Our social impact

We are very proud that our social impact was measured by EY in 2015 at 11:1.

Close to one million Australians a year use our services with a social return on investment found to be 11:1. and the social impact value created by the enterprise has been estimated at $6.5million for 2015.

Click on any of the four products below to learn more about the impact assessment.

What guides us

Pro Bono Australia was established to support purpose-driven organisations in and around the social economy.

We report, broadcast, connect, enable and advocate for the social sector to drive an increase in giving, community engagement and social connection.

At our core is the belief that a robust and engaged civil society is of utmost importance, and that the organisations making this a reality should be supported, encouraged and given a voice.

Philosophically, we are guided by the belief that an equitable society is one that we want to live in, and that gross inequality creates discontent.

We understand that privilege can come in many forms and that those that have it sometimes don’t recognise their power and their unearned opportunities; opportunities that are unavailable to others.

We believe it’s our duty to show our humanity and recognise it in others regardless of ability, culture, religion, gender, or race.

Our internal culture strives to be one based on tolerance and kindness, of curiosity and learning, fairness and collaboration, trust and communication, recognition and transparency.

Our purpose: Activating Good Intentions

Our mission: To dedicate our time, energy and resources to support and enable the growth of an engaged and effective civil society and developed social economy.

How we stand up… financially

We are independent of government and philanthropic funding and generate our income through our many channels to market.

We have a range of revenue streams: Our jobs board, annual Salary Survey, twice monthly webinars, online directories (Guide to Giving and Source Guides), and online advertising. (See here for more)

This allows us to keep our news services, skilled professional volunteering opportunities, and sector surveys available the sector and our readers at no charge.

As a social enterprise we liken the running of Pro Bono Australia to riding a horse: pulling on two reins – the financial and the social purpose –  equally to keep us moving forward. Sometimes we lean more to one than the other, but that seems to be just the way it goes.

Our partners, collaborators and supporters

We are involved with dozens of collaborative partnerships each year with dozens of Australian corporates, not for profits and government organisations. We leverage our activities and purpose greatly through these partnerships and welcome opportunities to do so.

Collaboration is at the heart of everything we do. To this end, we advise other sectors and industries and encourage them to become engaged in the social economy. We have a strong reputation for facilitating open and collaborative relationships, and connecting people by working with businesses and organisations small and large, corporate, social, government, metropolitan, regional and everyone in between.

Our story

A three month sabbatical in 1998 gave founder Karen Mahlab AM the time to plan the next stage in her work/ life journey. After running a successful publishing company for 10 years, she felt the process of business for the sake of profit no longer inspired her.

An invitation to deliver a speech on “balance” forced her to “think”. At that time there were incredible changes in technology and in particular the growth of the Internet.

In 2000 Karen created a new organisation, Pro Bono Australia, a combination of technology, community and making a difference. She called it “a social purpose business venture”. At that time there was little else like it.

She transferred the flagship publication, “The Guide to Giving”, from her publishing company (the Mahlab Group) to Pro Bono Australia, giving it an immediate revenue stream.

In 2013 Pro Bono Australia became one of the first B Corps in Australia and part of a growing international family of companies whose purpose is to do good while being financially sustainable.

In 2015 Pro Bono Australia attracted one million unique users for the first time – a significant and substantial milestone when you consider that Australia has a population of only 23 million people. In the same year, Karen was recognised by the Australian government and became a Member of the Order of Australia. (So she’s now got fancy “AM” letters after her name).

Karen personally tends to sit at the “beginnings” of social change. She convenes and ignites what needs to happen, bringing together people and resources to enable change through collaboration. The Public Interest Journalism Initiative (PIJI)  is her most recent involvement.