Nonprofit Insights: Becoming an Organization Powered by Pro Bono


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In the February edition of the Nonprofit Insights webinar series, Aaron Hurst, President & Founder of Taproot, and Megan Kashner, Founder & CEO of Benevolent, walk you through the steps to fully embrace pro bono service and enjoy the benefits.

From determining your organization’s needs, to locating the right pro bono resources, to managing and scaling the program, Aaron and Megan provide high level strategy and practical tips you can put in place tomorrow, whether your organization has never engaged pro bono volunteers or works with them frequently.

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  • Welcome and thank you for joining us today! Introduce yourself. We’re going to spend the next 30 or so minutes showing you how you and your organization can secure literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in free resources for your organization.But first- want to share a little bit about who Taproot is and what our vision is for the nonprofit sector. (Tell our founding story):Taproot’s founder and President Aaron Hurst founded Taproot in 2001, based on his experience working in the nonprofit sector as a young professional in Chicago. He saw organizations with the most powerful and important missions and visions, yet fundamentally did not have the resources to make those possible. It was an exercise in futility and frustration to have such a lofty and important goal and so little ability to reach anywhere close to it. It seemed almost like a social justice issue, it was fundamentally unfair and not right.He decided there must be a better way to do this, and after several years of working with and learning from for-profit start-ups, the solution he came up with was pro bono. Start-ups are driven by talent, technical and professional talent, and nonprofits need access to those same resources in order to grow and scale their important work.
  • I’m going to share just one story with you to give you an idea of what this pro bono vision looks like: Donor’s choose is an organization that invented a way for public school teachers to make their unique needs known directly to donors on-line. These donors then get to choose exactly which classrooms, people, and projects they want to support. Donors choose was founded on pro bono, paying only 2 thousand dollars for the website platform on which they built such a successful organization. And you can see on the left some examples of the real world pro bono services they have received over the years. At this point they now budget for pro bono in the same way they do fundraising and estimate that 20% of their annual budget comes to their organization in terms of free services. Their model and use of pro bono now allows them to be serving classrooms in literally HALF of the schools across the country! Their favorite story to tell is about one of their board members, Stephen Colbert. Donors choose wanted an app built specifically for them to make it even easier for potential donors to give but, while a great idea, they lacked the resources to pay for it. So Stephen volunteered to create a unique trophy for the web developer or data cruncher who came up with the best app and the next thing you know, they had a customized app built for the cost of a comical trophy. That’s what I call being creative with pro bono!
  • Between Aaron’s vision of a nonprofit sector with access to resources and the example of Donors Choose, a nonprofit built on and run by pro bono resources, is the Taproot Foundation. We work to make pro bono happen for nonprofits. Our mission is to lead, mobilize, and engage professionals in pro bono service that drives social change. Taproot has been learning and practicing the art of pro bono for over a decade. We aren’t a think tank, we manage pro bono engagements across the country and, as you can see, have delivered over 2 thousand projects and over a million dollars in pro bono services. In that time we have learned a lot about what it takes to do pro bono right and that’s what we want to share with you today.
  • Here’s what we will cover today: What is pro bono?- take a moment to make sure we’re working with a shared definition. How does it work?- we’ll learn a little bit about the lifecycle of a pro bono project and what that process looks like. What resources are available to help you?- our goal is that every nonprofit knows how to use pro bono independently and sustainable, so we’ve developed lots of resources to make sure that happens. I’ll walk you through some of those today, and make sure you know about what else is out there. Q&A- I’ll leave plenty of time for Q&A. If at any point you have questions please feel free to use the chat function to send them my way. If I can’t address it immediately I’ll be sure to answer your question during the Q&A section at the end.
  • Diving right in, what is pro bono? Pro bono is services donated by professionals to organizations working for the public good. Going back to the Donors Choose example, when a strategy team came in from American Express to conduct a market analysis, that was pro bono. These services can run across literally ALL sectors, the most common being in places like strategy, marketing, HR, IT and legal.
  • Take a look- is there anything on here you need? Use your chat function to let me know which project you’re thinking about. I’ll use one of your examples when we walk through the lifecycle of a project in just a moment.
  • Now that you get the idea behind pro bono, how does it work?So let’s dig into some tips on how to.
  • We think about pro bono as a 4-stage process:Scope, Secure, Manage, and Scale. Scope: the process of clearly defining needs and expectations for a project in a way that can be understood by the people who will be working on it for you. It’s also about prioritizing your needs and making sure you’re selecting projects that are a good fit for pro bono engagements. Secure: findings professionals who are right for your pro bono project and a good fit for your organization. Manage: being a good client and managing the pro bono team to ensure high-impact results. There are some key things to think about when managing pro bono, that are different from managing a typical project being done by your staff. Scale: after you’ve gotten the hand of it, grow your impact by scaling your use of pro bono across your organization
  • There’s a lot to say about how to scope, secure, manage, and scale pro bono! We’ll get through some of it today, but there’s much more in the book, Powered by Pro Bono. This workbook captures our decade of learning about pro bono. It contains within it not just the theories but all the exercises, worksheets, and tools you will need to learn to manage pro bono for your organization. Everything we discuss today and more is laid out in the book, and I hope you’ll consider this as a resource you can use moving forward. Our book is not a revenue generator for us but a tool we will provide you at cost. You can find it on Amazon for about $20.
  • Now, we’re going to take a look at this pro bono process on our website. SWITCH TO LIVE DEMO.
  • I want to leave time for questions, so that’s where I’ll stop today on the pro bono process and how to make it happen. I hope you’ll come back to the website, get the book, and start trying some pro bono projects on your own. Before we start Q&A, I want to highlight the full range of Powered by Pro Bono resources we provide here at Taproot. In addition to the book and our online, web-based tools and resources, you can 1) join Taproot on LinkedIn, 2) find out more about our Service Grant program online, 3) we have a suite of trainings designed to teach nonprofits and board members how to be powered by pro bono, so ask your funders about sponsoring a training.
  • Q&A
  • Leave you with Taproot’s motto: Make it Matter!Thanks for joining!
  • Nonprofit Insights: Becoming an Organization Powered by Pro Bono

