Originally Published on 3BL Media.
Taproot Foundation and True Impact, with support from Mastercard, demystify how to measure pro bono’s impact in a new paper released today in celebration of Pro Bono Week.
Companies want to do good for their nonprofit partners through their pro bono programming. But, many companies know that they need an improved approach to social impact measurement to better assess the value of their services.
Taproot Foundation and True Impact recognized the lack of pro bono program measurement standards and common confusion over how to measure the effects of pro bono service. Together, with support from Mastercard, they demystified this issue by developing a practical guide for corporate social responsibility (CSR) professionals. This new resource will help corporate pro bono practitioners seize opportunities to better tell the story of their impact on the nonprofits they serve, validate their investment, and continuously improve their offerings.
Why the evaluation of pro bono programming matters
“We’re excited about this guide for corporate pro bono practitioners because it takes the mystery out of knowing what to measure, how to measure, and why it matters,” said Catherine Ward, National Director, Advisory Services at Taproot Foundation. “We want to raise the bar on what pro bono is doing for our communities and proper evaluation of our programs is the way to get there.”
Companies typically evaluate pro bono programs by capturing data points, such as the number of volunteer hours logged or the number of employees engaged. However, when companies focus on capturing outcomes, they will be better equipped to understand the extent to which their pro bono investment improves nonprofits’ ability to carry out their missions.
“We want to know that our pro bono efforts are truly helping our nonprofit partners become more efficient, effective organizations,” said Susan Warner, Vice President of Worldwide Communications at Mastercard. “While having energized employees is a positive result, this new guide will help companies better understand and improve future pro bono programs.”
Outcomes for Measuring Nonprofit Capacity Building:
1. Social performance: The pro bono intervention increases the effectiveness of the organization’s services or their ability to serve (reach) more beneficiaries.
2. Financial performance: The pro bono intervention helps increase revenues or reduce operating costs.
“A practical, outcomes-based measurement framework is key to ensuring accountability and continuous improvement for any initiative. This guide offers a simple and effective way to bring that to pro bono programs—to prove value, identify opportunities to do better, and align internal and external stakeholders,” said Farron Levy, President and Founder of True Impact.
This guide will help CSR professionals:
- Get beyond measuring the basics, like resources invested (inputs) or the services provided (outputs)
- Understand the benefits of measurement using the Nonprofit Capacity Building Logic Model
- Chart a course for how improving the way pro bono’s social impact is measured
About True Impact
True Impact is a web-based measurement tool and benchmarking network for the charitable sector. Donors and nonprofits use True Impact to measure the social impact of their grants, volunteerism, and other philanthropic investments, to demonstrate success and identify opportunities for improvement. www.trueimpact.com