How Can Pro Bono Benefit Your Company?
With the advance of civil society there has been an increasing trend for companies to extend their operations beyond core business interests, into other areas that engage with the social and environmental concerns of citizens and customers. Company employees, clients, shareholders and investors are similarly now considering these factors also before associating with an organization.
To meet these changes, many companies initially developed Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategies, but then later realized the programs could be better suited with their business aims by approaching CSR and philanthropy more as a beneficial opportunity rather than simply as a cost.
Pro bono offers practical opportunities for companies to benefit in areas such as management, innovation and brand reputation, while overall bringing mutual ‘win-win-win’ benefits to all of the participants involved. These include the building of capacity for the social sector organizations and pro bono service providers supporting them as “intermediaries”, of which in collaboration with a companies pro bono program, can altogether work towards achieving shared social goals.
In the fields of management and human resources, pro bono is an effective framework that is able to be applied in the professional development of employees, and the practicing of team building, collaboration and leadership skills. Employers can further use pro bono for appealing to current and future employees who seek organizations and their professional work to additionally have a social purpose – so helping to engage, retain and attract personnel, particularly among younger generations. Employees may also become ambassadors of the pro bono programs, who can then articulate the organizations work culture and social values to the public. Pro bono gives staff the opportunity to work with social sector organizations and make a valued contribution to their activities from which they then gain a unique experience and personal satisfaction. It is through these exchanges where new connections between people and organizations are also made.
Pro bono programs have the potential for companies to introduce high impact CSR strategies that strengthen relationships and improve communication with its various stakeholders. The results of these activities can then benefit the brand visibility, recognition and reputation of a business by generating positive public relations through media coverage of various kinds. This may also bring commercial advantages towards building client relationships and increasing customer interest.
Innovation is another useful area where pro bono can be of benefit to companies, as it helps to form stimulating work environments where employees can boost their motivation, creativity and productivity. Organizations may further use these environments to introduce changes such as different ways of thinking and updated training schemes, or to encourage a more entrepreneurial work culture. And in some cases there may be business prospects whereby products or services that are originally developed to meet social needs, later crossover into new or under-developed markets.
Pro bono is therefore a highly effective way to invest valuable employee time and expertise to leverage professional development, Corporate Social Responsibility and positive social impacts.
Collaborate with us
Our Network was started in 2013 by its founding partners, BMW Foundation – Herbert Quandt and Taproot Foundation, and specializes in the co-ordination of pro bono projects, often in close partnership with companies. For organizations interested in discussing a collaboration, please contact a regional member organization or us directly via our contact page.