The BMW Foundation’s 17th Transatlantic Forum opened today on day 2 of the Global Pro Bono Summit. Responsible business leaders from Germany, Canada, and the US across the human resources, design, and IT sectors joined the Global Fellows in a full day of discussions on the global movement, focused on the question of how pro bono services can not only benefit nonprofit organizations but the providing companies as well.
The creative and inspiring work-space of the Impact HUB in San Francisco set the tone for a lively expert panel featuring Aaron Hurst, Taproot Founder; Jonathan Copulsky, Principal of Deloitte Consulting; Meg Garlinghouse, Head of LinkedIn for Good; and John Cary, Curator of Autodesk Foundation. Fellows and leaders together with the panelists dissected the issue of how to get both recipients and providers to truly understand pro bono and what that pro bono global movement means across the cultural divide.
Building a global movement
Meg shared with the audience that LinkedIn understands there are hundreds of millions of people worldwide who are willing to volunteer; the next step is getting those people to understand pro bono. As for the cultural divide, the gap is surely closing. Deloitte’s most recent Annual Impact Day involved 60% of its professionals worldwide, and according to a recent LinkedIn survey, India had the highest percentage of respondents equating volunteer experience with job experience. These facts, along with the presence of pro bono supporters from around the world, led Meg to respond to a question about building a global pro bono movement:
“It is mind-blowing that each of you are in the room right now. Each of you are building that global movement.”
There are hundreds of millions of people worldwide who are willing to volunteer. The next step is getting those people to understand pro bono.
In the afternoon, all Summit participants descended upon the city by foot to visit seven local nonprofits that are also pro bono champions. Groups visited Taproot service grant recipients Children’s Creativity Museum, CounterPULSE, Enterprise for High School Students, Goodwill, Hospitality House, Jewish Vocational Services, and Women’s Initiative for Self Employment. The nonprofits shared their pro bono experience and, to the surprise of the visitors, sought on-the-spot pro bono advice from the fellows and leaders. What did the participants learn from the nonprofits? The driver of each of the successful pro bono engagements was proper scoping of the project and full engagement of the nonprofit staff.
The night ended with groundbreaking “construction” at the Pro Bono Gala with Golden Gate Bridge as the backdrop to the Presidio Insitute. Liz Hamburg, Taproot’s President and CEO, announced the kickoff of development for the Taproot Foundation Online Marketplace, one year after discussions first began at the 2013 GPBS. Donning Taproot yellow hard-hats, Liz thanked the pro bono providers in the room for their support and vision: “We’re excited to break ground on this critical platform, and we are so grateful to our peers and partners from around the world for inspiring the marketplace and collaborating with us since last year’s Summit on how to use this platform to leverage our collective impact on the sector.”