Offering pro bono services facilitates positive symbiotic relationships between companies and local communities.
In order to keep their mission possible, local organizations and people may be in need of certain skills, but are unable to afford the professionals and resources required. By taking the initiative to offer a service pro bono, companies can lend their catered expertise at a discount, or without payment to give back to their local community and causes.
Doing pro bono work for an organization can open up unimaginable doors personally and professionally. Take the lead and read more below.
Pro bono vs. Volunteering
Although pro bono work can be taken on voluntarily, it does not necessarily fit into the typical volunteering role where experienced skills are valued, but not required.
Pro bono work is for a cause requiring unequivocal expertise. A non-profit needing an attorney would not hire someone without a J.D. An animal shelter needing cats spayed cannot have someone who isn’t qualified perform the surgery. A pro bono service needed cannot be performed by just anyone, which is why it would initially be costly to the recipient.
Benefits Company Expertise
Businesses are expected to constantly refine and expand their services to remain competitive. Pro bono work is a great opportunity to polish a fresh service in a low-pressure situation.
For instance, an organization may be in need of stained floors and other building repairs. A hardware store that trains new employees in home improvements could lend their services pro bono. Not only do employees receive hands-on experience, but the organization also does not have to pay for the time, materials and professional supervision. Both parties win.
It is also a great channel to develop new leadership skills among a business’s employees. Some work may typically be done by a senior lead, but a pro bono project may enable other employees to exercise leadership positions that would normally take years to achieve in a professional environment. Recent law school graduates may take on pro bono work for the benefit of work experience.
Contributes to the Business
If you do a service pro bono, you could link back to your service publicly. Depending on the type of work performed, it creates a chance for all parties to talk about the cause, as well as your involvement.
The recipient is more than likely appreciative of receiving help and could consider maybe advertising your services in return. Make coffee for a non-profit’s 5k? Ask to put banners throughout the race. Install a new fence? Put up a sign in the yard.
Word of mouth advertising is great too. The organization being helped may have connections to other clients who may want to enlist your services. It’s great company networking.
Newly established business could benefit from pro bono work because it could establish a positive and competent business reputation. It also is a chance to showcase your services to potential clients.
Contributes to the Common Good
Pro bono work is meaningful because it is done for the common good. This is a philosophy of collective community benefits.
Let’s think about this hypothetical situation: Perhaps a new business sells local produce to a community in need of affordable healthy food. The business owner needs help promoting their opening-day event. There may not be funds to enlist the help of public relations, but if a PR firm were to lend their services at a discounted price, the budding business may be able to afford it.
With the help of the PR firm, the event gains press coverage and acknowledgment from public officials. Not only is there increased awareness of the business, but also the mission to provide affordable produce could gain momentum in other communities.
For every cause there is an effect. By contributing their expertise, the PR firm positively helps the business, which in turn benefits a local community. The PR firm not only gets to contribute to a great mission, but the business wins too.
Ways to get involved
No matter what field your company is involved in, there is an organization or someone in need of your service. Offering services pro bono starts from within. Talk with your company to discuss pro bono opportunities. Be sure to discuss:
- Extent of services
- What valuable expertise can be offered?
- Does the company want long term or short term involvement?
- Can your company perform a service for free, or at a discount?
- How will employees benefit?