A framework for strategic corporate pro bono program design
Submitted by Taproot Foundation
Here at the Taproot Foundation, we are excited to see such rapid adoption among some of the largest and most influential companies in the world. This progress means that more and more nonprofits are getting the capacity-building support that they need to confront challenges in areas like marketing, strategy, HR, and IT. All this makes for stronger social sector organizations that are better equipped to face the most pressing issues of our time.
Now that pro bono is becoming a more common practice among companies, Taproot sees an opportunity to share our strategic approach to pro bono program design with the field. Since many companies have spent the last few years getting their pro bono initiatives off the ground, they are now able to step back, reflect on what they’ve accomplished, and explore what’s next. They are in a position to ask themselves: How can we be more strategic about our approach to pro bono service programming? How can we refine our pro bono service programs or create new ones to achieve the highest level of impact? A strategic approach to program design will help us take the field to the next level – and will ultimately do more good for the social sector.
INTRODUCING THE PRO BONO SWEET SPOT
We’ve learned a lot over the years about what makes a corporate pro bono program successful, and one thing has been proven true time and again: the most impactful programs are those that are uniquely tailored to fit a given company. With this in mind, we’ve developed a handy framework for helping companies hone in on their own unique opportunities to make an impact in the social sector through pro bono service.
The Pro Bono Sweet Spot is a framework that recognizes that the corporate sector is rich with diversity across a variety of characteristics, such as organizational culture, skills and expertise, attitudes towards volunteering, and more. Long story short, each company is unique, and therefore needs a tailor-made pro bono program in order to maximize its distinct opportunity for impact.
The Pro Bono Sweet Spot framework asks companies to consider four key factors – unique at each company – that will affect their programs’ impact. A company’s pro bono sweet spot is the area where the social impact they want to have, their available skills and expertise, the business objectives that matter most to them, and any contextual information or constraints overlap. This approach has the power to take corporate pro bono to the next level.
The Taproot Foundation is the provider of pro bono services to the nonprofit sector. It works to engage the country's millions of business professionals in pro bono service, building the infrastructure of organizations we rely on to strengthen and support our communities. Their pro bono model leverages the best practices of leading professional services companies to deliver reliable and quality marketing, human resources and technology services using corporate employees. Since 2002, the Taproot Foundation has recruited over 3,500 business professionals to awarded over $12 million in pro bono services to nonprofits in New York, Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area.
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