Supply and demand in the pro bono marketplace
The laws of supply and demand suggest that a state of equilibrium is created when the supply meets the demand at an acceptable price for the goods and services being offered. But how does that work in the pro bono marketplace? In this context, the direct ‘price’ of the service is $0. We know from our own experience and Deloitte’s ’09 Impact survey that the nonprofit demand for pro bono is high. And those same experiences tell us that the supply of willing and able pro bono consultants is also high. The low ‘price’, high supply and high demand should be creating a marketplace of massive scale. And yet, nonprofits tell us that they still have difficulty finding skilled volunteers.
Pro bono accessibility
One challenge is enabling the nonprofit to gain access to potential pro bono consultants who have the specific skills needed for a particular project. Most systems for identifying skills, tracking of individual interests and activities and nonprofit project requests have been disconnected, making the recruitment process laborious at best.
Taproot has been working with Microsoft and other partners to develop a standardized taxonomy which will help to facilitate the identification of willing, highly skilled volunteers and the process of matching professionals to relevant nonprofit projects. Current progress on this project can be found in our Volunteer Profile Standards content.
We have also been engaged with VolunteerMatch on this work and are very happy to report that they have incorporated these standards into their new Listing Wizard. This is a major upgrade to their nonprofit listings interface and it’s designed to help organizations more easily recruit skilled volunteers. The new offering is now live on their website and online training on the new tool is also available.
“It’s great to be working with Taproot on this as a leader in the space,” said Greg Baldwin, president of VolunteerMatch. “Now we’re eager to adopt these standards to make them more relevant to the entire sector.”
We encourage our nonprofit partners to take full advantage of these new services. And we appreciate VolunteerMatch’s efforts to help create this marketplace for pro bono service.