring food to the orientation?
We try to provide snacks at orientations, but you are more than welcome to bring your own snacks, drinks, or meals (particularly if you know you’ll be hungry!).
Uh oh. I missed my orientation. Can I still volunteer?
Yes! We really hope you make it to your scheduled orientation because spots for the next orientation can fill up fast, and the sooner you get to orientation the sooner you can join a project! Sign in to taprootfoundation.org, go to your Taproot profile page, and choose the next date that works for you.
4. How Projects Work
Will I be staffed on a project right away?
After you attend orientation, you will be eligible to join a project. However, Taproot awards new projects to nonprofits quarterly, so depending on when you attend orientation, you may not be staffed on a project right away. At orientation, you’ll learn more about how – and when – you can join a project.
Can I select the nonprofit I want to work with?
We do our best to ensure that you have the opportunity to work with a nonprofit that fits your interest. Typically, our lead consultants (Account Directors) will reach out to you with potential projects, but you can also look for projects on your own. After orientation, you can log into your Taproot profile, review the projects that are staffing now or soon, and let the Account Director know you’re interested in working on that particular project.
What happens after I contact an Account Director about a project?
Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee placement on a project. But if you let an Account Director know you’re interested, she will follow up with you to talk more about your fit for the team. In some cases, she’ll tell you that the team has already been filled. If that happens, don’t fret! More projects will be staffing soon, and you can express interest in as many of them as you’d like.
How big are the nonprofit clients? How does the Taproot Foundation pick which nonprofits to work with?
We look at three primary sets of criteria for all Service Grant applicants:
Basic Eligibility: We have established a set of basic eligibility criteria. Rarely, if ever, will we consider applications from organizations that do not meet all of these.
Institutional Strength and Readiness: When we review applications, we consider an organization’s overall health, need for the Service Grant, and their ability to support the grant at this particular time.
Quarterly Criteria: We offer Service Grants every quarter. In any given quarter, there may be variation in the availability of particular Service Grants, nonprofits served, or geographical coverage.
To learn more, see our Grant Criteria page.
Who will be on my project team? Can I select my teammates?
A pro bono consultant team consists of approximately four to seven pro bono consultants, each assigned a specific role based on their professional expertise. The lead pro bono consultant, called an Account Director, is in charge of staffing the team at her discretion. So, unless you are an Account Director, you cannot choose your teammates.
Who manages the projects?
Each service grant has a team lead, called an Account Director, whose role is to staff the team, manage relationships, and keep a bird’s-eye view of the project. The Account Director also checks in with a Taproot Foundation Program Manager about the status of the project.
You'll learn more about the specific roles on the project at the in-person orientation session.
Can I be on more than one project at a time?
The scope of the Account Director role enables those pro bono consultants to manage more than one project at a time. Aside from that role, we typically recommend that pro bono consultants only commit to one project at a time.
How can I ensure the project stays within scope?
Each service grant type is guided by a blueprint that includes a defined scope and timeline, and each team has a trained and experienced Account Director who keeps the team on track. Additionally, a Taproot Foundation Program Manager checks in regularly on a team’s progress. But in general, everyone on the team should strive to stay focused on the project scope and the associated timeline. Staying on track is a team effort!
Will I be reimbursed for my travel or parking expense to attend in-person meetings? Is my volunteer time tax deductible?
Unfortunately, Taproot cannot reimburse anyone for gas mileage, parking, or other related travel expenses for trainings and meetings.
Although you cannot currently deduct the value of the time and services you provide, some out-of-pocket expenses related to your work with the Taproot Foundation may be deductable. See IRS Publication 526 on Charitable Contributions for details. Please note that the tax code is complex and constantly changing, so you should always check with the IRS or an accountant to ensure you are taking the correct deductions. For example, the mileage rate for volunteer expenses is lower than the mileage rate for a Schedule C expense deduction.
Do people ever stay on to work with a nonprofit after the Taproot Foundation Service Grant is completed?
In many cases, yes! While Taproot doesn't regulate any commitment beyond the scope of a Service Grant, many pro bono consultants build such a strong connection to their nonprofit client that they want to keep working with them. Many people have joined their nonprofit client’s board of directors, staff, or longer-term volunteer teams.
Can I use the completed project in my professional portfolio?
Of course! Many marketing or web pro bono consultants include the finished product from their service grant in their creative portfolio. We also encourage you to submit your finished projects for design awards. Other consultants also find that project descriptions are a good addition to their resume.
Please be aware that ALL work executed on the project for the client belongs to the client and that the client is not required to recognize the photographer, designer, etc. in the final product.
My project closed. Can I get involved in another?
After completing a project, our database will automatically put you into the pool of pro bono consultants eligible for a project. We've had pro bono consultants come back for more than 6 projects! When you receive a project follow-up email from Taproot, make sure to let us know you still want to be an Active pro bono consultant.
I have an updated resume and I'm interested in being re-assessed. Who do I contact?
If it's been a couple years since you signed up and you feel your experience has changed enough to be eligible for a different project type or pro bono consultant role, please e-mail the recruitment team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to attach your updated resume.
Are there full-time employment opportunities with the Taproot Foundation?
The Taproot Foundation is often looking for talented individuals to join our team of dedicated employees. Check out our current openings.
5. Technical Questions
I lost my sign-in information. What do I do?
Visit the sign-in page and click on the link that says, "I forgot my username or password."
What are the supported browsers for the pro bono consultant application?
Before you start your Pro Bono Consultant application, please make sure you use a browser we support:
IE 6.0+ - 7.0+ on Windows
Firefox 2.0+ on Mac, Windows
Safari 3.0+ on Mac
I want to change the email address (or photo, resume, etc.) attached to my profile. Who do I contact?
If you would like to change details in your profile, you can log in and change it at your convenience. If you want to update a new resume and/or portfolio for consideration, e-mail email@example.com. If you need assistance logging in, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.