By Armin Pialek, Taproot and BMW Foundation Project Manager
San Francisco, more than any other city in the world, stands for technology and innovation – both of which can deeply leverage impact for nonprofits. This week I want to draw attention to a very powerful collaboration between the Taproot Foundation and LinkedIn. As the largest network of professionals in the world, LinkedIn has access to millions of highly trained individuals willing to support nonprofits pro bono. Using the professional network to find skills of direct or indirect connections, nonprofits are now able to source pro bono resources independently. Clearly, it is much easier to approach someone that you know than it is with complete stranger. LinkedIn helps to overcome that barrier. Talking with my friend Claudia Lei’ner – from the initiative for pro bono in Germany – she took the idea a step further asking – how great it would be to not only search the skills, but also the willingness of individuals to do pro bono?
Such as every week, my adventures also take me on a journey around the world. Through Markus Hipp, I connected with David Hardie from Inspiring Scotland. Founded in 2008, their mission is to improve the lives of the most disadvantaged in Scotland. One example is a program for teens between 14 and 19 that is meant to bring 35,000 out of 56,000 teens into employment once they complete their education. Inspiring Scotland follows a venture philanthropy approach, where grant making goes hand in hand with non-financial support to leverage the impact of nonprofits on the ground. As part of their non-financial giving, Inspiring Scotland started matching professionals out of their own network to do pro bono projects for the 80 nonprofits in their portfolio. Performance advisors at Inspiring Scotland work with about 6 to 8 nonprofits and match professionals out of their own network of 180 pro bono consultants across different sectors. Using pro bono resources proved so successful that even nonprofits that were not Inspiring Scotland grantees started requesting pro bono support. Now Inspiring Scotland is designing a process to ensure high quality service while they scale their pro bono program. I am confident that the global pro bono network can support them in that process.