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Why Pro Bono?
Here are ten reasons nonprofits embrace pro bono service.
1. You Need a Strong Voice
A successful nonprofit must be heard in an increasingly noisy world, engaging a broad range of stakeholders. Pro bono resources can help nonprofits create key messages, visual identities, brand strategies, websites, print collateral, and more.
2. The Best Nonprofits are Doing It
Some say pro bono is only for failing nonprofits who can't afford to pay for services. Gerald Chertavian of Year Up says those people "suffer from a severe lack of imagination." Year Up operates with a staff of over 300 people and an annual budget of over $40 million, produces overwhelmingly successful program outcomes, and has twice been voted one of the top 15 nonprofits to work for in the US. And they've been pro bono believers since the beginning.
For more great pro bono stories, see:
3. Build Leadership, Support Talent
We are the people sector—and great people require great investment. Pro bono projects help nonprofits build the systems, training and infrastructure to get the right board members, employees and volunteers into the right roles.
4. Generate Significant Corporate Support
Companies are more likely to become donors if their employees are deeply engaged in your mission. Companies like Deloitte, for example, favor their pro bono partners over other grantees when it comes to providing significant financial support. Learn more about pro bono in corporations.
5. Build a New Board Pipeline
When an executive works with you as a pro bono consultant, she gets more connected to you, faster. If she then joins your board, she comes to the table already deeply engaged and knowledgeable about your organization, and pro bono consultants often take on the most critical board leadership roles.
6. Take Control of Measurement and Management
High-performing organizations track their programs and outcomes and constantly adapt based on their learning. Measurement systems are expensive to build and maintain, but pro bono resources can make such systems affordable to even small nonprofits.
7. Get Your Share of $15 Billion
Each year, more than $15 billion in pro bono services is donated to the nonprofit sector—roughly four times the corporate cash giving total. Marketing and PR professionals, for example, donate 623,000 hours per year. Management analysts donate 746,000 per year. Software engineers and programmers, database administrators and HR professionals donate close to 1 million hours per year each. Are you getting your piece of the pie?
8. Deal with Complexity
The nonprofit sector is becoming increasingly complex, from technology to communications to programming. A nonprofit team needs to reflect this complexity. But few organizations can carry staff with deep expertise in every area. When resources are limited, pro bono services can bring top-tier expertise to support in-house talent with a wide range of skills.
9. Grow Professionally
Working with professionals who are outside your bubble will help you question your assumptions and redefine what is possible for you and your organization.
10. Now you have help
"Taproot was remarkably able to transform pro bono service from an unreliable solution into one that hundreds of nonprofits count on every year. This book finally lets the rest of us in on the secrets behind how they have made it work."
Jeanne Bell, CEO, CompassPoint Nonprofit Services; Chair, Alliance for Nonprofit Management