It has been three weeks since I last made a post and those three weeks were intense. To start with I had the chance to attend the National Conference on Volunteering and Service in Chicago. This event gathered around 5000 people from across the USA to discuss volunteering in the USA and worldwide. Besides nonprofits, foundations and representative of the administration I was amazed by the number of corporations that were present. My first session introduced me to the Billion + Change campaign. This campaign already has 200 corporations signed up to pledge to deliver pro bono services valuing 1.8 billion USD. Having started only 4 years ago, I think this is an amazing number. Another session introduced me to the Readiness Roadmap , which Taproot helped to develop with partners like Points of Light , Common Impact and Capital One in 2011. The collaborative came together to identify, organize and share resources that will help the nonprofit sector be ready to engage in and benefit from pro bono professional services. Altogether, I was thrilled to see that pro bono took such a prominent place.
From Chicago, I flew to Berlin where I delved deep into the German pro bono market. Generally, volunteering is big in Germany with about a third of the population engaged , though it tends to largely be hands-on; pro bono still has a long way to go. There are, however, several growing efforts to engage professionals in pro bono service on the local and individual level. One of our most notable meetings was with the Hamburg based NGO “Start Social ” that started in 2003. Based on a competition model, Start Social reaches out to nonprofits across Germany and awards them with pro bono professional services. Still, there is a lack of a formal structure, an overarching intermediary that can be contacted by individuals, nonprofits and corporations that wish to participate in the pro bono marketplace. I had two dozens meetings with the various stakeholders from different sectors and all of them were thrilled to learn about Taproot’s model. Replicating it in Germany is a necessary and important next step in driving social change in Germany.
For the know-how on corporate pro bono connect with us. We’ll walk you through getting buy-in from your company’s leadership.
Armin Pialek is the first Fellow in a pilot joint venture between Taproot and the BMW Foundation. He is working to first bring pro bono to Germany, and then to replicate the model to engage Fellows to develop pro bono with Taproot and the BMW Foundation around the globe.