I just read the Deloitte Community Involvement annual report that included a description of their amazing work for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 2004 in the wake of the tsunami. The UNDP was apparently overwhelmed in its efforts to disburse aid and ensure assistance reached those in need after the tsunami in Indonesia. Their systems simply couldn’t handle the outpouring of support from around the globe. Deloitte provided 60 consultants across six member firms to work for over seven months and provide over 14,000 hours of consulting help for the UNDP ($5 million in pro bono services). The consultants made recommendations on business and operations processes, as well as financial controls to strengthen the capacity and accountability of the UNDP.
In a word–wow. That is the kind of compassion, smarts and commitment that all companies should use to set the bar. It also illustrates that while financial contributions are critical, without the systems to leverage the funds, the value is diminished. In this case, these pro bono services were likely much more valuable than Deloitte just writing a check for $5 million. Right cause. Right time. Right investment.