We typically encourage organizations to scope a project by starting with consideration of their strategic priorities. Doing so will anchor your pro bono efforts to the broader priorities of your organization. You can take this one step further by considering pro bono during your annual planning process and unlocking new avenues for your organization.
Consider these tactics to bring pro bono into your planning processes:
Think About Where Volunteers Fit In
Certain projects are a better fit than others for skilled volunteers. As you’re thinking through how you will operationalize your goals, carefully consider which initiatives are best aligned for a pro bono opportunity and plan accordingly as you design a plan to operationalize your goals.
Let’s say, for example, that you are a STEM Education nonprofit. One of your goals is to develop and commodify a customized curriculum in order to earn revenue and expand your reach. Developing the curriculum? Best suited for your staff, who are the experts in your field. Formatting the materials in your font and colors? Sounds like a good fit for an intern. Doing a market analysis to define a pricing strategy for the new product? There’s your skills-based volunteering project.
Check out examples of common and successful pro bono projects here.
Dedicate Time and Resources for Pro Bono
Identifying a pro bono initiative during your strategic planning process enables you to plan accordingly as you allocate your staff’s capacity and your budget for the year. Keep in mind, pro bono is not free. Plan for the dollars you’ll need to support the project (e.g. purchasing software) and the time your staff will need to dedicate to find the volunteer and manage the project.
Skills-based volunteering unlocks expertise and capacity often otherwise unattainable to social change organizations. Keeping pro bono in mind as an option while you chart out your organizational goals for the coming years may make those audacious goals feel slightly more attainable to your Board of Directors or the staff members you’re working to get on board with your vision.
Pro Bono Success Stories:
Research Center for Integrated Disaster Risk Management (CIGIDEN)