    1. 1. Becoming anOrganization Poweredby Pro BonoFebruary 20, 2013 #vmlearn
    2. 2. Who are we?Aaron Hurst Megan KashnerPresident & Founder Founder & CEOTaproot Foundation Benevolent@aaron_hurst @benevolentnet@taprootfound #vmlearn 2
    4. 4. DonorsChoose.org20% OF BUDGETPRO BONO American Express – pro bono FOUNDED 2003 team provided a landscape market analysis $130 MILLION DONATED ClearChannel – donated high- 50% OF U.S. PUBLIC traffic radio spots for celebrities SCHOOLS HAVE RECEIVED to endorse, DONATIONS then did the production work pro bono “We love pro bono Agenda NYC – provided pro contributions because they bono collateral design encourage involvement.” #vmlearn
    5. 5. BenevolentFOUNDED ONPRO BONO Webitects – provided pro bono user experience and design FOUNDED 2011 services FIRST FISCAL YEAR  $100,000 CASH INCOME Gividual Solutions – pro bono  $340,000 PRO BONO team developed software platform and functionality Technology Innovation “We very strongly value Center – donated incubation professionals who want to space and provided pro bono come in and do what they do support best.” #vmlearn
    6. 6. ABOUT THE TAPROOT FOUNDATIONOur mission is to lead, ► 5 offices: San Francisco Bay Area, Losmobilize and engage Angeles, Chicago, Newprofessionals in pro York, and Washington DCbono service that ► 3,500+ professionals deliveringdrives social change. 1+ million hours of pro bono consulting valued at over $112 million since 2001 ► Consulted to 20+ Fortune 500 companies to build advance employee pro bono programs #vmlearn
    7. 7. AGENDA AND GOALS What is pro bono? How does it work? What resources are available to help you? Q&A #vmlearn
    8. 8. WHAT IS PRO BONO?Services donated by professionals toorganizations working for the publicgood. #vmlearn
    9. 9. PRO BONO PROJECTS Board Communications Finance Fundraising Human Resources Legal Programs Facilities Strategy Technology #vmlearn
    10. 10. HOW DOES PRO BONOWORK? #vmlearn
    12. 12. “This book will unlock the vault of talent and skills that companies can bring to the nonprofit sector, and ultimately help build stronger communities.” - Ken Sternad, Former President UPS Foundation#vmlearn
    13. 13. #vmlearn
    14. 14. HOW CAN TAPROOT HELP?Read Powered by Pro BonoAccess our online tools and resourcesJoin the conversation on LinkedInApply for a Service GrantAsk your funders about Powered by Pro Bono training opportunities #vmlearn
    15. 15. ? #vmlearn
    16. 16. #vmlearn
    17. 17. Questions?Aaron Hurst Megan KashnerPresident & Founder Founder & CEOTaproot Foundation Benevolent@aaron_hurst @benevolentnet@taprootfound #vmlearn 17
    18. 18. The Secret Sauce forNonprofit CrowdfundingMarch 6, 2013 #vmlearn