Prepping Your Program for the Pro Bono Tech Volunteer (#12NTCProbono)


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Recruiting technology volunteers isn't just the domain of CTOs and system administrators - your organization's program staff should be thinking about pro bono tech needs too.

That's because program managers are often able to view tech needs from the perspective of delivering actual services to real people. After all, they are often the ones using the digital tools, the custom Web service, the CRMs, and the mobile apps (and often training service recipients and partners as well).

In this panel discussion from 2012 Nonprofit Technology Conference led by VolunteerMatch's Robert Rosenthal (@volmatchRobert), program staff will hear from pro bono volunteering experts, corporate engagement officers, and pro bono team leaders about the trends, tips, and practices required to be a great pro bono partner. Panelists include Ian Rhett (CEO of CivicActions), Ehren Foss (Co-founder and CEO of HelpAttack! and Social Actions nerd), and Eileen Yang (Taproot Foundation). Beyond issues like scope, skill sets, and project collaboration, we'll look at how program staff can help your organization position itself to find and engage great pro bono tech teams.

Session Takeaways

1. Learn what techies, agencies and companies often look for in a pro bono partner (and how to rock the engagement from your side)

2. Learn what models and tools are available to help you assess your tech needs for pro bono engagement.

3. Find out about platforms and partners that can help pro bono volunteers and CSR administrators find your organization.

