For corporate pro bono practitioners, telling stories is critical. By communicating the impact of your pro bono programming effectively, you’ll promote your company’s social good initiatives both internally and externally. Those efforts can help elevate your company’s brand and position in the field—that’s the power of a good story.
But this guide is about more than just building brand and reputation. It’s about leveraging stories as a way to get C-suite buy-in for your initiatives. It’s about sharing stories that inspire employees to engage in your programs and become exceptional doers of pro bono. And it’s about telling the story of your program’s impact on the communities you serve so that you can continue doing work that makes a difference.
We at Taproot Foundation have picked up tips and tricks for impactful pro bono storytelling over the years. With some help from our friends at Edelman, VMware, and Morgan Stanley, we’re sharing insights we’ve gleaned from our experience with both pro bono programming and strategic communications. Our goal is simple—to equip practitioners with the skills they need to tell powerful stories that move the field forward.
Case Study: Morgan Stanely
Morgan Stanley strives to be an ambassador for change in the communities where its employees live and work, and giving back to those communities is a core value at the Firm. The communications efforts of the Community Affairs team—where their pro bono programming lives—allow the company to tell this important story of impact. Whether it be the marque Firmwide pro bono program, Strategy Challenge, which brings together rising talent to help nonprofits solve strategic challenges, or more targeted division led opportunities, the Firm has a range of communications channels to deliver its most impactful message.
The success of the team’s pro bono storytelling is deeply rooted in the long-standing relationships they’ve cultivated company wide. They are a partner and a client of the company’s Corporate Communications department, which encompasses internal, digital, and external communications efforts. With both functions rolling up to Corporate Affairs, this integrated partnership is natural. Joan Steinberg, Managing Director and Global Head of Community Affairs at Morgan Stanley, said, “In order to fully tell your pro bono story, your communications partners need to constantly be updated on your efforts. Keeping them in the loop is critical.”
Steinberg also noted the importance of strong support and investment of resources from key leaders in the organization. “When business heads identify telling pro bono stories as a priority, there’s action.”