Taproot has long made the case that a strong corporate pro bono program is a triple win—nonprofits receive the support they need, companies build deeper relationships with their communities, and employees have the opportunity to apply their skills in new and meaningful ways. While there is a robust foundation of evidence supporting the claim that pro bono is a powerful social impact strategy, practitioners often struggle to articulate the business case for pro bono.
Through Taproot’s work developing pro bono programs across the corporate sector, we’ve learned that pro bono can help companies meet key HR objectives like attracting, retaining, and developing their employees. In this paper, we explore how pro bono practitioners can align their pro bono efforts with their company’s HR strategy to create shared value across the company.
Case Study: Prudential Financial’s PruBono Programs
Prudential has built a suite of pro bono programs offered annually, including a one-day pro bono marathon that provides intensive strategic support to local nonprofits as well as two long-term programs that match employees to local nonprofits and small businesses to provide consulting support over a three-month period. All three PruBono programs are designed as intentional leadership development opportunities and are run in partnership by Prudential’s Office of Corporate Social Responsibility and Talent Management Center of Expertise.
Prudential’s CSR team sought a partnership with their Talent Management counterparts from the very outset of program development, identifying colleagues who were passionate about the potential connection to pro bono. Once engaged, they established working sessions with their Talent Management partners to understand Prudential’s talent objectives, find opportunities for alignment, and establish shared goals. These touch points served to build rapport between teams and position pro bono as a truly shared talent development strategy.
In order to make the PruBono Programs a compelling and feasible investment, Prudential incorporated a focus on talent development that would provide a strategic value-add to the company’s HR initiatives. The CSR team prioritized engaging high-potential senior leaders and focused the talent development components of their pro bono program on key skills that weren’t addressed in other programs, such as agile thinking and comfort with ambiguity. According to Beverly Wallace, Prudential’s Vice President of Executive Development, the successful partnership between Prudential’s Talent Management and CSR teams stems from shared alignment on the firm’s overall business strategy, co-ownership of the PruBono programs, and integrated measures demonstrating impact on overall leadership development.