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  • Welcome and wake up! You are in Prepping Your Program for the Pro Bono Tech Volunteer. I am Robert Rosenthal. I’m VP of Communications & Marketing for VolunteerMatch, the Web’s largest network for volunteer engagement. VolunteerMatch makes it easier for more than 8 million annual visitors, 80,000 nonprofit organizations, and 150 network partners to make a different. It’s great to be here and to be helpful.These good folks are Ehren Foss, Ian Rhett and Eileen Yang, and I’ll introduce them in a sec. Our hashtag is #12NTCProbono, and you’ll be able to find these slides at Slideshare by tomorrow. There is a revolution underway! More PEOPLE want to use their skills to be part of the solution.More BUSINESSESrecognize the power of purpose, both inside and outside their walls. More NONPROFITS are identifying and addressing key problems in our communities. Pro Bono service is a growing way that all of these interests are working together these days.
  • Let’s find out who is here today from these circles:Raise hands if you are a nonprofit looking to involve pro bono volunteers? Yell out why you are here.Raise hands if you are a skilled professional looking to get involved? Yell out why you are here.Raise hands if you own or manage a company and you are going pro bono? Yell out why you are here.
  • All this is changing how people find out about volunteer opportunities. You may not even know you are involving an employee volunteer these days.But today we are going to be talking about more forma
  • Here’s what we hope to talk about today. [ Walk through each ]One note: Although many of the examples I’ll be talking about come from big business and their pro bono program, pro bono volunteers come from businesses of all sizes, from the mom and pop on up.
  • So today we’ve got folks up to talk about pro bono volunteering from 4 distinct perspectives. [ CHANGE SLIDE ]
  • Eileen iYang is the “Pro BonoExpert” on the panel today. She’s a Consultant in the Advisory Services practice at Taproot Foundation, where she helps corporations engage successfully in pro bono. She has previously worked with Mission Measurement, New Sector Alliance, and in the business consulting practice of Fair Isaac Corporation. Recently, she was the Director of Operations at Schools, Mentoring and Resource Team (SMART), an education nonprofit based around here.Eileen, can you share a bit about what what you’re up to these days at Taproot?
  • Ehren Foss is a long time #nptech good guy and an active and creative social entrepreneur. He’s also a dedicated skilled volunteer who has been put his tech skills to work for a bunch of organizations that he cares about. I asked him to join to get his perspective of what it’s like to work in the trenches with a nonprofit on a tech project. Ehren, can you share a bit about the projects you’ve worked on as a volunteer?
  • Ian Rhett is the CEO of CivicActions, a digital strategy agency with a special focus on on putting Drupal and CiviCRM to good work. He’s not on panel for that however, because he’s also been an organizer for a designathon in his hometown of Nashville. I asked him to share his insight into the challenges and joys of managing and inspiring teams of skilled volunteers. Ian, as a bit of introduction, can you share some background about the outcomes of the designathons?
  • Although I’m the organizer, I’ve also benefited from pro bono volunteers, in several different models, so I’m also going to play the role of pro bono beneficiary. Does anyone have a program book? The ad on the back page was a product of a pro bono team from Discovery Communications, who also helped us develop new blog designs, advertising, and the stickers you all found in your tote bags this year.
  • In terms of more technical projects, our iPhone app has been downloaded tens of thousands of times from the App Store. It was a pro bono collaboration with imc2, a digital strategy agency based in Dallas who called me up out of the blue and said they wanted to help. I’ll share what we learned about the process, and what it took for us to be prepared to be a good partner on a complicated project like this.
  • Why involve pro bono volunteers anyways? It’s starts with the promise of increasing your capacity.
  • It’s a great way to grow and strengthen your relationship with the business community, which may lead to more collaboration or funding.
  • Before we go much further, I wanted to acknowledge that this is a Program Track event. So let’s talk for a minute about program track needs. [READ BULLETS]The example I gave earlier about our ad on the back of your program book probably wouldn’t qualify as a Program need. But our iPhone app, which was developed to solve the problem of a giant VolunteerMatch sized hole in the App Store certainly would. [INSIGHT FROM IAN AND EHREN ]
  • So those are your needs. Let’s talk for a second about the needs of business. What motivates them? What’s the business case for pro bono?[ ADVANCE] [ INSIGHT FROM EILEEN ]
  • The final sphere in that Venn diagram I showed you is the volunteer. Who is that person? Not monolithic. No one profile. No one motivation. [ INSIGHT FROM EILEEN?]
  • Loaned employee: Most common in highly technical fields. EX: Pfizer. By loaning professionals like scientists, financial analysts, human resources specialists, and lab technicians to organizations such as USAID and Family Health International, Pfizer helps improve health outcomes worldwide.Functional Coaching and Mentoring. EX: The Gap Inc. offers Gap’s youth-serving partners the same level of intensive leadership training that it offers its own executives.Marathon: EX: Discovery Communications organizes an annual service event for many of its 3,000 creative services, marketing and tech employees in order to complete projects at one time for dozens of participating nonprofits. Standardized Team Projects: EX: Individuals are placed on teams, each with specific roles and responsibilities. CapitalOne has many of its departments in different functions coming together to create a year-round project catalog for nonprofits. Open Ended Outsourcing:Essential, the legal model of pro bono. A company makes its services available on an ongoing basis. For example, our pro bono counsel is the Cooley firm here in SF. Sector-wide Solution:EX: Salesforce’s nonprofit product for free, or Google Adwords grants, etc. General ContractingAn intermediary identifies a social problem, then pulls together all the cross-sector teams that need to be involved in solving it, including business teams of skilled volunteers. EX: Taproot’s Service Grant program, and some foundation programs. Signature Issue:Schwab is doing this today with its financial literacy program… essentially, directing lots of internal resources toward an issue area that the company is passionate about.
  • Alright, let’s take some time to get to know each other better.
  • OK, welcome back. Save your work and conversations. We’ll come back to that. For now, let’s look at what it takes to be a good nonprofit partner. [READ LIST – Use iPhone examples – More details at if you search for imc2]
  • So hopefully you gave the 7 Ways and our experience some thought. Let’s hear from you guys. Which models are you dreaming about? What have you already done and why? We’d love to hear and share. [ INVOLVE PANELISTS]
  • Are there any more from the audience? I can add them and get them included at SlideshareWe’ll stick around for more questions. Thank you!Thank you!
  • Prepping Your Program for the Pro Bono Tech Volunteer (#12NTCProbono)

