We’ve all had full-day meetings where the energy simply dissipates by 2 p.m., leaving an unavoidable midday slump. Nothing could have been further from the truth at the two Pro Bono Marathons this past October, led by Taproot Foundation and Prudential Financial. Each Prudential Pro Bono Marathon was a one-day event where carefully selected Prudential employees were paired based on their areas of expertise with nonprofits facing critical challenges in human resources, business strategy, or financial management. These employees cleared their calendars to use their business skills, pro bono, to diagnose and address their nonprofit partners’ challenges and leave them with tangible solutions that could be implemented at their organizations.
Although this was the first time Prudential has organized full-day Pro Bono Marathons with its employees, it has long been invested in strengthening the local communities in which they work. These Marathons were timed to kick off October’s Pro Bono Week 2016, an annual global campaign that celebrates and activates pro bono service across all professions using their talents to make a difference. Hosting these two pro bono events is just one of the many ways Prudential leverages its assets to do good.
Pro Bono Marathons consistently enable nonprofit organizations to better serve their target audience by addressing key strategic or operational challenges. For example, take KNOX, Inc., a local organization in Hartford, Connecticut that uses horticulture as a catalyst for community engagement. Due to recent funding shifts, KNOX wanted a business strategy to turn its landscaping workforce development program into an additional source of revenue. It was a complex challenge that required cross-functional expertise from its team of Prudential employees. Over the course of five hours, the team studied the organization, analyzed its market, created a framework for evaluating a new fee-for-service business, and outlined an outreach strategy to generate new leads. Ryan O’Halloran, director, Advancement and Marketing at KNOX, Inc., admitted, he didn’t know what to expect going in, but I left with literally tens of thousands of dollars of impact, thanks to my Prudential team’s expertise.
KNOX, Inc.’s experience is not an anomaly. Prudential teams delivered across the board: over the course of the two Pro Bono Marathons, Prudential consulted 13 nonprofits, engaged 52 employees, and produced solutions that nonprofits report will improve their ability to carry out their missions. More than half of the participants anticipate major revenue increases, as well. Vincent Santilli, CEO of Homes for the Brave, an organization that supports homeless veterans, explained to the group how much access to these experts meant, saying, “What we do next is a critical decision for us. Having this analysis is really valuable and I couldn’t more grateful.”
Prudential employees were also energized by their ability to contribute substantially in such a short period of time. Jana Fallon, Prudential’s vice president of Executive and Leadership Development perhaps captured it best, “The striking ah-ha moment for me was recognizing that we don’t have to know the answers. We can add tremendous value by simply asking the right questions. I hope we can refresh that spirit in ourselves–that curiosity, that willingness to not need to know the situation we’re going into–and have the confidence that we can and will add value just by giving it our attention. Events like the Prudential Pro Bono Marathons empower corporate employees to use their skills in a new and fulfilling way, and provide nonprofit leaders with expertise they often don’t have the resources to access.