Meeting a pro bono hero
Last week I met an amazing pro bono consultant. Not only has he already completed 8 projects with Taproot over the course of 5 years, but he has also worked on a study about the business value of pro bono and become an advisor to the Pro Bono Lab – an effort similar to Taproot in France. As a pro bono advocate in both the USA and France, he is a great supporter and advisor for the new international program that Taproot and the BMW Foundation are setting up.
He has been also integral to the development of a new strategy to attract more talent into the pool of pro bono consultants. The individual that is engaged is center stage at any pro bono engagement. So far Taproot has placed 3500+ pro bono consultants on service grant projects with nonprofits. But there are certain criteria that they have to meet, experience level in marketing, technology, HR and strategy, for example. There are also geographic limitations. Obviously this limits the amount of possible consultants and makes an outreach strategy important. I like that Taproot uses pro bono consultants internally to expand operations, showing that they are increasingly “walking the walk.”
Checking out a Taproot webinar
Finally, I attended last week’s webinar held by our advisory services team. The webinar, part of a regular series, was about corporations and how they can maximize the impact of their pro bono efforts by increasing nonprofit readiness. In general, readiness is enhanced when a nonprofit is in the position to independently scope, secure and manage pro bono resources. In other words, a pro bono project is most likely to be successful when the right project – with clearly defined goals and scope – as well as volunteers with the right expertise for the job are chosen. Project management is also a crucial component. Once a nonprofit is ready for a pro bono project, their requests will be more informed, making it easier to secure pro bono resources and reduce the amount of troubleshooting required. By prioritizing nonprofit readiness, corporations can also really make it matter.
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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.