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Pro Bono Australia – Sustainability Through a Diverse Business Model


Tuesday, 12th April 2016 at 9:29 am
Lina Caneva, Editor
Pro Bono Australia’s social impact has been valued at $6.5 million with a social return on investment of 11:1, according to an analysis by global professional services firm EY (formerly Ernst & Young).

Tuesday, 12th April 2016
at 9:29 am
Lina Caneva, Editor


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Pro Bono Australia – Sustainability Through a Diverse Business Model
Tuesday, 12th April 2016 at 9:29 am

Pro Bono Australia’s social impact has been valued at $6.5 million with a social return on investment of 11:1, according to an analysis by global professional services firm EY (formerly Ernst & Young).

As the largest online publisher in Australia empowering the social sector, close to one million Australians a year use Pro Bono Australia services.

“We are extremely proud that the EY modelling indicates that Pro Bono Australia creates substantial value for the NFP sector estimated to be approximately $6.5 million,” Pro Bono Australia’s founder and CEO Karen Mahlab AM said.

“Our social return on investment means that for every dollar invested by Pro Bono Australia in our four key services of News, Executive Webinars, Surveys and VolunteerMatch, it creates $11 of social value for the social sector and the economy,” she said.

“The EY analysis found that our highly regarded independent news service created the most value for the sector, estimated to be valued at $2.8 million followed by our surveys at $2.5 million.”

Pro Bono Australia was launched in 2000 as a for-purpose business to provide resources for the social sector to help activate good intentions. Social impact can be defined as the net effect on a community and the wellbeing of society.

“We set out to examine and validate the impact and success of what Pro Bono Australia does, and we commissioned a report by EY to demonstrate to consumers, funders and the broader community the impact and value of our services in creating social change,” Mahlab said.

“At a time when social enterprises are gaining traction and we have reached our second year as  a certified B Corp, EY has developed a performance measurement framework and tool which will enable us to carry out future tracking and measurement of our performance in relation to achieving our social purpose.”

Karen Mahlab received an Order of Australia in 2015 for her services to the community and philanthropy.

She said that in 2015 Pro Bono Australia took a strategic leap into growing  its offerings for a growing audience of Not for Profits, charities, social enterprise, philanthropists, government, volunteers and the emerging areas of social business and impact investing and those involved in corporate social responsibility.

“Our investment in innovation has seen the launch of a new website and the appointment of Matt Betts as our new Head of Business to continue our growth in the coming years. Matt brings with him  a wealth of experience from big media publishing and large corporate roles over the past 15 years,” she said.

“Pro Bono Australia is now one of the most successful social enterprises in Australia. I will continue my mission both within and outside of the business while taking  on a more ambassadorial role continuing to network and use my experience to assist with the continuing growth of the social economy.”

Business Manager Matt Betts said: “Since arriving at Pro Bono Australia six months ago I have worked with the team to develop our strategic plan for the next 18 months, a plan that I am confident will continue to deliver both social and financial returns.

“We have a diversified revenue base, an incredibly loyal audience that have trusted us over a long period of time and our intention is to ensure that we continue to provide leadership and support to our audience, our partners and the social sector more broadly.

“As a business we have played a significant role in ensuring that organisations and individuals who might otherwise struggle to make a ripple in a world dominated by social media fuzz, actually have a podium to stand on and talk about their issues, needs and successes.”

He said that with more than 50,000 subscribers to Pro Bono Australia’s news services alone, its  reach, influence and credibility is unrivalled.

For an interactive infographic click here.

For the full EY report click here.


Lina Caneva  |  Editor |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years, and Editor of Pro Bono Australia News since it was founded in 2000.

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