We’ve asked corporate and intermediary leaders who participated in Taproot Foundation’s Global Pro Bono Summit to share the insights that they took away from their experience. This convening encouraged participants to develop a shared vision to make the talents and skills of the business community accessible to organizations working for our collective good. First up, Stephanie Cuskley, CEO of Npower.
I’m still energized from spending a day with a bunch of passionate pro bono pros! About 50 of us gathered for the first annual (we hope!) pro bono summit sponsored by BMW, Taproot and HP. The summit was another great idea from the ever creative Aaron Hurst and his Taproot team. Bottom line I was amazed at all the interesting things happening around the US and the world in the area of pro bono.
My key takeways from the day.
- There are people advocating and facilitating pro bono in pretty much every city in the country. In addition to Taproot and our own NPower/The Community Corps here in NYC, I was impressed with BVU Center for NonProfit Excellence in Cleveland, Common Impact in Boston, and Benetech/coding4social good in San Fran just to name a few. This was the first time many of us had actually heard of, let alone met, each other. Imagine what we could do if we leveraged our efforts by sharing networks, platforms and best practices?!
- Even more interesting, the same is true around the world. At the Summit we heard from India@75, Service Grant Japan, Pongamole from Brazil, and Passerelles & Competences and Pro Bono Lab from France, again just to name a few. It would be such a waste of scarce resources to see us all recreate the same wheel – but thanks to the summit that’s less likely to happen!
- We all agree we need to figure out what that wheel (or wheels) should look like. What is most scary – and most interesting – about the pro bono space is that we haven’t yet defined the platform and operating model – what all the pieces should be and how best to fit them all together. No doubt there will be a few different models but regardless of the model, technology will be key to making it work as it must be globally scalable yet simple to use and it must appeal to both our nonprofit clients as well as the companies and volunteers we work with everyday.
Thanks to Taproot, BMW, HP and everyone who planned and attended the Summit for taking this first big step.
Stephanie Cuskley is the Chief Executive Officer of NPower. Appointed in early 2009, she brings more than twenty years of diverse management, organizational development and leadership experience to her role.