In Munich today, 100 people are joining the BMW Stiftung (Foundation) for an event on pro bono service . It is the first of two large events in Germany this week to kick off a partnership between Taproot, BMW Stiftung and Phineo to inspire the pro bono movement in German-speaking Europe.
When we met two years ago I told Markus Hipp, Director of the BMW Stiftung, that pro bono is such a natural fit for the German culture. It is about process, infrastructure, professionalism and quality – the traits we associate with the German people. It is no surprise that as we introduce pro bono to Germany, the response is overwhelming.
New pro bono programs are popping up all over Germany like mushrooms (great image that Armin Pialek used to describe the phenomenon). These programs are still very nascent and largely volunteer – in fact most are less than a year old. They include: Talents4Good , goodact , profundev , kompetenzen verbinden , Gute-Gesch??fte , Sozialer Funke , Talent Spender , Wirkung hoch N , Start Social and Re-frame .
Like in the US, we are also seeing traditional volunteer organizations beginning to embrace pro bono service. Yesterday I met with Reinhard Lang, the founder of UPJ, the corporate volunteerism leader in Germany and they are eager to make pro bono core to their work.
This is happening at exactly at the right time as the Germany people are revising their social contract given their economic realities. The government remains at the core of the nation, but it is increasingly calling on business and the third sector to pull more weight. It is pro bono time here in heart of Europe.