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NFP & Corporate ‘Pro Bono’ Readiness? - Survey

2 August 2012 at 10:31 am
Staff Reporter
A Not for Profit must be able to clearly articulate what it wants from a corporate partner, and visa versa, when negotiating a ‘pro bono’ project, a US study finds.

Staff Reporter | 2 August 2012 at 10:31 am


NFP & Corporate ‘Pro Bono’ Readiness? - Survey
2 August 2012 at 10:31 am

A Not for Profit must be able to clearly articulate what it wants from a corporate partner, and visa versa, when negotiating a ‘pro bono’ project, a US study finds.

Consulting group LBG Associates in collaboration with Capital One, Common Impact, Points of Light, and the Taproot Foundation set out to discover the factors that indicate ‘pro bono readiness’ of Not for Profits.

“Ultimately, the study was to identify specific barriers to success and to look for solutions for more effective pro bono and skills-based volunteering experiences,” said President and Founder of LBG Associates Linda Gornitsky.

“Although the survey focused on Not for Profit readiness, the results revealed that readiness goes both ways. Not for Profits do have internal issues that will affect success, but they also note issues with the company and volunteer’s readiness that can hamper a pro bono project.”

The survey says that before signing on, both company and Not for Profit should take a step back and assess internal readiness.

The survey found that NFPs need to:

  • Be clear on how its programs relate to its mission and vision
  • Know what its goals are for the next few years
  • Have experience managing external resources
  • Know what capacity building challenges it faces and be able to translate them into specific projects for pro bono volunteers with the right skill sets
  • Define what project success looks like and the deliverables it is seeking, and know how the deliverables will be used

The survey found corporates need to have a volunteer who will:

  • Thoroughly familiarize himself/herself with the organisation’s mission, goals, culture and capacity
  • Have the necessary skill sets for the project
  • Deliver what is expected in the timeline promised
  • Deliver a sustainable solution within the nonprofits’ capacity

“In short, the Not for Profit must “know thyself” and be able to articulate what it wants to a corporate partner. That partner then needs to digest that information and find a volunteer who will devote the time necessary to fully understand the Not for Profit, its needs and the market in which it operates, and then commit to a well-defined project with a clear deliverable,” Gornitsky said.

“Two potential partners don’t have to get ready in isolation. The getting-to-know-you stage, where no commitments are made on either part, are instructive whether the pro bono project proceeds or not.”

The collaborative that commissioned the survey took the results and created a “Readiness Roadmap” – a self-assessment tool for Not for Profits to use before seeking pro bono help.

“The company can help the Not for Profit work through the tool and make independent assessments of a Not for Profits readiness. This first step will help the two learn a lot about each other and their suitability as partners,” she said.

“Done right, pro bono service is a rewarding experience for both Not for Profit and volunteers. It can solve challenges that have held the Not for Profit back and give the volunteer a growth and leadership experience with the added benefit of feeling good about helping a worthy cause.”

To receive a free copy of the survey report from LBG Associates email

The Readiness Roadmap for Not for Profits is available here.

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