“Pro bono publico” is a Latin phrase meaning “for the common good”. Pro bono, or skill-based volunteering refers to the voluntary engagement of people who share their skills for free or nearly free with individuals or organizations who cannot access these skills, or who pursue a social goal. People can choose to support a non-profit organization or a person in need for example on their own free time, but some companies also offer their employees to participate in pro bono activities during their working time.
Pro bono can be defined using these criteria:
Pro bono work is led in a professional way, and beneficiaries expect professional services.
Pro bono involves skills. The beneficiary is lacking one or several skills that the pro bono provider can bring.
Pro bono serves the common good, meaning it can be used to support a social change/non-profit organization or a person who cannot access these skills because of money or their location etc.
The pro bono service is provided without compensation by the beneficiary. However, it requires some investment by the beneficiary in terms of time and human resources. Some pro bono service providers make beneficiaries pay a small fee. However, it does not compensate for the time spent on carrying out the service.
Pro bono is based on free choice. Those participating (both the provider and the beneficiary) are involved because they have agreed to.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF PRO BONO
- Global Pro Bono Network shifts its structure to a 'de-centralized model' to realize sustainability and autonomy
- The first Global Pro Bono Summit was held in New York
- 'Billion + Change' surpasses its billion dollar pledge goal
- An online pro bono market place was launched with LinkedIn
- Taproot begins consulting with companies to build programs
- CECP adopts the Pro Bono hour value
- AIGA's 5% pro bono goal was set.
- Taproot lobbies the White House to create a 'Billion + Change'
- The first Pro Bono Summit is held
- CNCS estimates Pro Bono at $15 Billion
- Pro bono is proven scale-able and reliable across fields
- Pro bono goes global with Service Grant, Tokyo
- Taproot launches to scale pro bono beyond the legal profession
- Public Architecture launches the 1% Program (1+)
- PBI launches the corporate challenge
- CreateAthon is started
- ABA amends a law school accreditation to require pro bono.
- PBI launches the law firm challenge
- Standford GSB launches the Alumni consulting team
- Tulane Law School is the first to adopt pro bono
- ABA adopts the "50 hours" pro bono rule
- Business Volunteers for Arts was founded
- Executive Service Corps was founded by David Rockefeller
- JFK challenges lawyers to enforce Civil Rights laws
- The Ad Council was founded
THE KEY BENEFITS OF PRO BONO
Pro bono is a valuable tool for social sector organizations as it provides them with access to a wide range of professional services which may not otherwise be available, and overall supports them to further achieve their goals. Professionals have an opportunity to make a valued contribution towards a social purpose from which they can gain experience and satisfaction. Employers as well have an effective means to fulfill their social goals, and develop employee programs in areas such as management and training. It is through these unique pro bono exchanges where new connections between people and organizations are also made.