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Pro Bono Australia’s ‘For-Purpose’ Success

Monday, 22nd December 2003 at 12:12 pm
Staff Reporter
By Karen Mahlab. Here's a snapshot of Pro Bono Australia’s resourcing of the sector in 2003.

Monday, 22nd December 2003
at 12:12 pm
Staff Reporter



Pro Bono Australia’s ‘For-Purpose’ Success
Monday, 22nd December 2003 at 12:12 pm

By Karen Mahlab

Here’s a snapshot of Pro Bono Australia’s resourcing of the sector in 2003:

Our e-Newsletters

36 e-Newsletters published and read by an estimated 20,000 readers – a combination of fortnightly (our Not for Profit e-News) and monthly (our Corporate Community e-News).

Over 60 free reports, forms and fact sheets offered via the e-Newsletters

978 requests for information handled and responded to by Pro Bono Australia.

Volunteer Match

18,782 sessions completed on our website. 184 skilled and professional volunteers placed in 2003.

We currently have 842 skilled and professional volunteers registered Australia-wide open for opportunities to volunteer. Volunteer Match is a free service to all using it.

Our Directory of Not for Profit organisations

Now distributed to 50,000 individuals and organisations involved in allocating funding across Australia. The directory itself grew by 6% this past year and is seen as Australia’s most influential “guide to giving”.

Our website –

Our website visitation has been slowly but surely growing to reach its highest levels since we established it in 1999.

Pro Bono Australia has had a stunning year consolidating and reaping the rewards of the efforts we have made over the past 4 years. Our notion of setting up a “social purpose business venture”, whilst a foreign notion to many, has been proven a success.

The concept has been to create an organisation run under business principles whose goals are to assist Not for Profits to operate more effectively and to increase philanthropy in Australia, yet not exist for the purpose of making a profit.

It has been a delicate balance to get right – when your purpose is not to make profit and not to make a loss and you want to increase the scale of what you do. The concept has been a new one in the business world and a model of social enterprise.

We are very pleased to have reached the point where our books have balanced and we have achieved so much in the sector.

It is rare these days that I can go to a function or conference without someone coming up to me to say that they have found a volunteer, received funds through or appreciated an item in our newsletter.

It makes our heart sing – particularly because when we sit in our office, using the new technology which makes all we do possible, we are sometimes working in a vacuum. Your responses to our fortnightly offerings let us know very quickly what issues are of most importance.

We continue to give away as much as we can – Volunteer Match and our newsletters, information on our website, our directory, yet through small increments of revenue from different sources and revenue from our main source – our Pro Bono Directory of Not for Profit Organisations– we are paying our way.

Our salaries and costs are all covered.

All of this would not be possible without the wonderful working relationships and partnerships we have forged and 2004 will bring the broadening of partnerships with people and organisations we have come to know to further leverage the things we do.

We are a very small team working across Pro Bono Australia, and our other business, Mahlab Direct. I’d like to thank our team – Karen Burr, Irina Bourova, Lina Caneva, Sue Grant and Donna Sheiman for their tremendous effort this year. They manage to fit a huge amount into their days by being so talented and lovely with each other.

Thanks to all those readers who frequently send us messages of support. This is our last edition for 2003. We will be back at the end of January with a whole lot more in 2004!


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