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Raising Pro Bono

July 13, 2012

(Aaron Hurst is the president and founder of the Taproot Foundation, a national nonprofit organization that makes business talent available to organizations working to improve society.)

WeHeartProBono_Med_SizeEvery year, professionals donate over $15 billion in pro bono services, from marketing and legal help to strategic planning support. That’s four times the amount donated by corporate foundations every year. And it’s a resource that every nonprofit needs to tap if it wants to realize its full potential.

This post is part of a new series designed to help your organization learn how to get its piece of the pro bono pie. Every month, my Taproot colleagues and I will share tips and insights into how to scope, secure, and manage pro bono resources that can help your organization get the support it needs to thrive.

Over the last ten years, the Taproot Foundation has not only provided pro bono services directly to nearly two thousand nonprofits, we’ve been hired to design pro bono programs for a range of leading companies, from Deloitte to Capital One. In the posts that follow this one, we will draw on that experience to provide insider information that helps position your organization to strategically leverage these resources.

We are also working hard to get more companies to create pro bono programs that provide donations of high-quality professional services to nonprofits like yours. Inspired by President John Kennedy's historic call to members of the legal community to use their professional skills in the battle for civil rights in the 1960s, I lobbied President George Bush in 2008 to create a parallel challenge to the business community, asking them to use their skills to help the nation in a time of critical need.

The result was the Billion + Change campaign, which was launched by Jean Case, co-founder and CEO of the Case Foundation and chair of the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation. Billion + Change has already secured pledges of $1.8 billion in formal pro bono resources for nonprofits from more than two hundred companies, and it aims to reach five hundred companies over the next eighteen months.

In my next post, I’ll focus on the most common forms of pro bono service offered today by companies looking to support the nonprofit sector and make a difference. In the meantime, be sure to visit our Web site for more information on how to donate your skills pro bono, find pro bono resources for your organization, or to learn more about the growing pro bono marketplace.

-- Aaron Hurst

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