For corporate pro bono practitioners, telling your story is critical.
By communicating effectively about your pro bono programming, you can promote your company’s social good initiatives both internally and externally. Those efforts can help elevate your company’s brand or position in the field—that’s the power of a good story.
But this guide is about more than just building brand and reputation. It’s about leveraging stories as a way to get C-suite buy-in for your initiatives. It’s about sharing stories that inspire employees to engage in your programs and become exceptional doers of pro bono. And it’s about telling the story of your program’s impact on the communities you serve so that you can continue doing work that makes a difference.
We at Taproot Foundation have picked up some tips and tricks for impactful pro bono storytelling over the years. With some help from our friends at Edelman, VMware, and Morgan Stanley, we’re sharing insights we’ve gleaned from our experience with both pro bono programming and strategic communications. Our goal is simple—to equip practitioners with the skills they need to tell powerful stories that move the field forward.
The challenge with pro bono storytelling
Many companies struggle to tell their pro bono stories, and for good reason.
- Pro bono is still a relatively young field, with no blueprint yet for storytelling. While pro bono is one of the fastest-growing types of corporate volunteer programs, many companies are still just starting out. Telling a story of impact can be challenging with little to report back on so far and no widely used framework to guide the process.
- Pro bono practitioners may not have access to the communications tools, resources, or support they need. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Human Resource (HR) professionals may not have communications staff members on their program teams, or they might not have developed strong relationships with their Marketing and Communications department.
- The communications landscape can be tricky to navigate. There are more channels for information-sharing today than ever before. We’re constantly inundated with messages, promotions, news, and more. That influx, along with a general lack of trust in institutions like the media, makes reaching the right audience a unique challenge.
Taking a step-by-step approach
Given all of these barriers, it’s no wonder it’s so difficult to craft and share compelling stories about pro bono. As the field grows and matures, though, companies are investing more and more in storytelling, and they’re beginning to share their lessons learned. In this resource you’ll find not only a step-by-step approach on how to develop your own pro bono communications strategy, but also case studies from two companies bringing their stories to life.