This profile is part of our series highlighting early- and mid-career professionals who choose to support their communities by donating their time and skills pro bono. Read more about next gen philanthropy and how rising professionals are giving back through pro bono instead of their wallets.
For this profile we interviewed Devon Harvey, an Investment Banking Associate with four years of experience, about his pro bono service and why he chooses to donate his time and expertise.
Why Devon Chose to Try Pro Bono
Devon has a strong financial skillset that nonprofits everywhere need but often struggle to afford. Nonprofits operate on small and specific budgets, are often understaffed, and face the sort of challenges that would be best handled by dedicated, qualified experts. The finance and data analysis skills that Devon uses every day are precious and rare to have available on staff in the nonprofit world, so donating them pro bono has far-reaching impact. “If I made a financial donation to a nonprofit that needed services I could provide, they’d be taking that money and paying a consultant to do work I love doing. I’d much rather provide them with that service by doing the job myself.”
No stranger to volunteering time and energy to help his community, Devon recently he began lending nonprofits his professional skills pro bono through his employer and Taproot Plus. What prompted the change? Devon shared that volunteering in his area of expertise is especially rewarding for him because he’s providing a specific, advanced service for the greater social good. “I read the news a lot for work and come across many stories of injustice and inequality,” Devon told us. “My line of work isn’t directly helping disadvantaged communities, so I like to spend time outside of the office trying to do my part.”
Giving Back in 2020 Through Pro Bono
Earlier this year Devon participated in his very first pro bono project, a Taproot program hosted by his employer. The goal of this long-term team project was to develop a comprehensive pitch deck for Latinas On the Verge of Excellence (L.O.V.E.). L.O.V. E’s founder spoke about her organization clearly and passionately, but she didn’t have a deck to present for fundraising opportunities and potential clients. The project was very important for L.O.V.E.’s growth prospects, and the volunteers could easily see how much of a difference a quality deck could make. The volunteer team also helped create a data management framework to help L.O.V.E. kick off a data collection and analysis program. Using that data, now L.O.V.E. can make their case to potential supporters by quantitatively proving the positive impact they have on their community.
For Devon, and for many professionals like him, pro bono service can be a great opportunity to stretch skills and connect with coworkers while giving back. Devon shared that seeing the impact of his team’s work made a big difference to him, “That experience really encouraged me to pursue pro bono further.” After wrapping up his first project, Devon began pursuing pro bono opportunities through Taproot Plus, our online platform that connects business professionals with nonprofits in need of their skills.
Through virtual volunteering opportunities on Taproot Plus, Devon has been able to donate his financial advisory and basic accounting services—two specialties that are in demand, especially during the ongoing crises. “All the organizations I’ve seen have amazing missions and are run by inspiring people, so I try to find opportunities where my abilities can provide the most value.” In the future Devon plans to continue sharing his finance and data experience with nonprofits, and hopes to develop his knowledge base so he is able to assist on business development topics as well.
Devon’s Advice for Professionals and Their Employers
As Devon’s pro bono experience shows, rising professionals can make incredible contributions to social good causes—even if they don’t bring in a large paycheck. Devon also pointed out that from a company’s perspective, pro bono is a great way to boost employee engagement and collaboration, as well as demonstrate their commitment to social impact. “Together we can achieve so much good by leveraging our industry expertise for nonprofit projects. A few hours a week can really have a transformative impact.”