    1. 1. PREPPING YOUR PROGRAM FOR THEPRO BONO TECH VOLUNTEEROrganizer:Robert Rosenthal, VolunteerMatch (@volmatchRobert)Panelists:Ehren Foss, HelpAttack (@helpattack)Ian Rhett, CivicActions (@ianrhett)Eileen Yang, Taproot Foundation (@taprootfound)#12NTCProbono
    4. 4. OUR PLANS TODAY35 mins 25 mins 25 mins• What pro bono is • What do pro bono- • More resources on and isn’t. ready nonprofits pro bono• Why companies do look like? • Q&A it. • Basics of needs• Different models of assessment pro bono • What do skilled• What do program volunteers really staff need to know? hate/love?• DISCUSS! • REPORT BACK! #12NTCProBono
    5. 5. WHAT HAVE WE MISSED?• [Your expectations.] #12NTCProBono
    6. 6. ABOUT US The Nonprofit! Robert Rosenthal VP, Communications/Marketing, VolunteerMatch The Pro Bono Volunteer! Ehren Foss Co-founder/CEO, HelpAttack! The Expert! Eileen Yang Consultant, Advisory Services, Taproot Foundation Taproot Foundation The Team Leader! Ian Rhett, @ianrhett CEO, CivicActions#12NTCProBono
    7. 7. Lights. Camera. Help.
    9. 9. #12NTCProBono
    10. 10. INCREASE YOUR CAPACITY!ReachCan volunteers help you serve morebeneficiaries?EfficiencyCan volunteers help you do morewith your existing resources?Effectiveness Source: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation/True ImpactCan volunteers help you increase thequality of your services or products? #12NTCProBono
    11. 11. #12NTCProBono
    12. 12. WHAT ARE THE NEEDS OF “PROGRAM” TECH?• Solutions!• Strategy and planning• Data collection• Systems integration• Service delivery• Accessibility #12NTCProBono
    13. 13. THE BUSINESS CASE FOR PRO BONO Human Reputation Innovation Resources • Innovative • Improved public • Fostered climate professional relations of innovation development • Stronger • New or improved • Increased relationships products employee and network • New markets or satisfaction • Sustained enhanced • Enhanced license to penetration recruitment operate • More inter- connected workplace #12NTCProBono
    14. 14. WHO IS THE PROBONO VOLUNTEER?• May already by • Wants to complete volunteering projects somewhere (with or • Incented by the without company) company• Skills level may vary: • May not be available junior to board level outside of the scope of• Wants to give back the project• May want to try • Often has to report something new back to the company #12NTCProBono
    15. 15. 8 MODELS OF PRO BONO What are the important areas to explore? Where do you want to be in your decision-making? Do you want to talk more strategy? Do you want to be more programmatically strategic/ tactical? If we decide Talent Development is the goal, then let’s use a slider to demonstrate the implications of what this means… #12NTCProBono
    16. 16. WHAT’S YOUR MODEL?• 5-10 minutes discussion• Think about your program goals• Think about how you already engage volunteers• Where does probono volunteer engagement fit into the mix?• What does successful probono look like at your organization #12NTCProBono
    17. 17. 7 WAYS TO READY1. Do you have experience working with skilled volunteers already?2. Does your staff have the time to manage the relationship?3. Is it the right idea?4. Have you budgeted for hard or soft costs?5. Do you have a strategy for sustaining the project?6. Do you have ways of recognizing your volunteers?7. How will you measure success? #12NTCProBono
    18. 18. REPORT BACK• Who are you?• What was your project idea?• What did you originally think?• Did this change given the 7 Ways? #12NTCProBono
    19. 19. HOW TO GET STARTED• Assess needs• Assess resources and roles• Get management buy in• Consult experts and case studies• Figure out where to recruit pro bono partners  Board or donor contacts?  Through your current skilled volunteers?  Online services?  Intermediary agencies? #12NTCProBono
    20. 20. MORE RESOURCES ON PROBONO RECRUITING & INTERMEDIARIES LEARN MORE BLOGS• •VolunteerMatch Learning Center •• ( •Pro Bono Junky’s Blog (• •A Billion + Change ( •Realized Worth (• •Corporation for National & Community Service •• ( •Jayne Cravens (• #12NTCProBono