Boost your CSR ROI with Pro Bono

This week, October 25-31 2015, is Pro Bono Week, a global celebration of harnessing professional services for good. Inspired by the American Bar Association’s National Celebration of Pro Bono work, Pro Bono Week occurs the last week of October each year. Events take place all over the world from discussions on corporate volunteering in Moscow to Pro Bono Challenge days in Osaka and Indianapolis.

Pro Bono Week

Pro Bono is derived from the Latin word pro bono publico, meaning “for the public good.” Pro bono is a term for professional services provided at a low or no cost to the benefitting organization. In the United States, pro bono initially started as a service to qualify lawyers, but now it encompasses services such as legal, marketing, strategic planning, IT, and human resources.

Considering that pro bono service is valued at $150/hour as opposed to $23.07/hour for traditional volunteering, nonprofits gain tremendous value from pro bono and skills-based volunteerism programs. A 2009 Deloitte study indicated that 62% of nonprofits reported a need for pro bono support. A follow-up study provided by FTI Consulting and The Taproot Foundation identified the top areas of pro bono need:

1. Marketing

2. Board Member or Executive Search

3. Organization Design or Coaching

4. Financial Advisory or Consulting

5. Information Technology

6. Human Resources

According to CECP’s Giving in Numbers: 2015 Edition, pro bono is the fastest-growing employee volunteer program with 40% of companies offering pro bono in 2012 to 51% offering pro bono in 2014. This is great news, as pro bono not only positively impacts the non-profit organizations but also the corporations and their employees.

Through pro bono programs, corporations invest more powerfully in their communities. Employees build leadership and professional skills while increasing their creative thinking abilities. True Impact, a management consulting firm focused on helping corporations measure the ROI of CSR programs, noted that employees who participate in pro bono are three times more likely to receive professional development than traditional volunteering.

It’s clear that pro bono programs are a win-win-win for nonprofits, corporations, and employees, but how do you develop a pro-bono program within your corporation? In addition to collaborating with your most passionate employee volunteers and nonprofits first, there are several resources available to you as volunteer coordinators:

1. A Billion + Change

A Billion + Change is a movement to encourage all businesses to offer pro bono programs. In less than twoA Billion Plus Change years, A Billion + Change inspired over 500 companies delivering over $2 billion in pro bono volunteerism. Join them in their mission to inspire 5,000 businesses to conduct pro bono programs.

Take the pledge to provide your employees with pro bono and skills-based volunteerism programs. Review their resources to learn how to develop a pro bono program.

2) PYXERA Global

PYXERA Global is a non-profit organization dedicated to facilitating partnerships between corporations, non-profit organizations, and public service organizations. PYXERA Global partners with corporations in designing global pro bono programs which boost the professional abilities of participants while creating shared value for communities.

Who is doing pro bono right?

Deloitte offers pro bono and skills-based volunteering to their employee base. Over the past four years, Deloitte employees completed over 1,000 pro bono projects. Furthermore, Deloitte’s Center for Leadership and Community gathers non-profit professionals to discuss areas of concern and develop skills which further their missions.

83% of their pro bono clients report more than a 20% improvement in productivity due to the project.

Pro Bono Deloitte City Year

Want to learn more?

  • Check out our #GDGShares episode on skills-based volunteerism.
  • Read our VP of Strategic Partnerships’ favorite way to volunteer.
  • Check out the Pro Bono Week website for the entire global event listing.

Pro bono programs provide immense value to non-profits, employees, and corporate groups. This week, consider how a pro bono program will elevate your volunteerism programs and expand your corporate citizenship efforts.

Happy #PBW15!