Top 5 Things to Know About Pro Bono

by Ashley Raggio

I learned a new word this month that makes me laugh despite its quite serious entry into the media lexicon: the listicle. Apparently, listicles are here to stay because they help us to easily organize our thoughts and reduce the likelihood of getting overwhelmed during this chaotic time. Most days, it is as if our minds are inundated with information straight from a firehose. I feel overwhelmed with all of the inputs coming my way (primarily on a screen), and for this reason I was inspired to create a listicle of my own in honor of Pro Bono Week 2020. Join PRO-FILES on LinkedIn to learn more.

Top 5 Things to Know About Pro Bono

  1. Pro Bono is not just for lawyers. Pro bono is any person or team volunteering their professional skills for social good with the support of their employer. It is a subset of ‘skilled volunteering’ which is similar with the exception that it may not be tied to employer support and done on the volunteer’s own time.
  2. Pro Bono is not just for nonprofits. Pro bono is a service aimed toward social good. We know that our nonprofits are a critical part of the social fabric of our communities, but pro bono is also creating immense impact in the public sector - the cities, counties, schools and public works organizations that keep our communities thriving!
  3. Pro Bono is growing like gangbusters...globally. There has been a 90% increase in the number of employees participating in pro bono around the globe between 2010-2018 and a 200% increase in corporate and intermediary pro bono programs in Europe and North America. Global pro bono efforts are “multiplying the collective and positive impact of social investments on the business, employees, mission-driven host-clients and by extension, underserved communities.”1
  4. Pro Bono is good for business. Companies incorporating pro bono volunteering benefit from enhanced profitability, additional investors, increased employee morale and productivity, stronger brand association and loyalty of both employees and customers. 64% of executives say that corporate citizenship produces a tangible contribution to the bottom line. At large companies, 84% of execs see direct bottom‐line benefits.2
  5. Pro Bono matters right now in Silicon Valley. If you are reading this Joint Venture Blog (and especially if you got this far), then you care about our region and know about some of the vast challenges it faces in 2020: economic loss, income inequality, lack of affordable housing, students learning from home, and more. Our social sector and public sector organizations are working tirelessly to keep up with the need with budgets that are a shadow of what they were just months ago. However, we are sitting in the lap of a valley that boasts a wealth of professional talent and is home to one of the most highly-educated workforces in the nation (Fun fact: Ann Arbor, Michigan comes in first and Silicon Valley is second). What matters is that we take this opportunity to harness the power of joining together across sectors to solve these complex social problems, improve the sustainability and effectiveness of the programs that make a difference in our communities and in turn strengthen Silicon Valley.

References

  1. Pyxera Global, Global Pro Bono: State of the Practice
  2. Summit on Corporate Volunteerism, Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College and Business Civic Leadership Center, Toward a New Definition of Pro Bono

About the Author

Ashley Raggio is the Executive Director of Joint Venture's Silicon Valley Talent Partnership (SVTP) Initiative. You can learn more about Ashley on her bio page.

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