Originally published on 3BL Media.
Taproot Foundation’s State of Pro Bono Service Survey shows that pro bono service helps nonprofits improve their organization’s effectiveness. Here’s how one Silicon Valley social services organization benefited.
This week, Taproot Foundation released findings from the 2016 State of Pro Bono Service Survey showing that 95% of nonprofit professionals report pro bono service improved their organization’s effectiveness. These improvements were cited most often in cost or resource savings, efficiency, and quality of operations or services. For Bryan Neider, CEO of Gatepath in Silicon Valley, pro bono resulted in actionable information and analysis to sharpen the strategic direction of his organization, without taking a toll on monetary resources.
Gatepath is a nonprofit that has been serving the Silicon Valley special needs community for 95 years. They offer a broad variety of programs, including early intervention and pediatric therapy services, as well as vocational training and employment services to foster greater independence for their diverse beneficiaries. In the face of a systemic funding crisis for Californians with developmental disabilities, Gatepath chartered an ambitious agenda to expand their services and increase collaboration with other nonprofits to meet critical demands in the region. To ensure Gatepath’s continued growth, they needed a comprehensive analysis of what services were available in the region and thoughtful recommendations from experienced strategists to inform their decisions.
Last year, Taproot Foundation connected Gatepath to a team of six pro bono strategy consultants. Over several months, the consultants took time to understand Gatepath’s mission, culture, and challenges, performed discovery interviews with key internal and external stakeholders, and compiled research and analysis on potential collaborators in their field.
“The quality of work done by the Taproot skilled volunteers was exceptional. Having worked with many large, top-tier consulting firms in my “for profit” career, I can confidently say, the Taproot skilled volunteer team was one of the best teams I’ve worked with. They were outstanding,” said Bryan Neider, CEO of Gatepath.
The impact of pro bono service extends well beyond the duration of the service itself. “In the current unstable funding environment we are seeing children and adults with developmental disabilities being cut off from services they need and that can’t happen. Expansion of Gatepath’s services is an imperative,” said Bryan. “With the work this pro bono team has done for us, we now know exactly what gaps exist in our services and have prioritized specific opportunities to act on so that Gatepath can better serve all people with special needs in our region and thrive as an organization.”
Pro bono service set Gatepath on a clear path toward achieving their mission to “turn disabilities into possibilities” for more people with special needs.