Over the next few months, Director of Programming Carol Guttery will be contributing a series based on Making Pro Bono Work: 8 Proven Models for Community and Business Impact, a white paper released by Taproot identifying multiple unique ways that organizations can adapt and deliver pro bono service to address a variety of social issues and business goals. She will be spotlighting organizations that successfully exemplify each of the eight models.
What do Shark Week and nonprofit’s needs have in common? More than you might think. The same creative minds at Discovery Communications who routinely scare us with sharks, pit Man against Wild, and bust our myths are offering their creative marketing skills to help nonprofits.
Yesterday, Discovery presented the results of their first (hopefully annual) Discovery Impact: Creating Change pro bono event. Discovery was motivated to develop this event after seeing the success and employee passion demonstrated during their global volunteerism campaign. They were also inspired by new models of service being promoted by Taproot Foundation. They wanted to build a program that would encourage teamwork in their creative services department while also developing a platform for those employees to use their professional skills in service to nonprofits.
The event itself engaged 200 marketing and creative employees in a 12-hour pro bono marathon. Nonprofits applied to participate in the event, and they were offered a social media strategy and training session as well as opportunities to develop Web sites, promotional materials, PSAs, and other marketing campaign work. The list of forty participating nonprofits have really leveraged Discovery’s specific expertise in animals, science, and our global world; in fact, some sound like they could be an actual Discovery Channel program: Hero Dogs, Icing Smiles, Polaris, Bikes for the World, and KaBoom.
This model of service is called a Marathon, and it’s really taking hold. Our blog archive includes a description of the Nerdery’s Overnight Website Challenge. We also applaud the efforts of Riggs Advertising and their CreateAthon. These marathon pro bono events are characterized by the pooling of talent into a concentrated timeframe designed to deliver a mass of pro bono work to nonprofits. This model has the benefit of delivering a large volume of work and is optimized for nonprofits needing tight turnarounds. It also provides a lot of fun team-building for the participants and, as with both the Nerdery and Riggs, can give the sponsoring company an opportunity to build partnerships among their peers.
This model is also optimized for caffeine-fueled, sleep-deprived, crazy-creative types who thrive on the adrenaline rush of a tight deadline. So, if that describes you, we hope we have inspired you to consider your own marathon pro bono event. Red Bull anyone?
Carol Guttery is the Director of Programs at the Taproot Foundation.