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Prepare Your Team for Pro Bono

September 04, 2012

(Aaron Hurst is president of the Taproot Foundation. The following post was adapted from Powered by Pro Bono: The Nonprofits Step-by-Step Guide to Scoping, Securing, Managing, and Scaling Pro Bono Resources, to be published later this month by Jossey-Bass. To read the previous post in Aaron's series, click here.)

Pro_bono_poweredYou just returned from a meeting with one of your largest corporate partners. In the meeting, you explored the possibility of your corporate partner doing a critical pro bono project for you in a few months. They seemed like they were pretty into it. Heading back to the office, you're fired up but want to make sure your staff is ready.

Here are three tips to prepare your team to be a great client for the pro bono engagement:

  1. Clearly define the connection of the project to your strategic plan and goals. Make sure you can make the case that it's a critical project for your organization.
  2. Identify who will be on your internal team and tasked with working with your corporate partner. Clearly define team members' roles and think about how you will recognize their work on the project, including the skills it will help them develop.
  3. Have your internal team meet and do a pre-mortem before the project kicks off.  Pre-mortems are a great way to expose team members' hopes and fears.

Much of the success of a pro bono project lies in how you prepare staff for the engagement. As with most things in life, what you get out of it is directly correlated to what you put into it.

Of course, companies also play an important role in getting their nonprofit partners ready for a pro bono engagement. If you’re a company looking for ways to get involved, check out our upcoming webinar on Nonprofit Readiness.

-- Aaron Hurst

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