For 7 weeks now, I have been learning about pro bono services as a Fellow with Taproot. This week, I enjoyed stepping out of the office to listen to Aaron Hurst present at a meeting of the Organizational Design Network of New York. Speaking about the evolution of professionals and quoting different stats, Aaron showed how pro bono can help companies attract and develop talent. A survey among 11 business school for example, pointed out that graduates would sacrifice 14% of their salaries to work at a socially responsible company. Another study conducted by Gallup showed that engaged employees tend to have 16% higher profitability, 18% higher productivity, 12% higher customer loyalty and most astonishingly 60% higher quality. Those impressive numbers underline the huge potential of pro bono.
Most helpful for me though was the categorization of the different types of volunteerism and their respective impact. Firstly, there is hands-on volunteering (e.g. helping in soup kitchens) that gets many people involved but leaves relatively little impact as people are only creating short term change. Second are skilled volunteers, who use their general talents (e.g. tutoring), which creates slightly more impact than the previous type of volunteerism but engages fewer employees. Thirdly, pro bono consultants use their full cadre of professional skills for the benefit of a nonprofit; again, this engages still fewer people but creates a greater, more sustainable impact. Finally, board services are provided by the fewest number of people. However, they leave the biggest impact on a nonprofit. The Employee Engagement and Impact Magnitude figure vividly visualizes the following finding: Keeping the skills needed very basic means you can engage the greatest number of people. Inversely, the more volunteers use their skills the greater is the sustainability and depth of impact of the engagement.
Lastly, I wanted to share what a great time I had at the Make it Matter Party spreading the pro bono message to IT professionals. I want to thank everyone who made it happen, especially Morrison King and Yext for organizing and the CEO of Digital Broadcasting Group for hosting this amazing event.
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.