This is a part of Taproot’s series featuring resilient nonprofit leaders. Download the nonprofit resource, Building Resiliency Through Pro Bono, for additional project highlights and nonprofit case studies.
When thinking about organizations laying the groundwork for the future, look no further than Hand in Hand Parenting. Their nonprofit is dedicated to helping parents build resilient families by equipping them with tools and support. The Hand in Hand Parenting team developed their programs with a people first mentality putting compassion, warmth, trust, and collaboration at the heart of their work building thriving communities.
Big things come in small packages
Hand in Hand Parenting is a small social change organization with a reach and impact that’s anything but small. Their organization is made up of just six staff members, only two of whom are full-time, but in 2019 alone they reached over 4 million parents around the world.
Velma Gentzsch wears a dozen different hats in her role as Administrative Director of Hand in Hand Parenting. In her daily duties she oversees finances, HR, board relations, strategy, volunteer management, and program oversight. Velma and her team had considered using pro bono support for some time, but just didn’t have the staff bandwidth to commit to recruiting and managing volunteers. So when one of their board members offered to spearhead the initiative, Velma was thrilled. “We were finally able to jump in because we had a board member who could strategize about the projects we needed most, design the pro bono requests, and find the right volunteer to help.”
Investing in themselves
Velma and her team hit the ground running with pro bono by connecting with a volunteer for a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis project. “[Our volunteer] captured the challenges that we’re facing and has inspired us to conduct a full strategic planning process so that we’re well equipped to move forward in the coming years.”
But Hand in Hand did not stop there. The team decided to invest in their capacity even further by taking a comprehensive look at their programming with help from an expert volunteer. “The program evaluation [project] is the most thorough look we’ve had at our Instructor program, and while it’s one of our core strengths, several key factors were identified as things we need to change.” Since wrapping up these key infrastructure projects, Hand in Hand has built on the work to connect with volunteers for website design, HR, and fundraising strategy, strengthening their organization even further with the help of pro bono.
“So far this year, we’ve received over $100,000 in pro-bono services, accomplishing things that have been on my wish list for a long time, that I either didn’t have the skill, time, or money to do. ” – Velma Gentzsch, Administrative Director, Hand in Hand Parenting
The past year has led to nonprofits facing major shifts in fundraising, operations, and capacity. When asked how pro bono has helped Hand in Hand navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, Velma shared that it had been most effective in “helping them pivot” and called the impact “invaluable.” Small and scrappy organizations like Hand in Hand Parenting prove that despite countless obstacles, nonprofits have nevertheless found ways to meet the moment while investing in the future of their work.