Big business, small business, for-profit and not-for-profit, they all face their organisational challenges. From being overstretched to not having enough time or budget, it can be difficult to achieve company goals and maximise full potential. When it comes to resources, often referred to as ‘headcount’, many companies don’t have access to specialised individuals or experts who will help their business to succeed. Without these specialists and their niche expertise, few companies can tackle critical issues facing society, such as the environment, health and education. Pro bono service, defined as donating one’s specialised expertise to a profession or association in need for public good, has evolved and developed far beyond its legal profession roots. Pro bono service is now the fastest growing form of corporate volunteerism worldwide, and offers a platform for businesses and professionals wanting to give their time and expertise to mentor local businesses and address real community and social needs. It’s a practise that fosters mutual respect, trust, and a commitment to a cause.
Pro bono service is great on so many levels. For starters, it lets employees know what kind of company they are working for and helps to expand and deepen a company’s network and role within the local community. Learning how to make a professional impact with little or no budget is an amazing feat, and therefore pro bono service helps to raise a business’ profile in a positive way among existing and prospective clients. For employees, being involved in pro bono service can provide an opportunity for professional development by keeping skills relevant and up-to-date in new settings and environments. It reinvigorates a sense of passion and commitment to the job allowing an opportunity to leverage skills built through specialist careers and it provides a source of personal satisfaction and pride. For both business and individuals, pro bono service is rewarding, shows an appreciation of talent and time and fosters collaboration helping to engage employees in new ways of working together.
LinkedIn, the world’s leading professional network, has introduced pro bono work as part of its core social strategy. Pledge 1%, an organization which encourages corporations to share a culture of giving back to non-profits, suggests pro bono service can be done in many ways – through time, product or profit. Pro bono service is an expression of corporate culture and shows employees what you and they are about.
If you are a seasoned business professional with experience in marketing, strategy, HR, finance, or IT, and want to volunteer your skills for a cause you care about, pro bono service is the way to go. You have the power to help under-resourced businesses advance their mission by being the business talent these companies need to work better for society and achieve their strategic goals. Not only does pro bono service instill a sense of personal pride, but it should be part of every business’ strategy and culture on how interaction should be done within the community.